Wandering what to do on the long weekend? Keen to start exploring around Sydney now that travel restrictions are relaxing? Chill in ‘the Dilly,’ the Wollondilly region southwest of Sydney. Perfect for a day trip out in the fresh air, Wollondilly is just over one hour’s drive from Sydney CBD and about 30 minutes from western Sydney. It comprises the town centres of Picton, Thirlmere, Warragamba, Appin and beyond.
“Within the Dilly visitors will discover things you can’t find in neighbouring regions, like our five iconic dams,” says Wollondilly Mayor Matthew Deeth. “It’s not just the natural beauty that visitors will appreciate but also the friendly locals will welcome them.”
The Dilly’s wildernesses, historic townships and abundance of family-friendly activities make it a magnet for Sydney day-trippers. We picked our top 9 things to do with kids in Wollondilly. Round it out to a top 10 by picking favourites of your own on your Dilly day trip.
Chances are, if you’re a Sydneysider, you’re already well acquainted with this mammoth of a reservoir. Indeed, the Warragamba Dam supplies most of Sydney with its drinking water. But you’ll also discover its stunning viewing platforms and picnic spaces also make for a great lunch stop. Nearby, you can also enjoy the spectacles of Cataract Dam in Appin, Cordeaux Dam in Wilton and Avon and Nepean dams via Bargo.
George IV Inn, Picton
Built in 1835, ‘the George,’ as it is nicknamed, is one of the oldest pubs in Australia. It is a prime location for a delicious lunch and live music, recently re-opened adhering to strict social distancing measures.
“The George is a typical country-style pub with friendly staff where you can order a great pub-grub meal and an ice-cold bear,” says publican Craig Higgins.
Stop by homewares, fabric and gift boutiques in Picton, including a unique slice of South East Asia in The Elephant Emporium, or fudge heaven in Stonequarry Country Bumpkin. Up the road, enjoy the fresh and local fruit and veg as well as homemade dips and sauces from Pheasants Nest Produce.
Listen for the kookaburras, lyrebirds and black cockatoos as you look out at this remarkable view across the Blue Mountains escarpment.
NSW Rail Museum
Alight at Thirlmere for a visit to Australia’s largest collection of heritage rolling stock. The interactive displays and exploration of Australia’s rail history are due to re-open to the public in early July.
Thirlmere Lakes National Park
Encounter more of the Wollongilly region’s locomotive history nearby at a heritage pump station. You can even jump aboard a steam train ride from Thirlmere – keep your eyes peeled for lovely views out the window!
The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan
Feel like letting loose among 400 hectares of natural woodland, rolling hills, lakes and gardens? Perfect for a picnic among Australian flora or a bike ride along cycle paths, Mt Annan Botanic Garden has free entry and free barbeques.
Mermaids Pool Waterhole
Just as magic as it sounds, this natural waterhole on the Bargo River marks the start of the majestic Tahmoor Gorge. It is not recommended to swim as the only way in is to jump from a height and climb out using a rope. There are other waterholes perfect for a dip along the track.
A splash of colour along the Hume Highway, these three custom painted murals were created by local Wollondilly artist Joe Quilter. They represent the essence of the Dilly, showcasing a local dairy farmer, wedge-tailed eagle and lyrebird, which is the Dharawal totem. You can spot the murals near Wilton at the turn-off to Picton Road.