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"Forget what you think you know about Parramatta"

Parramatta has over the years developed a reputation as Sydney's poor cousin. It is one of those suburbs that everyone seems to have an opinion on and generally it is not a good one. But in my experience, after having lived in Parramatta for four years, the reputation does not match reality.

Parramatta is an easy commute to the city if you need to. But more importantly it is rapidly becoming a city in its own right. It is now the sixth largest CBD in Australia - that means in terms of the number of jobs available it is bigger than the capitals of some states in Australia. The pace of change in this suburb at the moment is quite astounding. A quick look at the council's page on approved developments shows that there are in excess of 20 major developments in various stages at the moment, both commercial and residential. The face of the restaurant district in Parramatta has undergone rapid change also. Gone are the tired old restaurants where the most exotic choice you had was the Sicilian. Now there are five or six thai restaurants, a plethora of indian, brazilan, japanese, lebanese, greek, and yes still the odd italian restaurant. Plus there is Parramatta's very own China town.

The nightlife is also picking up. A few of the old pubs have given themselves a face lift and in the process have become vibrant spots to get a meal or a drink any night of the week. This aspect still has some way to go but there is a sense that it is heading in the right direction. The council is also very much focused on promoting the use of public spaces at night. To that end there are a dozen or more festivals that will light up the river or an area of the CBD at some point throughout the year - be it Parramasala, Loy Krathong, Parra Laneways, or participation in the Sydney Festival.

Moreover the position that Parramatta holds geographically makes it an ideal place to live. Just about any place you could care to get to in the Sydney metropolitan area can be gotten to in under one hour. There wouldn't be many other places in Sydney that could attest to the same thing. And you can usually get to most places by public transport with ease - in fact it is often much faster than driving.

Finally despite all the conveniences that Parramatta offers it is still affordable. I suspect this is due to the lingering reputation the suburb holds. However I doubt the price differential between Parramatta and comparable suburbs like Chatswood will last for long - it may never be exactly equal but it will certainly get closer. Once the river foreshore is redeveloped and residences like the new V by Crown become the norm I think it will only be a matter of time before a price shift is inevitable. But for now, if it means that housing remains affordable, then it is still a win for us.

Great for

  • Bicycle paths - especially along the river
  • Restaurant strip
  • Cultural festivals
  • Parramatta Rivercat is one of the best Ferry Rides in Sydney
  • River Precinct and Parramatta Park

Not great for

  • People and Cars at Westfield

Who lives here?

  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
The opinions expressed within this review are those of the individual and not those of Homely.com.au.
Albion St

"Best street in the suburb..."

Albion Street is one of the last streets in Harris Park that is predominantly composed of houses, many with well manicured gardens out the front. I have heard a lot about crime in this suburb but have not yet experienced it (lived here for 12 months so far). The street is perched on the edge of the suburb, with several major roads just around the corner, but far enough that you can't hear them. The restaurants and town centre are at the end of the road and many of the houses at the town centre end of the street have been converted to be commercial premises. The other end of the street is still predominantly residential.

Most of the buildings on the street are heritage listed and it has the same feel you might expect to find in some inner west suburbs such as Camperdown. I would recommend this street to anyone who wants an affordable house (with land) within walking distance of an up and coming CBD.

As far as neighbours are concerned, most people seem cautiously friendly, mainly keeping to themselves.

Who lives here?

  • Professionals
  • Singles
The opinions expressed within this review are those of the individual and not those of Homely.com.au.
Harris Park

"An overlooked suburb..."

Harris Park has grabbed media attention recently, and while I am sure some residents have some issues some of the time, I can honestly say I enjoy living in this suburb and have never myself seen any of the behaviour associated with those reports. The unfortunate thing is that the focus of attention has made what is otherwise a pleasant neighbourhood seem like a ghetto on the brink of racial-based warfare. This is just patently not true, anymore than it is true for other Sydney suburbs like Redfern, Cronulla, Cabramatta, etc.

This suburb is extremely ethnically diverse. Indians, Chinese, Lebanese and Anglos make up the major population groups. The Indian population is more visible due to the number of Indian restaurants and other stores that can be found in the town centre. I welcome it. It is like Norton Street for Italian restaurants. And like that area, Harris Park is slowly developing a community culture with good restaurants and a vibrant town centre feel to it.

Convenience-wise, I think you will be hard-pressed to find a better located suburb in the western suburbs. There is a train station for access to the city, Parramatta is a short walk away, and the major arterial roads between Parramatta and the city are all easily accessible - I have never yet seen the roads clogged up in this suburb.

The criticism I have of this suburb is that it is fast becoming a suburb of units. I live in a heritage house and am lucky enough that most of my street is also heritage protected, but other parts of the suburb seem to all be converting to units.

Finally, the cost of buying into this suburb is still extremely cheap. Given it is a stone's throw from Parramatta the price differential is quite remarkable. Undoubtedly this is related to the perception of the suburb. One can't help but think however that the differential will end at some point, as the suburb continues to evolve and as Parramatta grows in its role as an alternate CBD.

Who lives here?

  • Professionals
  • Singles
The opinions expressed within this review are those of the individual and not those of Homely.com.au.