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The Blue Mountains with Kids

A Hop-on Hop-off Blue Mountains tour for families

The Explorer Bus is your key to a fantastic family day out. Children love the Double Decker Bus and the ride up top gives them the views to make them feel 'big' and see farther than ever before. We'll carry you up and down all the hills, and get you straight to the main sights before anyone can say "are we there yet?" With a bus every 30 minutes you can spend as much or as little time as you want at each stop, and whenever you're on board our drivers will keep you entertained with all sorts of stories about the Blue Mountains.

TIP: Well-fed kids are happy kids, so carry plenty of snacks and drinking water. There are times on this itinerary when you won't be near shops and cafes.

Time:

Highlights:

Best pass:

One day

Scenic Rides, Discovering & Exploring Nature, Waterfalls

Lyrebird Pass

Stops:

Katoomba Street

Climb aboard the Explorer Bus at our first stop near Katoomba Station, grabbing top-deck seats for the best views. As you drive, keep your eye out on the left for a huge frog painted on the wall (part of the Street Art Walk which you can visit later), and polar bear standing guard outside an art gallery.

Katoomba Cascades and Reid's Lookout

Hop off at Katoomba Cascades (Stop 7) and do the 20-minute walk to the bottom of Katoomba Cascades. There are a few steps down to get to the first lookout, but a smooth wide boardwalk makes it easy to follow the creek up to the base of the cascades. There's a nice rock platform here, where you can dip your fingers in the clear mountain stream.

On your way to Katoomba Falls Kiosk (Stop 8), take the short diversion up steps to see the amazing view from Reid’s Plateau, with the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Orphan Rock and Mount Solitary, and the yellow cable car floating high above. See who can spot the Cableway diving down into the trees first!

Scenic World

The rides at Scenic World are suitable for all ages, and the young guys and girls who drive the Skyway, Cableway and Scenic Railway are great at making kids feel welcome. Many families tell us this is the most exciting part of their day.

The easiest way to do Scenic World is to start with a return trip on the Skyway (stand over the "disappearing" glass floor for maximum excitement), then take your seat on the Scenic Railway – the Steepest Railway in the World. While the Indiana Jones music plays, you drop down smoothly through a natural tunnel in the rock and shoot out amid amazing rainforest in the bottom of the valley.

Check out the push-button mining displays around the Scenic Railway station, then take the short boardwalk (easy to do with a stroller) to the Scenic Cableway. You're walking through forest that looks like something out of Jurassic World here, with huge ferns as big as trees and long curling vines that you wish you could swing on.

Ride the Cableway back up for more gasp-inducing views of the Three Sisters, then race through the gift shop and hop back on the Explorer Bus.

Cliff Top and Valleys Tour

Take a rest and enjoy some of your bus driver's corniest jokes, as we take you on a beautiful drive around to Narrow Neck Lookout. On your way, look out to your left to see the Katoomba Landslide, where a huge chunk of the cliff peeled away and fell down into valley way back in 1932.

As you head back toward the Three Sisters, listen out as your driver tells the tale of how three young Aboriginal girls called Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo came to be turned to stone – by their own uncle.

Lunch with a view at Echo Point

For a good easy lunch with plenty of child-friendly options, grab an outside table at The Lookout at Echo Point. The views are superb, and the Explorer Bus drops you right outside the door.

Echo Point and the Three Sisters

It's time to meet our famous Three Sisters. Walk down to the edge at Echo Point and enjoy the most amazing panorama of sheer cliffs, rippling mountain ridges and endless forest. If the wind is nice and calm, give a loud "coo-ee" to see if you can hear your own echo.

If you're in the mood for an exciting short walk with unbelievable views, follow the wide path that leads down to Honeymoon Bridge and the Three Sisters. You'll often see lyrebirds on this walk, scratching through the leaves right beside the track. Also keep your eye open for random collections of blue objects on the ground – a sure sign that a bowerbird has made his bower nearby.

As you reach the top of the Giant Stairway you can look right out over the heads of the Three Sisters. Climb down the winding stairs to the bridge, and get photos of yourselves standing on the Three Sisters, then retrace your steps and walk back up to Echo Point.

Blue Mountains Chocolate Company

Get charged up for an afternoon of exploring, and give the kids a real-life Willy Wonka experience, at Katoomba's award-winning chocolate factory. (It's a 5 minute walk up the road from Echo Point.) Order a glass of the incredible hot chocolate and watch through the big glass window as the master chocolate maker creates irresistible treats before your eyes.

You'll be putting all that chocolatey energy to good use at the next stop.

Gordon Falls Lookout and the Pool of Siloam

Hop on the Explorer Bus and enjoy amazing views while your driver tells you stories of the farmers who used to live deep down below you in the thick Kedumba Valley forests. Heading past Leura Cascades and up the hill into Leura village, you can watch how the vegetation changes from big bendy eucalyptus trees to pine trees as straight as pencils.

Hop off at Gordon Falls Park (Stop 18), a great place for a picnic and for kids to run around and play on the swings and slides. Hang out here if you want, but if you're keen for a bit more exploring a hidden treasure awaits!

Just a short 1.5km return walk, passing through a fern filled canyon, will lead you down into the gorgeous Pool of Siloam. (You can find the track signposted at the back of the park.) This is an enchanting walk, with steep stairs in places, and your reward at the bottom is a dream jungle waterfall that pours into a pool with a sandy beach. It's cool and shady even on the hottest summer afternoon, and a magical place to play in the water and feel like a jungle explorer!

NSW Toy and Railway Museum

If the jungle pool adventure sounds a bit hard, there's an easy-going alternative nearby. Hop back on the Explorer Bus (or walk up the road, it's not too far) to the NSW Toy and Railway Museum.

This place is heaven for the young-at-heart, with its glass cases full of thousands of antique dolls, toy soldiers, teddies and board games. Young kids are more likely to enjoy the huge coin-operated model railways out in the gardens (which are also great for a game of hide and seek).

Toy shops and milkshakes in Leura

Ride the bus into the centre of Leura village and browse the many wonderful shops for unique gifts and fun souvenirs. Don't miss the great little toy shop, and check out the Nook Craft Co-operative at the top of Leura Mall for handmade stuffed toys and dolls' clothes.

There are plenty of great places in the village to go for a coffee or a milkshake – kids especially seem to love Lily's Pad cafe, just behind the main car park, which has fish ponds and shady outdoor seating.

Catch the train - or come drive a bus

If you're heading back to Sydney you can get straight on the train at Leura. Or hop on the Explorer Bus for one last ride back to our Katoomba store, where you can climb into the driver's seat of our replica Big Red Bus – a unique photo reminder of your fantastic day in the Blue Mountains.

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