The Sydney Olympic Park area, together with the surrounding areas on the Parramatta River including the neighbouring suburb of Newington, provides numerous venues for athletic events: aquatic, archery, tennis, golf, hockey and more. It is also home of open spaces and parks such as Bicentennial Park, Wentworth Common, Blaxland Riverside Park, Woo-La-Ra and Wilson Park. When there are no events on, the area around the station and the main venues can become very quiet. At 6PM most evenings you can have Olympic Boulevard largely to yourself.
Access to the area and to the parklands is free, although parking can be expensive.
Olympic Park is accessible through its own 1 'Olympic Park Station' At most times you must travel to Lidcombe station and transfer to the T7 Olympic Park Line (Olympic Park sprint). During major events, direct trains to Olympic Park also run from Central, Redfern and Strathfield stations, and sometimes also from other locations. Olympic Park station is wheelchair accessible.
Some parts of the park -- Bicentennial Park in particular -- are actually closer to 2 'Concord West station', although still within easy walking distance of Olympic Park station. During major events travellers from the north may be encouraged to use Concord West rather than Olympic Park even for central events. Concord West is wheelchair accessible. It is also $1.80 each way cheaper to travel to Concord West than Olympic Park.
- Sydney buses: Regular Services are provided from Strathfield Station by the route 526 and 525 buses. Parramatta Station has route 525, Route 401 from Lidcombe Station going to the Olympic Park, Route 533 from Chatswood. Regular, daily service.
- Punchbowl Bus Company: Route 450 from Hurstville in Southern Sydney Several services each weekday, check the timing.
Unless you are already at a bus departure point, the train will usually be quicker.
For major events, like sporting events, and the Easter Show, the major event bus service operates, providing frequent event buses from most corners of Sydney.
Sydney Ferries has a passenger wharf for 3 ' Sydney Olympic Park' on the Parramatta River. The wharf, which was used for the Olympic Torch journey to the stadium, is around 2 km from the Olympic Stadium area and other attractions served by the Railway Station, but is much closer to the Millennium Parklands, Newington Armoury and many of the area's cycling tracks.
- Travel from Sydney City follow the A4 via Parramatta Road to the M4. Take the Sydney Olympic Park exit after the beginning of the motorway.
- Homebush Bay Drive (A3) and Parramatta Rd (A4) both pass Sydney Olympic Park. Follow either of these A roads, and follow the signs to Sydney Olympic Park.
Major event parking is available in large multi-story car parks for $20. Parking in the multi-storey carparks at other times is on a sliding scale up to $20. There is often free parking available at the aquatic centre if there are no major events on at the time. There is free parking in Bicentennial Park during the day, limited to 4 hours on weekdays. Traffic can be heavy during major events, but parking is usually available for all but the most major events. Check the Sydney Olympic Park website for details of parking and activities.
Several of Sydney's cycle routes converge on Sydney Olympic Park. The Cooks River Cycleway from Botany Bay. The Parramatta Valley Cycleway is linked by a cycle bridge over the Parramatta River linking Rhodes and Meadowbank (and on through Bicentennial Park). Cycling around when you get there is easy, with many paths and bicycle parking provided.
The train station and the bus stops is easy walking to the arenas, Olympic Boulevard, Bicentennial Park, and the Aquatic Centre. There is a bike hire centre as well.
- A variety of tours of the Olympic Park area are available starting from the Visitors Centre.
- 1 The Brickpit. Homebush Bay was an industrial site before it was remodelled as Sydney Olympic Park. The brickpit area was preserved because the post-industrial area was also habitat to several species of rare frogs, including the endangered green and gold bell frog. The brickpit site has a high elevated walkway ringing the site. The engineering is quite impressive. There are interpretive displays as you walk the ring. It is unlikely that you will see any of the tiny frogs all the way down in the water filled pit, but there are binoculars if you wish to try your luck. free.
- 1 'Have a barbecue', Bicentennial Park, ☎ . While you're there walk, cycle or fly a kite. Bicentennial Park is a 100-hectare park created to celebrate Australia's bicentenary in 1988. Although older than Sydney Olympic Park, it is now part of the Sydney Olympic Park precinct. Facilities include electric barbecues, extensive gentle paths suitable for children cycling and for wheelchairs, and enormous amounts of grass on which to picnic or play sports. It is popular with families. Admission and parking is free but hard to find around lunchtime on some weekends, and it may be simpler to walk from the train stations. Free.
- 2 Cycle. Sydney Olympic Park offers possibly the most extensive and pleasant recreational cycling opportunities in Sydney, with water and park views, and some interesting historical sites to explore. Bike Hire is available from the Visitors Centre. Get a copy of the bike circuits map from the visitors centre or online. There are three planned routes that are marked by coloured discs on the edge of the path. Paths tend to be quieter away from the picnic areas of Bicentennial park.
- 3 Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 5AM - 9PM, Sa Su and holiday 6AM - 8PM Oct-Apr (6AM-7PM the rest of the year). This complex was built for the Olympics and houses the main competition pool. Many state and national swimming events are still held here. It contains a 50-m competition pool, a 50m training pool, children's pools, a waterslide and a spa, sauna and gym. Worth checking that no major events are on if you plan to visit just to use the pools. $6.20 adults, $5 children and $3.10 for spectators.
- Monster Skatepark. If you're into skateboarding and looking at killing time while your at Sydney Olympic Park, here is your place. A great street and vertical set-up suiting just about every novice and pro.
- 4 Get wet under the Olympic Cauldron (There are fountains at the southern and northern ends of Olympic Boulevard.). The centrepiece of the water themed opening ceremony is now a large fountain that the kids (or adults) can run under. Free.
