There are endless ways to keep the kids entertained in the Blue Mountains. From challenging walks to gazing at the night sky, there’s a ‘wow’ moment around every corner.
Feel a connection to First Nations culture
Indigenous communities have called the greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area home for thousands of years. The Darkinjung, Dharawal, Dharug, Gundungurra, Wonnarua and Wiradjuri groups used native plants and animals as a source of bush tucker and medicine and have left behind messages in the land – middens, scar trees – that reveal stories of sustainability and survival to future generations. You can help your kids forge a real connection to this fascinating living culture at the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre in Blackheath, where the enlightening Outside In exhibit reveals the landscapes of the Grose Valley through Aboriginal eyes.
Level up: Ok, so you’re about to step out and experience Mother Nature at her finest. But before you do, get a sneak peek when you and the kids strap on Oculus Quest goggles for a mind-bending virtual reality experience. Zoom through the region’s immense Claustral Canyon, spotting wildlife and waterfalls in one of the most beautiful parts of the Blue Mountains National Park.
Take a Leap
With horizon-scraping views of the Three Sisters Katoomba’s Echo Point Lookout is one of the Blue Mountains’ most iconic outlooks. But for an equally panoramic perspective that’s a little lesser known, meander down the Fairfax Heritage walking track from the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre in Blackheath to the dramatic cliffs and spectacular view at the George Phillip Lookout. The path opens to a forest of peppermint and scribbly gums, dotted with grass trees. In early spring, you may see the vibrant red flowers of waratahs, many other colourful wildflowers, and the chance to spot native wildlife as you wander.
Level up: Amp up the adrenaline with a hike along the Cliff Top walking track, a three-hour return trek that follows the cliff edge from Govetts Leap lookout to Evans lookout (check the NSW National Parks website to make sure it’s open). Your kids’ legs will get a good workout (and their heads will hit bedtime pillows hard). This area is a haven for birdlife; keep eyes peeled for yellow-tailed black cockatoos, king parrots and white-naped honeyeaters as you cross the verdant heathland.
Ride into the records
Give the kids a fun fact they can boast about to their friends: Katoomba’s Scenic World is home to the world’s steepest passenger train, which travels from the escarpment down 310m into the forest on a 52-degree rail incline. At the base, a web of trails explores the Jamison Valley rainforest. Take the train’s return trip, or catch the 545m Scenic Cableway back.
Level up: The Scenic Skyway glides between clifftops, 270m above the valley floor. It’s eye-opening from the confined cabin – but if you’ve got kids over 10 years old who love a little adrenaline, you can strap on a harness and climb through a hatch onto the roof for the Beyond Skyway experience and settle in for a front-row sunset over the World Heritage-listed expanse. When it’s time to climb back into the cabin for your return journey, mum and dad can toast to views of the Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters and Mount Solitary with a glass of bubbles.
Prepare to be dazzled
Got amateur stargazers in the family? Then they’re going to love the night sky in the Blue Mountains, where the heavens are so brilliant, you’d be forgiven for thinking a magician’s wand had doused them in glitter. On a Blue Mountains Stargazing experience, your kids will also get to meet a real-life astrophysicist, Dimitri Douchin, who’s a fabulous guide to the night sky. You don’t need a telescope to witness the celestial dance of planets, stars and satellites; but with Douchin’s, you can see the moon’s craters and seas, Saturn’s rings, and galaxies far, far away. But wait, there’s more: you can snuggle into a cosy recliner lounge with a mug of hot chocolate and get set to be taken to outer space – while you’re inside an inflatable bubble. This pop-up planetarium illuminates the constellations, while Douchin regales you with fascinating stories about the Milky Way.
Level up: Keep the outdoor adventure theme going by pitching a tent at the StayKCC Campground in nearby Katoomba. If your kids are particularly adventurous (and the weather is good), let them roll out their sleeping bags under the stars.
Hop on, hop off
The Explorer Bus is a laid-back family adventure: a one-hour tour around the Blue Mountains, giving you a front-row-seat to clifftops and valleys where other tourist buses simply don’t venture. Not only does your driver know how to navigate the mountains inside and out, they are also quite the raconteur, revealing stories about life in the Blue Mountains that take you from its glacial creation through to its traditional owners and its modern-day communities.
Level up: Take your ride up a notch and see how many of the 37 stops that the Explorer offers you can tick off. Feel the force of waterfalls, tackle treks, gaze from edge-of-the-Earth lookouts and refuel at any number of cafes or restaurants along the way. Hop back on when you’re ready – the regular schedule means you don’t have to miss a beat.
Let us do the planning for you!
Let us do the planning for you!
To discover more great family fun in the Blue Mountains region, check out this one-day itinerary.