When embarking or disembarking a cruise in Sydney, if you have a few days to stay it’s nice to see some of the surrounding area. We took advantage of disembarking the P&O Arcadia there to visit with our daughter who lives in Australia. About an hour west of Sydney by train lies the much maligned town of Penrith. When we took the Legend cruise out of Sydney one of the Australian comics included Penrith jokes in his routine. Sort of like the Arkansas of New South Wales, if not all of Australia. If you actually go to Penrith you will find there are fun things to do there, though some of the people actually are bogans (an Australian term meaning people others look down on). Park restrooms are locked at night to keep drug abusers and people who like to trash things out. Some people in the area also seem to have a penchant for throwing trash everywhere. Then again litter is one of the constants you find nearly anywhere in the world. Other bogan behavior includes riding motorbikes and quads through parks clearly posted with no motor vehicles allowed signs, or even driving a car into the park. I’m not sure about the Aussies, but the people who trash and deface things, litter, or think the rules don’t apply to them are the ones I’d consider bogans, and that behavior certainly isn’t limited to Penrith or even to Australia.
Good points about the Penrith area besides Australia’s train system include numerous parks with lots of greenspace and trails. The Great River walk stretches along the Nepean River with access from both the Penrith and Emu Plains sides and parking at Tench Reserve, Weir Reserve or Regatta Park. Along the river there are trails, playgrounds, and a boat launch. A paddle wheeler called Nepean Belle does short river cruises from the dock by the Tench Reserve parking area. They serve meals on the boat during the river cruise and it can also be reserved for weddings or other events. There used to be a permanently moored boat there used as a restaurant called Bennetts on the River, but it closed and the boat was gone last time we went there.
We at there once when it was still there. They served good food in large portions. People at the nearby launch ramp provided lunchtime entertainment. We saw quite a few of them struggling to get their boats or jet skis in or out of the water, and a couple who seemed to have it down pat. One drove too far and the trailer wheels dropped off the ramp so people had to lift the trailer as they pulled forward to get it out. Another forgot to take the tiedowns off the back and may have pulled their entire rig into the water when they drove the boat off if one of our party hadn’t ran out and warned them so they sheepishly pulled out of the water to remove them.
Penrith has a park called Cables where you don’t need a boat to go waterskiing or wakeboarding. The lake there has a mechanism that drags people around the water boat-free. There’s jumps they can use if they want. Some do all sorts of fancy tricks, others struggle to stay on their feet. Some fall. They swim to shore to try again while the empty cable skims across the water until it gets to the home line at the starting point. Those activities cost money, but you can come in for free and watch or let small kids use the playground which includes a giant jumping pillow. Penrith also has lots of shops and restaurants and a multi-story mall. One of the strip malls near Penrith has a Lindt factory outlet store with more flavors of the Lindor truffles than I ever knew existed.
Though Penrith is one of the larger towns found between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, it’s fairly typical of the region in having parks and open space. Some parks in the nearby areas even have enough wooded trails for a bushwalk. Penrith is nearly the last stop for city trains headed up toward the Blue Mountains, but it is also a stop for the Blue Mountain Line, which is a faster train out from Sydney since it stops at less towns along the way.
Western Sydney University has a campus with lots of open space which is home to wild grey kangaroos. It’s a great place to go to see kangaroos in the wild.