Family Sunday Drives: Upper Blue Mountains
Discover A New Destination With The Family
ellaslist is bringing back the good old Sunday Family Drive. Have a relaxing screen-free day with the whole family where kids can check out some new scenery and parts Sydney (and beyond) that iPads and XBoxes just can’t match. A family drive will have you bonding in no time, the perfect opportunity to get some uninterrupted chat and car games underway as you give the kids a truly new and exciting experience.
DESTINATION: Upper Blue Mountains region
THE DRIVE: 1 hour 40 minutes, one way
LOCATION ON GOOGLE MAPS: https://goo.gl/maps/3Yiqy
The beautiful Blue Mountains is a spectacular world heritage region only a mere hour to the Lower Blue Mountains and up to two hours to its farthest end. We’ve highlighted the Upper Blue Mountains region, from Wentworth Falls to Mount Victoria, to give you our favourite destinations for a great Family Sunday Drive.
Why We Love It
We love the bountiful natural experience that the breathtaking Upper Blue Mountains offers families – from the notable Three Sisters in Katoomba to the hidden gems off the beaten path like Wentworth Falls Lake. All year round, the Upper Blue Mountains region is a great day trip destination for those screen-free weekends when you just have no idea what to do. Visit in autumn to experience the magical when the deciduous trees erupt into blazing shades of red, orange and gold. Visit in spring or summer and go on a nature adventure to a waterfall.
The villages in the region have plenty of shops with a laid-back rustic appeal and regular markets with a mountain country vibe that’s a refreshing change of scenery from the urban jungle we are accustomed to.
Things To Do
It goes without saying that the Three Sisters are the pride of the Blue Mountains. Their colour changes with the rise and fall of the sun – worth seeing at any time of day. The Three Sisters are floodlit until 11pm at night, creating a striking image against the night sky. Echo Point (the viewing spot of the Three Sisters) is used to tourists and there are plenty of places to stop for a sandwich or grab an ice cream.
If you’ve got kids who love a bit of walking, then Scenic World in Katoomba is a must-do. Get the family pass if you’ve got two or more children and spend a few hours exploring and going on the Cableway, Skyway or Railway rides. We love the thrilling 52-degree descent Railway, which is a quick and dirty “roller coaster” for those who don’t always enjoy the heart-thumping rides. The daredevil young ones will get a kick from it!
Once at the bottom, the 2.4km elevated boardwalk Scenic Walkway is an experience of tranquility under an ancient rainforest canopy. Gorgeous with sunlight breaking between the trees or beautifully crisp on a rainy day. The kids will tire out from all the sights, smells and sounds while exploring the native flora and fauna. If they’re lucky, they might even spot the elusive lyre bird!
The cool-climate Mayfield Garden (pictured above) spans 15 hectares and is another must-do. From the Water Garden, The Valley of the Five Ponds and The Grotto (a cascading waterfall you can walk behind!), to interactive garden games like Chess, you could easily spend the day making your way through Mayfield.
There are various options for easy 10-minutes to moderate 1-hour walks all clearly signposted. Being a boardwalk, this means that it’s a pram and wheelchair-friendly experience, accessible between the Cableway and Railway stations.
If you have older kids and prefer a real bushwalk adventure, try the one-hour return Conservation Hut to Empress Falls walk. The trail begins at the Conservation Hut Cafe (above), where you’ll be greeted with stunning views of the Jamison Valley. The cafe is a great meeting point and source of local information before you begin your walk – which we highly recommend as the Blue Mountains can be a bit tricky at certain times. Always check local alerts and let someone know your plans before you embark on your bushwalk.
Wentworth Falls Lake (above) is a gorgeous hidden gem that sits along Sinclair Crescent, just 12 mins walk from Wentworth Falls train station. The lake is home to plenty of native wildlife and fishes, which we know the kids will be absolutely delighted to discover – from water bugs like freshwater crayfish, freshwater shrimp to dragonfly nymphs. The children’s play areas along the lakeside caters for big kids and the littlies with a dedicated adorable pirate ship play structure. The lake is also a popular picnic spot with tables and BBQ facilities, so if you’re looking to just kick back with the kids, Wentworth Falls Lake is perfect! We also love that there’s an easy grade one-kilometre circuit walk around the lake that takes about 30 minutes.
Leuralla Toy & Railway Museum (above) - for your tiny train lovers, this is should be a definite stop! Located in Leura, the working trains chug around the gardens and are fun for all ages. The toy collection contains priceless memorabilia that harks back to the Victorian era! Take time to stroll through the gardens and the museum for an easy afternoon while the kids stay enrapt with the trains.
Held on the second Sunday of the month at the Blackheath Community Centre, the Blackheath Growers Markets (above) are a fantastic spot to rub shoulders with the local community and savour the delightful produce from this fertile region. ellaslist loves the sensory experience any farmers market provides for the kids, so Blackheath Growers Markets is not one to disappoint! Start the day with a traditional country-style egg and bacon roll, then work your way breathing in the colours, textures and flavours of grain fed meats, organic produce and cheese.
Places To Eat
The Hydro Majestic (above) has recently reopened in spectacular fashion. Located in the township of Medlow Bath, high tea is served in the Wintergarden dining room between 11am to 5pm daily – with spectacular panoramic views over the Megalong Valley. Kids 3 to 12 years can enjoy a high tea at $35 per head, while adults are $55pp. Plan ahead if you’re keen on a gorgeous high tea experience here as reservations are essential.
For something less luxurious, Bakery Patisserie Schwarz in Wentworth Falls is a quaint little bakery perfect for ordering some nibbles for a picnic at the nearby Wentworth Falls Lake, or for just having a quick bite in between adventures.
If you’re planning on making the Upper Blue Mountains a weekender, there are plenty of options. If you’re looking for a family-friendly hotel, look no further than the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains (pictured above) in the picturesque Leura, complete with a garden maze and a hop-on kids train! ellaslist was lucky enough to try it out recently. Alternative, seek out your home-from-home on AirBnB or Stayz.
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