Captain Watkin Trench of the Royal Marines discovered the Nepean River, which flows through Penrith, in 1789. The name ‘Penrith’ was first used in the early 1800s, although no-one knows how it came about except that it was named after Penrith in England. Military depots were built here during World War Two. Penrith was declared a city in October 1959 and a building boom saw heaps of development in the 70s.
Things to do
Penrith has several shopping centres, including a Westfield on High Street with more than 300 stores. Wander Penrith’s town centre to find delicious Asian, Mexican and fine dining restaurants. Penrith Regional Gallery and the Levers Bequest is set in heritage-listed buildings on the tree-lined banks of the Nepean, and features ever-changing exhibitions, a weekend cafe and a garden with a purple jacaranda tree. The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, nicknamed ‘The Joan’, is a performing arts venue for theatre, music, and dance, with heaps of unique events.
The Lapstone Zigzag Walk starts at the end of Knapsack Street in Lapstone, a 10-minute drive from Penrith. The walking track will take you through bush and past walls of rock to the Knapsack Viaduct. At 388 feet long and 120 feet high, this magnificent stone arch bridge carried the Lapstone Zigzag railway over Knapsack Gully. Penrith also has ‘The Great River Walk’, almost eight kilometres of walking tracks that follow the Nepean through Penrith, or you can take a cruise along the river at dusk and enjoy the view from on board!
If you want a little more action, head down to the Nepean Rowing Club to join a rowing crew for the day. Take a canoe out into the Nepean Gorge, or tackle some wakeboarding or cable skiing at Cables Wake Park at Panthers Leagues Club.
The Blue Mountains
Katoomba is a historic, quirky town less than an hour from Penrith. It’s the closest town to the Jamison Valley, the rugged wilderness where you’ll find the famous trio of rocks known as the Three Sisters, plus the Katoomba Falls waterfall. Take a cable car ride over Jamison Valley rainforest gorge, go deep into the forest on a bushwalk or drop into a quirky eatery.
Getting there and around
Book a flight to Sydney with us. It’s easy to get a train to Penrith and then another one up the Blue Mountains. Go back and forth between all of the Sydney area’s best bits with our Penrith accommodation.
Hotels in Penrith start at AU$95 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.