So, you’ve done the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the shops, Luna Park, Darling Harbour, Manly and Bondi – what about Blacktown?

There is plenty to do in Sydney but you don’t have to stay right in the heart of the CBD to experience a bit of action and culture.

Yes, that’s right – you’ll find art, culture, design, shops, rides and even a koala and a few kangaroos in this guide to the best of Blacktown.

Wet’n’Wild

Australia’s newest theme park has been a big success, bringing crowds far and wide to the west. Based on the Gold Coast theme park of the same name, Wet’n’Wild Sydney is fun for big and little kids. There’s more than 40 slides and water adventure activities, including the hair raising T5, which has a 15 metre drop. There’s a half pipe, the Tropical Cyclone, Tantrum and 360Rush – as each name suggests, all designed for a thrill. Little ones will love Wet’n’Wild Junior, with mini water slides and splash zones. For something a bit different, hit the park for After Dark, when the lights come on and the rides keep going. Wet’n’Wild reopens after winter on September 19 until the end of the April school holidays.

Atura Blacktown

The arrival of a brand new design hotel brings more than just industrial business parks to the west.

The company behind QT’s quirky hotels – QT Sydney, QT Gold Coast, QT Port Douglas and now QT Canberra – have branched out again with the Atura Blacktown.

A few minutes after turning off the M4 Motorway, the Atura comes into view. Surrounded by paddocks and the heritage-listed Royal Cricketers Arms pub, the building is long, low and a little bit space-age. It’s not a high-rise monstrosity that’s come to take over the area, but a boutique hotel with an uber cool, eclectic vibe.

Walking inside the lobby, what you see is what you get. And you can see just about everything. The open plan design puts the restaurant, lounge area, bar and pool right in front of you. There are funky lamps, hanging lights and exposed concrete walls, a pool table with a cool vintage illustration instead of a normal green mat, cushions in every shape and colour, and some seriously unique pool furniture.