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25° & RAINY ON FRIDAY 24 JANUARY IN SYDNEY
TRAVEL & LEISURE

Seven Reasons to Plan a Group Staycation with Your Mates in Parramatta During the Sydney 7s

Use this epic summer event as an excuse to plan a mini getaway in Sydney's west with your entire crew.
By Jasmine Crittenden
January 14, 2020
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Seven Reasons to Plan a Group Staycation with Your Mates in Parramatta During the Sydney 7s

Use this epic summer event as an excuse to plan a mini getaway in Sydney's west with your entire crew.
By Jasmine Crittenden
January 14, 2020
  shares

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Got the HSBC Sydney 7s in your calendar for Saturday, February 1 and Sunday, February 2? This year, the action will take place at the Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, and, if you and your mates are serious about making the most of it, then locking in a staycation is your best bet. You can surround the two full days of rugby with Parramatta's many delights — think small bars with top-shelf cocktails and 360-degree views, local eateries dishing up delicious international fare and outdoor adventures galore.

Here are seven reasons to get planning — before every hotel room in Parramatta books out.

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Lil Miss Collins

EAT YOUR WAY AROUND THE LOCAL CAFES AND RESTAURANTS

Being smack bang in the middle of the Sydney metropolis, Parramatta is an international banquet. Launch into your day at Circa Espresso, with a strong coffee and a Middle Eastern-inspired feast, like ottoman poached eggs with crumbed eggplant, garlic labneh, burnt chilli and sage butter with house-made focaccia. Other worthy brunch contenders include the sleek Black Seed Eatery, laneway joint White Henry Espresso Bar and shipping container set-up Lil Miss Collins. Come lunchtime, dive into a steaming bowl of laksa at laneway eatery Temasek or visit Lebanese-inspired cafe Meraki Merchants for The Sultan's Jaffle, which features cheese, sujuk and olives with a side of smoky capsicum relish. And for dinner, you can enjoy cracking Vietnamese at Pho Pasteur, excellent fried chicken and champagne at Butter or classic Greek fare, including melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted lamb, at Kouzina Greco.

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Jeffrey Drewitz / Destination NSW

GO WILD SWIMMING AND HIKING AT LAKE PARRAMATTA

When you're not watching the Sevens teams get active, give your own fitness a boost at Lake Parramatta. Surrounded by 70 hectares of bushland, this wild swimming spot is one of western Sydney's secret oases. Take a refreshing dip (yes, the water's officially been clean enough since January 2015), climb into a rowboat or go hiking on one of three trails, such as the Lake Circuit, which follows the shoreline for 4.2 kilometres. There are barbecues to cook up a storm on, plus plenty of cleared spots to roll out a picnic blanket and position your esky.

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Jiwon Kim

CHECK OUT SOME COOL BARS

Parramatta has always had great pubs — including an excellent craft brewery — but over the past few years, quite a few swanky bars have joined the drinking scene. For jaw-dropping 360-degree views — all the way to Sydney Harbour — linger over a beverage on Nick and Nora's spectacular terrace. For creative cocktails made with top-shelf ingredients (and a moreish reuben sanga), hunt down Uncle Kurt's, a graffiti-splashed small bar hidden away in a car park. And, to mix your drink with calming views of the Parramatta River, swing by Alex & Co., a rather magnificent 350-seater bar and restaurant. Get some more ideas over here.

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Destination NSW

CATCH A SHOW AT RIVERSIDE THEATRES

Perched on the banks of Parramatta River, Riverside Theatres is the place to get your arts fix — be it a dance show, an original new play, a touring opera or a stand-up comedian. On the HSBC Sydney 7s weekend, you'll be treated to musical comedy Bran Nue Dae, which you might know as a 2010 film starring Jessica Mauboy and Ernie Dingo. The show tells the story of a teenager who hitchhikes from a mission boarding school to his hometown of Broome. This production is a collaboration between Riverside Theatres, Sydney Festival and Opera Australia, and tickets start from just $59.90.

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Getty Images

ENJOYING THE GAME AND FESTIVAL VIBES AT HSBC SYDNEY 7S

If you've never been to HSBC Sydney 7s tournament before, take note: it involves way more than rugby games. It's actually more like a mini festival. There's a huge music program planned, featuring Aussie DJ LDRU, DJ Tigerlily (who was a smash hit at last year's Sydney 7s) and Yolanda Be Cool (aka DJs Andrew Stanley and Matthew Handley). These artists are just the tip of the iceberg — loads more music announcements are on the way. And since you're going with your crew, we suggest investigating one of the packages, which will score you all guaranteed seats and, in the case of the 7s Social Club, food and drinks all day.

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Destination NSW

SQUEEZE IN SOME CULTURE AND HISTORY

Parramatta and its surrounds have been the backdrop for many of Australia's most important historic moments — from the Battle of Parramatta, in which fierce Eora warrior Pemulwuy led a 100-strong attack on Government Farm, Toongabbie to the founding of the Female Factory, which imprisoned thousands of female convicts. So there's plenty of history and culture to soak up during your weekend staycation. Pay a visit to Elizabeth Farm (one of Australia's oldest European homes), wander around Old Government House (the Georgian-inspired mansion that served as a country residence to NSW's early governors) and explore local Indigenous history in the Arrunga Bardo Aboriginal Bush Food Garden near Lake Parramatta or on a Warami Mittigar Cultural Walk.

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STAY AT A LUXE BOUTIQUE HOTEL WITH VIEWS

However you spend your downtime during the HSBC Sydney 7s, you'll need somewhere glorious to rest. That's where SKYE Hotel Suites comes in. This fancy boutique stay is right in the middle of the Parramatta CBD, which is just a 15-minute walk from Bankwest Stadium. Rooms range from studios to two-bedroom suites, and every single one is decked in luxe interior design — think plush furnishings, cloud-level comfy beds and dreamy soft towels. Most also come with epic panoramas of Parramatta and beyond, and you can also enjoy the onsite pool and gym. SKYE Hotel is also home to a rooftop bar, so you can end every day with a cocktail and some of the best views in town.

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To purchase tickets to HSBC Sydney 7s, visit Ticketek, and for event updates follow @Aussie7s on Instagram. Then, find more ways to make the most of your weekend below. 

Published on January 14, 2020 by Jasmine Crittenden

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