- 5 The Royal Easter Show, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sydney Showground, 1 Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park. The Show is held every year in Olympic Park in the fortnight around Easter. The show is the most prestigious agricultural show in New South Wales. Competitive exhibits of livestock and produce are theoretically the point of the show, but for many visitors the main attractions are the fairground food and rides and the showbag pavilion in which large bags of themed merchandise are sold, with themes ranging from superheros to chocolate. Ticket prices were $29 for adults, $19.50 for children and $23.50 for concession holders. All tickets include free travel on public transport to the show; as using private transport is discouraged there are no cheaper tickets exclusive of transport.
- The Big Day Out. Sydney Showground, 1 Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park. The Big Day Out is an annual rock festival touring Australia and New Zealand. The Sydney show is usually held in late January, most usually on the Australia Day public holiday on January 26, running from 11AM until midnight. A second show is sometimes held in Sydney if demand is high. The festival is usually headlined by a major international act: previous headlining acts have included Beastie Boys (2005), The Prodigy (2002), Marilyn Manson (1999) and Nirvana (1992). About half the line-up is comprised of Australian and New Zealander acts. The Big Day Out is an MA15+ event, meaning that attendees under 15 must be accompanied by an adult over 18. It is typically a hot and crowded event with up to 60 000 tickets sold, and attendees should take appropriate precautions for their health and safety. In 2006 the ticket price was $110, and tickets usually sell out some weeks before the show.
Shopping opportunities are a little limited, the closest major shops are at Newington or Lidcombe.
Near Olympic Boulevard and the Arenas
In the way of fast food, there is a McDonald's, Subway, Gloria Jeans and Muffin Break coffee shop in the stadium area, and not much else. Muffin Break has seating and a courtyard area often not crowded when there are queues at the other fast food places. These can close before some evening events finish. The Brewery serves food until a bit later.
- Arena Restaurant & Wine Bar, ☎ . Lobby of the Novotel Hotel, corner of Olympic Boulevard and Herb Elliott Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park. Modern Australian dining, open 6AM-11PM.
- Bacar Restaurant Bar Lounge, ☎ . Lobby of the 5-star Pullman at Sydney Olympic Park hotel, corner of Olympic Boulevard and Herb Elliott Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park. Contemporary International Cuisine in a stylish modern setting, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Food Alert, ☎ . Dawn Fraser Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park. Great take away shop selling kebabs, salads, fish and chips and burgers. Open 7AM-6PM 7 days a week.
- Ribs & Rumps, ☎ . M-Th noon-3PM, 6PM-late; F noon-3PM, 5PM-late; Sa Su noon-late. Dawn Fraser Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park. Steakhouse restaurant. $30-50 mains.
There is a kiosk in Bicentennial Park, near the kids playground. Open for lunch only. Good for ice-creams on a hot day.
Near the Ferry Wharf (Homebush Bay North)
- Cucina Viscontini, Shop 4a/b The Piazza, The Waterfront, 21 Bennelong Road Homebush Bay (enter the Waterfront Housing Estate off Bennelong Road in Homebush Bay North at the entrance opposite the Archery Centre. The restaurant is at the end of The Piazza street on the right. The restaurant is a 10 minute walk from the ferry wharf.), ☎ . Daily 7AM-5PM; Th-Sa 5:30PM-9:30PM. A family-owned and operated Italian café which also operates as a restaurant on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Most mains are in the $20-30 range; lunch snacks from $10-20. Make sure you order the bruschetta as an entree, their pizzas are highly recommended too.
- Bel Parco Ristorante, ☎ . Waterview Convention Centre, Bicentennal Park, Sydney Olympic Park. Bel Parco is an Italian restaurant, open 7 days for lunch and dinner.
- Lilies on the Park Cafe, ☎ . Waterview Convention Centre, Bicentennal Park, Sydney Olympic Park. Lilies Cafe serves breakfast and lunch 7 days a week.
There is not much nightlife to speak of on non-event days. On event days, the atmosphere changes - depending on who and what is playing.
- 1 The Brewery, ☎ . Under the Novotel Hotel, corner of Olympic Boulevard and Dawn Fraser Avenue. A pub with a bistro and live sports on 12 screens. Live entertainment on Fridays. Open from 11AM into the night. A quiet and pleasant spot for a drink and a feed on any normal day of the week. On event days, they get out their plastic glasses, security fences, and seats are at a premium. Arrive near to event time and expect a queue to get in.
- Sydney Olympic Park Lodge, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The Lodge has dorm accommodation for 6-8 people per room. It is primarily designed to accommodate school groups. Individual rates are $65 per night for adults and $45 per night for children, including breakfast.
- 1 Novotel and Hotel Ibis Sydney Olympic Park, ☎ , fax: . Corner of Olympic Boulevard and Herb Elliott Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The dual Novotel and Hotel Ibis complex, with 321 rooms, offer two styles of accommodation to suit any budget. Facilities include two bars, two restaurants, 9 conference rooms and wireless access. Rooms from $99 at Hotel Ibis and from $144 at Novotel per night. Undercover car park is available, fees apply. Committed to preserving the environment they are the only hotels in Sydney to have achieved an ISO14001 Certified environmental standard rating for environmental management systems.
- 2 Pullman Hotel at Sydney Olympic Park (Corner of Olympic Boulevard and Herb Elliott Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park). Sydney’s first 5-star hotel outside of the city centre. 212 rooms including 14 suites, Pullman executive floor and lounge, 24-hour gym, business centre, 24-hour IT solutions manager, restaurant and bar. The hotel uses 40% less energy than most equivalent 5-star hotels, with solar panels on the rooftop supplementing power consumption. A specific focus in the hotel construction has been on the selection of natural materials.
There are some free public Wi-Fi spots about in the event precinct. The area is also well covered by normal telco providers.