They might be right in saying “west is best” after all. Western Sydney is one of the fastest-growing melting pots this state has to offer. The suburbs have welcomed the thousands who make the move each year further west to join their tribe. And what’s so good about the area is that it is extremely adaptive. Western Sydney is open to ‘change’, in fact, it thrives on it. It’s a cultural hot spot and community hub which is seeing increased tourism and job opportunities.

So, if you’re a newbie to #WestLife (Ronan Keating thank me later), check out the hot hits below of where to visit on your next road trip. And whilst you’re at it, chat to the locals and get amongst the amazing vibe that the west has to offer.

1. Bungarribee Park

Right. Pack up a picnic and bring extra cheese because this one’s a beauty. Bungarribee Park is the newest addition to the Western Sydney park scene, and by new I mean this space hasn’t even been open a few months! Complete with kids play equipment that even an adult would be jealous of, the park offers open spaces and off-leash dog areas, as well as cycling tracks, tens of barbecue facilities, vegetation areas, a flying fox and water play. This is one shiny new badge for the west, with the council spending $15 million to create the park- the largest recreational space created since the Sydney 2000 Olympics! And it’s definitely Instagram worthy, too.

2. Riverside Theatre, Parramatta

Stick with me here, I know this isn’t a brand new place, but the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta is a fantastic arts hub which is home to some of the best up and coming theatre shows, and is a cultural hub for young children and teens to try their hand in acting and dramatic arts. Riverside Theatre boasts a cinema screen for indie films and theatric reels, and also offers classes and workshops for little ones, school groups and adults alike. Across the year, it’s the home to many arts festivals and events like Sydney Festival, Arab Film Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival Gala and Spot On Children’s Festival. Cult stage classics like Jesus Christ Superstar, Othello, The Wizard of Oz and newbies including Shrek The Musical have kept visitors entertained for decades. Riverside Theatre is a go-to cultural hub for the arts out west, and it’s clear to see why this institution is still a favourite amongst locals and tourists alike.

3. Bents Basin

Bents Basin State Conservation Area is a tucked away sanctuary, ideal for those who love getting back to basics and heading out to nature for the weekend. With camping spots, a picnic area, awesome hiking trails and a basin and river to swim in, the park has got you covered when it comes to things to do. It’s pretty common to see wombats, kangaroos and echidnas in the area too, so if you’ve got overseas visitors heading over to Australia, Bents Basin is one of the best places to take them and show off our pretty great flora and fauna.

4. Campbelltown Arts Centre

Nestled south-west on the outskirts of Sydney is Campbelltown Arts Centre, a modern cultural facility with incredible offerings for the artistically inclined individual. The Arts Centre is more than just that, it’s a meeting place for families and a learning place for new skills like pottery, painting and creating. Paired with a cafe, the Arts Centre also has a beautiful Japanese garden and sculpture garden for visitors to wander through. With a permanent arts collection, as well as an ever-changing public arts program, Campbelltown Arts Centre is at the forefront of bringing culture to the people of Western Sydney.

5. Skyline Drive In

Yes, if you watch The Bachelor (hey, no one’s judging), this is the exact place where they film their cool 50’s inspired dates! Call me cheesy but I think there’s nothing cooler than packing up your car and heading to watch a flick with your mates or significant other, snacks included. The Skyline Drive In at Blacktown has been part of the town since the 1960’s, and has recently gone under a significant renovation, which includes two cinema screens and a retro diner fitted in the middle. Modern day cinema means instead of jamming a dodgy old speaker into your car to hear the film, you can now digitally tune your car radio to receive crystal clear sound instead. The cinema boasts both new and old films too. On every off weekend, the Blacktown Markets are hosted in the car lots of the Drive In, making it the perfect place to pick up a thing or two or sample some local eats. If you’re looking to make a day of it, Sydney’s Wet N’ Wild theme park is also right next door.

6. Casula Powerhouse

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is the central hub of culture and arts for people in the Liverpool region. In what used to be a former electrical building for the area (get it… powerhouse?), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre was created by the citizens for the citizens, after a public referendum decided that the building should go to good use in creating an arts centre for the area. Inside, the skeleton of the old building is still clear to see, with towering steel structures and industrial architecture showcasing the beautiful work which lives inside. Now, Casula Powerhouse provides access to the arts that everyone can relate, understand and appreciate, welcoming over 100,000 people through its doors each year. Offering a vast array of programs including school excursions, guided tours, art classes and adult workshops, the Powerhouse is also home to great public facilities like a ceramics studio, education programs and Bellbird Dining which sees Cordon Bleu-trained head chef, Federico Rekowski and sous chef, Steven Pham focus on showcasing locally-sourced, seasonal produce through simple and delicious recipes.

7. Foodies Heaven

If you’re up for trying some of our state’s best food, then heading out west will see you immerse your tastebuds in a world of flavour, excitement and culture. Some classic visits include El Jannah in Granville, the popular charcoal chicken joint which is known for its iconic garlic sauce, and Pho Tau Bay in Cabramatta, a decades old establishment that offers the best Vietnamese food and pho around. Then there’s more delicious additions to the food scene out west, including Bay Vista in Parramatta with an endless menu of gigantic desserts, Ginger in Harris Park cooking away the most delectable Indian food, and Jasmin1 in Auburn will have you drooling over their homestyle Lebanese food.