Ultimate guide to things to do in Blue Mountains with kids
The Blue Mountains, just a 90-minute drive west of Sydney, or a two-hour train trip from Central Station, is a World Heritage-listed landscape of sandstone plateaus and deep valleys, and the perfect backdrop for a family holiday.
Lookout over the Jameson Valley and the iconic view of the Three Sisters from Echo Point in Katoomba and explore the valley below at Scenic World. Here you can be suspended across the valley on the Skyway or be lowered into it on the Scenic Railway or Cable Car to the boardwalks through the bush.
Bushwalking is a popular activity with many trails and walks of all difficulties and lengths throughout the mountains, connecting to waterfalls and fantastic views and for the adventurous, you can try canyoning, abseiling, mountain bike riding or in Megalong Valley, horse-riding.
At nearby Jenolan Caves, you’ll find an underground wonderland of stalagmites and stalactites where you can enjoy self-guided tours, guide-led tours and adventure caving. Along with the magical limestone caves, you can hike the surrounding bushland on the Jenolan River Walk.
Take a walk in one of the many historic landscaped gardens or visit the sensational cool climate gardens of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah, where you’ll find more than 6,000 different species of plants. The kids will love the garden’s Adventure Quest, a self-guided, hands on tour available daily.
Or simply explore one of the region’s historic towns including Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath, Hartley and Lithgow. You’ll find them filled with cosy cafes and unique shops.
Top things to do in Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is a great destination for families. Here are ten not to be missed things to see and do.
- Head to Echo Point for views of the iconic Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley.
- Ride the Skyway, Cableway and Railway at Scenic World for awesome views.
- Visit The Candy Store at Leura to stock up on your favourite sweet treats from around the world.
- Take a one hour Hop On, Hop Off Blue Mountains Trolley Tour.
- Take the self-guided Adventure Quest at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.
- Head into an underground wonderland at Jenolan Caves.
- Explore the magnificent, manicured gardens at Everglades.
- Get spooked in historic Hartley Historic Village.
- Enjoy a traditional Xmas style celebration in the middle of the year.
- Learn about Australia’s Aboriginal culture at Waradah Aboriginal Centre.
Things to do in Blue Mountains with…
There are plenty of parks and playgrounds to keep little ones busy in the Blue Mountains. Everglades Gardens in Leura have a dedicated program, My Adventure at Everglades, which comes with a workbook, magnifying glass, sculpture trail and garden detective worksheets. The pack was designed by education specialists to help kids aged under six to engage with their surrounds and teach them about heritage conservation.
Wentworth Falls Lake is one of the Mountains most popular and family-friendly parks with its two fantastic playgrounds, loads of green space, picnic and barbecue areas, scooter and bike paths, and plenty of ducks and geese to feed.
The Gingerbread House Cafe is straight out of a fairytale packed with delicious treats, including gingerbread, and there is a huge toddler friendly garden area with a cubby house and a climbing frame to work off all that sugar.
Kids will love Adventure Quest, a seasonal self-guided tour and hands on adventure activity available daily at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah where you can also enjoy stunning panoramic views. At Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum view a unique collection of antique children’s toys and trains in a grand, historic home. The Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge is the home of the Magic Pudding and kids will love exploring its landscaped gardens filled with fountains and sculptures.
Logan Brae is an old apple orchard on the Shipley Plateau, about five minutes from the Blue Mountains town of Blackheath, where you can stock up on apples during summer and enjoy spiced warm cider and hot apple pies in winter. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a kid who doesn’t love The Blue Mountains Chocolate Company, near Echo Point, a kid-friendly chocolate cafe with an outdoor playing and the best hot chocolate in town.
Horse lovers should head to the gorgeous Megalong Valley for around 800 hectares of scenic wilderness trails through forested glens, and horses to suit riders from beginner to advanced.
Hop on the red tourist bus to visit 29 different locations in the mountains including Leuralla, Leura Mall, Echo Point, Leura Cascades and Scenic World, an absolute must visit for kids with its variety of adventurous activities.
Take a ride on the world’s steepest incline railway, the Katoomba Scenic Railway, zoom across a 720-metre long chasm on the transparent glass-floored Katoomba Scenic Skyway, suspended 270 metres above the forest floor. Or take the Cableway into the Jamison Valley’s Jurassic rainforest, which offers awesome views of the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, Mount Solitary and Katoomba Falls on its 545-metre descent. At the bottom, take a stroll along the Southern Hemisphere’s longest boardwalk, which is littered with relics and information about the area’s mining history.
With abseiling, canyoning, ziplining, rock climbing, mountain biking and bushwalking, active teens will love the abundance of adventuring to be found in the Blue Mountains. At Tree Adventure you’ll find a series of challenging courses that will have you swinging, climbing and flying through the forest canopy at extreme speeds. Hire a mountain bike to ride down one of the many cycling trails for an exhilarating way of exploring the natural beauty of the area.
There’s incredible supervised rock climbing at a range of sites including Mt. York, Mt. Piddington, Zig Zag and Narro. For daredevil teens, several experienced adventure operators offer rope-assisted canyoning trips. And for something out of this world, dive deep into the Jenolan Caves. The two-hour Plughole Adventure tour offers an introduction to caving with a series of climbs, squeezes and crawls suitable for all fitness levels.
Best time to visit Blue Mountains as a family
The Blue Mountains is a magical destination for families all year round. A blaze of colour in in autumn, warmed by fireplaces in winter, lush and lovely in spring as its flowers start to bloom, and wonderfully warm in summer, there is something special about each and every season. The warmest weather falls between December to February when temps can get slightly high, and the coolest from June to August when you will need to rug up, especially in the evenings and early mornings.
Thanks in no small part to its popular Yulefest celebrations, which sees the Mountains turned into a Christmassy wonderland, winter is peak tourist season so you will need to book accommodation well ahead to secure family friendly digs. For great weather, stunning colours, more affordable prices and less people, visit between March and May or September and November.
Family-friendly places to eat in Blue Mountains
Surrounded by farmland, you can expect good produce and even better food at the Blue Mountains’ many cafes and restaurants that cater for children.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be especially well catered for as there are loads of candy stores, bakeries and chocolate shops. Indulge in a children’s high tea with a view at the historic Hydro Majestic. Enjoy handmade chocolates and steaming mugs of hot chocolate at the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company. Browse the thousands of varieties of sweets, including chocolates, candies and fudges at Hartley’s The Lolly Bug. In Leura, stock up on sweet treats from around the world at The Candy Store. The Gingerbread House, set inside a 100-year-old renovated church in Katoomba, is a haven for families. You’ll find plenty of sweet treats as well as a menu of kid friendly café favourites and a huge outside play area with a cubby house, slide and climbing frame.
Things to do for free in Blue Mountains
- A visit to the Blue Mountains doesn’t need to cost and arm and a leg as many of its main attractions are completely free. The must-see attraction is the spectacular Three Sisters at Echo Point Katoomba, which is also the starting point for the Giant Stairway walk. There are other free walking trails of varying difficulty along The National Pass including the Nature Track, Wentworth Pass, the Overcliff-Undercliff Walk, Vera Falls Track, Kings Tableland and the historic Charles Darwin Walk.
- On the western side of the Blue Mountains, Hartley Historic Village, a beautifully preserved 19th Century village, is a must to explore.
- And at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah, the only botanic garden located in a World Heritage Area, explore cool climate gardens or head off on a self-guided Adventure Quest to enjoy hands-on activities and discover plants from around the world.
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Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.