Do you have plans for the July school holidays? Stuck for ideas on keeping the kids entertained? How about taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains or why not stay over to experience more of what we have to offer. There are so many things to do!
Activities in The Blue Mountains & Surrounds
(The below list is supplied by Blue Mountains Tourism)
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Bells Line of Rd, Mt Tomah
Combine education with natural wonder and plenty of fresh air. Browse the garden at your own pace, join an organised tour and be sure to check out the “dinosaur’’ tree, the Wollemi pine. Check out the Offshoots: A Florilegium exhibition of contemporary botanical illustrations by Cairns artist Julie McEnerny will be a feature during the holidays. Cost: free entry. Details: mounttomahbotanicgarden.com.au.
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, 30 Parke St, Katoomba
A great all-weather family activity, the cultural centre includes Into the Blue (the Blue Mountains World Heritage Exhibition) featuring high-tech interactive exhibitions exploring the natural as well as social landscapes of this unique area. Children of all ages can navigate their way through these stories through an immersive exhibition experience, introducing them to the richness and wonders of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Cost: $5 adults, $3 concession (children under-16 free). The centre also includes Blue Mountains City Art Gallery, Blue Mountains City Library, a shop and café. Details: bluemountainsculturalcentre.com.au.
Blue Mountains Explorer Bus and Blue Mountains Trolley Tours
Ditch the car and jump aboard a red double-decker Explorer Bus or vintage-style maroon Trolley Tour hop-on/hop-off service to access all the famous sights and sites of Leura and Katoomba without the hassle of parking. Both provide all-day tickets. Details: trolleytours.com.au or explorerbus.com.au.
Bygone Beautys, Megalong and Grose streets, Leura
Take time out and indulge in a silver service traditional high tea of ever-popular Devonshire tea. You might even meet Mr Teapot himself. Details: bygonebeautys.com.au.
Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura
There’s plenty to explore at this 1930s property, with 12.5 acres of tiered European-style gardens and native Australian bush, breathtaking views over the Jamison Valley and even a waterfall. Walk up an appetite before refuelling in the tearooms (book ahead so you don’t miss out). Entry: $10 adults, $8 concession, $4 children (National Trust members free). Details: everglades.org.au.
Featherdale Wildlife Park, Kildare Rd, Doonside
Hand feed a kangaroo, wallaby or emu; have a face-to-face encounter with a koala and meet the whole gamut of native animals at the home of one of the nation’s largest private collections of Australian native animals and bird life. Pack a picnic or buy refreshments at the café. Cost: $29 adults, $16 children (3-15 years), $22.50 students, $20 seniors, $82 family (2 adults/2 children). Details: featherdale.com.au.
Jenolan Caves, Jenolan Rd, Jenolan
Discover the underground at the world’s most magnificent cave system. Explore a spectacular show cave, go on an adventure or special children’s or night tour. For grownups and older children there is a fascinating tour every night (go on the Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts tour on Saturday or Wednesday – if you dare). Explore the outdoors on some new bushwalks or traipse through a self-guided tour of the Nettle Cave (free with any show cave tour) including a lively commentary for young children – there’s even an Aboriginal culture tour. The cafe serves light lunches, snacks and drinks or enjoy a delicious dinner at the award-winning Chisholm’s Restaurant. Why not choose one of the many accommodation options to suit all family budgets and stay the night? Details: jenolancaves.org.au.
Nana’s Teddies & Toys, Kidman St, Blaxland
With 15,000 teddy bears and plush animals at Australia’s largest and most awarded specialist teddy bear haven, you’re bound to meet the furry friend that’s just right for you. Details: teddys.com.au.
Norman Lindsay Gallery, Norman Lindsay Ave, Faulconbridge
Draw inspiration from one of Australia’s most loved authors and artists, Norman Lindsay, at the home of the Magic Pudding at special holiday children’s workshops. Make your favourite character out of clay at The Magic Pudding in Clay (July 2) or transform your favourite character from a drawing to your own relief print at Artist’s Printmaking Like Lindsay (July 3). Both workshops are for children aged 5-12. Cost: $25 for one, $40 for two includes all materials and aprons. Explore the historic gallery and grounds while you are there. Bookings and details: email@example.com or normanlindsay.com.au.
Scenic World Blue Mountains, Violet St and Cliff Drive, Katoomba
Enjoy the thrill of a high altitude adventure these winter school holidays with early bird discounts before 10am (June 28 to July 13), fantastic family packages, free Magic Pudding movie screenings (July 2 and 9), new light options menu including great value children’s meals and, of course, the chance of snow. Planning your visit is simple with a range of tailored itineraries catering to bushwalkers, grandparents with kids, thrill seekers or even those a little scared of heights. Get insider tips on what the locals love to make the remainder of your stay unforgettable. Details: scenicworld.com.au.
Talisman Gallery, Hartley Historic Site, off the Great Western Hwy, Hartley (10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday)
Located at the picturesque Hartley Historic Site, visitors can snap up truly unique hand-forged and crafted pieces of wall art including decorative wall mirrors, clocks and dragon sculptures. Warm up by watching metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick create a masterpiece from the glow of his forge downstairs before heading upstairs to browse the gallery of fascinating artwork and jewellery. Details: talismangallery.com.au.
The Brook Art & Craft Co-op, 1a Ross St, Glenbrook
A not-for-profit retail shop, The Brook is staffed and operated by its members, who themselves make most of the products on display. The range available covers just about any craft you can name and every handmade item is unique to the shop.
Waradah Aboriginal Centre, World Heritage Plaza, Echo Point Rd, Katoomba
Witness Australian Aboriginal culture in a contemporary gallery. Experience traditional dance, take part in interactive didgeridoo performances, examine authentic artworks and take home genuine Aboriginal souvenirs. Learn about Australia’s living Aboriginal culture from the local Darug and Gundungurra tribes through informal cultural discussions and lectures.
Hope that this gives you some great ideas for family getaways and day trips with the kids. Enjoy the school holidays! Stay warm.