We visit the Blue Mountains with kids a few times a year and we never get tired of the views, the food and the fun. I love that it’s a short, easy drive from Sydney and there is always so much to do and see. It’s the perfect family-friendly getaway.
There are many gorgeous towns in the Blue Mountains to explore, but we usually spend most of our time in the tourist hot-spots of Katoomba and Leura. This last visit, we also spent a fabulous day in Lithgow. Here are my best of The Blue Mountains with kids.
Best family friendly activity – Scenic World
Scenic World has been my pick of the Blue Mountains since I first visited as a child. This exciting destination has evolved over the years and been upgraded with high-tech new cablecars and shiny new facilities and leisure areas. But the views and the thrills are just as exciting. And now I get to share the exhilaration with my kids.
There are four main attractions at Scenic World – the Scenic Railway, Cableway, Skyway and Walkway.
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Scenic World has made a few changes to adapt to COVID-safe recommendations, but we still were able to experience all the attractions and enjoyed fewer crowds, which comes with timed sessions and limited capacity.
You need to book your Scenic Pass online and pick a session, which starts every 15 minutes. Upon arrival, we were ushered into the welcome area where we were given an introductory briefing by a team member.
The scenic route then begins a breathtaking trip on board the Scenic Skyway – the largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere. Scenic World’s majestic cableway glides between the cliffs, providing the most spectacular views of the Three Sisters, Mt Solitary and Jamison Valley.
Running through the centre of the base of cablecar is a see-through glass floor. The kids were mesmerised standing on the transparent ground, gazing hundreds of metres down onto the rainforest canopy. I found a spot at the front window where I got a perfect view of the cascading Katoomba Falls. Just WOW!
With the newly implemented Scenic Route, the cable car doesn’t stop on the other side (which you can actually access by foot), but instead it returns back to the Scenic World station, so you get another chance to admire the breathtaking ravines and jagged rock faces.
Next up, comes the highlight of the route – a nail-biting, adrenaline-filled ride on the steepest passenger railway in the world, the Scenic Railway.
This railway, which first travelled this steep route as part of coal mining operations in the late 19th century has been modernised over the years and is now one of the most invigorating (and just a little bit scary) attractions in the region.
Passengers get to adjust their seat angle – ranging from the more chilled LAIDBACK to the CLIFFHANGER at a 64° incline. The train travels at a 52° incline (believe me, it’s STEEP) through a cliff tunnel down onto the Jamison Valley floor.
The kids (and me) were shrieking with excitement as the railway chugged (Ok, more like barrelled) its way rapidly down at a crazy angle. If you can, grab a seat at the very front – it’s quite a rush!
At the bottom, we got the chance to wander on the boardwalks meandering through the Jamison Valley. The Scenic Walkway is a 500m elevated path, an easy 10-20 minute walk between the Railway and Cableway stations.
Throughout the walk, the kids enjoyed spying out the variety of ancient trees, the miner’s hut and the bronze sculpture of a miner and his pit pony.
The final leg of the Scenic Route is the 545 metre Scenic Cableway, the steepest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere, which brings passengers back up to the Scenic Worlds HQ.
The large cabin provides the perfect view of the famous Blue Mountain rock formations, as the cablecar glides towards the sky.
Back at the start, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the cafe, which has a lovely outdoor area, with the best view in town.
Don’t Miss Dinosaur Valley At Scenic World
Dinosaur Valley is an exclusive Scenic World experience which explores the world of dinosaurs until 31 January.
Discover what the Earth was like when Dinosaurs ruled. Walk amongst dozens of moving, roaring prehistoric species including Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus and many more.
The Dinosaur Valley experience includes:
- Travel into our ancient Jurassic-era rainforest on the Scenic Cableway
- Marvel at animatronic dinosaurs, fossil alley and the hatchery along the Scenic Walkway
- Ride the Scenic Railway out of the Jamison Valley
To maintain COVIDsafe social distancing, Scenic Skyway is not part of the Dinosaur Valley experience.
The two Nutcracker soldiers guard the entrance to the treat paradise within. The Gingerbread house is one of my kids favourite places and it’s always on the list whenever we’re in the area.
The Gingerbread House has a large outdoor and indoor seating area where you can sit and relax while you munch on a variety of delicious menu items. The menu is focused on creative jaffles, Belgian waffles, brownies and sky-high cakes. There is also decadent hot chocolates which are impossible to resist.
The centre of the shop is a haven of sugar and all things nice. There is gingerbread, candy canes, cookies, lolly pops, giant marshmallows and more. The kids get to pick one treat and they can spend ages trying to decide.
There are many fabulous places to eat in the Blue Mountains but after lots of research, we tried out three family-friendly restaurants and all of them were outstanding.
This Italian spot is an institution in Katoomba and is always busy. So best to get there early (they open at 5pm) if you want to snag a table. The pizza is scrumptious and the kids also get a ball of dough to make their own creations, which are then baked in the pizza oven (this, however, was on hold due to COVID when we visited).
This is one of the most delicious Asian restaurants we have eaten in. It’s a cosy spot in the centre of Katoomba and boasts a diverse menu. We enjoyed the outstanding Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls and stir-fry dishes. The kids raved about the crunchy crumbed chicken tenderloins with chips ($12).
This eclectic, retro style Aussie restaurant is a gem in the centre of Katoomba. It’s specialities are its gourmet burgers and decadent desserts. I thoroughly enjoyed the Falafel Bowl and kids had heaps to choose from in the kids’ menu. Also on offer, are a range of yummy milkshakes, hot chocolates, cocktails and mulled wine. Highly recommended.
There are some fun playgrounds in the Blue Mountains but our favourite is the adventure playground in Lithgow. The highlight was the double mouse wheel, which was the perfect way for the kids to work off excess energy. There is also a custom-made 6 metre high two level climbing tower in the style of a mining poppet head. A flying fox, climbing walls, water play features and much more will ensure there is plenty to do for children of all ages. The automated, self-cleaning toilets were also a source of fascination for the kids.
Best Place To Stay
The Fairmont Resort is the family-friendly jewel in the Blue Mountains. We’ve probably stayed at the Fairmont Resort ten times and each stay is just so fabulous. I love that the owners never let the property go stale and are always adding in new facilities and fun things to do. There’s an adventure park, a garden maze, an outdoor gym, basketball courts, playground and an actual ice-rink coming soon. The Fairmont has two indoor play areas for the kids, an arcade packed with games, a mirror maze, an indoor heated pool, a massive outdoor pool and a gorgeous spa. Plus there’s a movie theatre, a cute train, a merry-go-round and electric cars. There are a number of restaurants on-site so you don’t even have to leave the resort.
What are your favourite things to do in the Blue Mountains with kids? Tell us in the comments below.