By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Attractions Group
From a chocolate egg hunt, art workshops and baby animals to religious services and natural wonders, the premier attractions of the Greater Blue Mountains will keep the whole family occupied during the upcoming Easter and school holiday period.
Blue Mountains Attractions Group president Dave Robertson said: “Easter is one of the rare times during the year that the whole family can take a break together, so make the most of it and do something meaningful as a family. Then of course school aged children continue their holiday until Monday, April 20.’’
Choose from the following special Easter and school holiday activities:
With numerous niches and hidey holes, the magic of Easter will become real for children at the Everglades Gardens gigantic egg hunt from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, April 5. The lower garden will come alive with colour, delicious food, entertainment and oodles of games for the kids. Cost: National Trust members free, $10 children, $5 adults, $25 families (2 adults, 2 children – $5 extra child). Details: Scott Pollock (02) 47841938 or email email@example.com. Go to www.everglades.org.au for a program.
Kid’s Story Time (Waratah Education Centre, 10am-11.30am or 1pm-2.30pm, April 10). A delightful live reading of popular children’s books for kids. Featuring live action, audience participation and sound effects, this is an excellent holiday entertainment fun for all the family presented by Entertainment Blue Mountains Cost:$25. Bookings essential: (02) 9231 8182. Each session includes a 30-40 minute interactive story performance followed by the self-guided garden adventure quest. Bring a picnic and make a day of it.
At 9am sharp on Easter Sunday, worshippers can experience a free non-denominational church service deep underground in the Cathedral Chamber of the Lucas Cave. After climbing 252 steep steps to the Cathedral Chamber, relax while listening to the Easter message, sing songs of praise and worship. While there, see the huge limestone formations named by cave explorers after familiar stories from the Bible and church features: the “baptismal font’’, “pulpit’’, “organ’’, “belfry’’, “organ pipes’’ and “cathedral windows’’. Bookings essential: (1300 76 33 11).
Two Greater bilbies will be the star attraction at Featherdale Wildlife Park this Easter School Holidays. Visitors will be encouraged to help save the wild cousins of these nocturnal long-eared creatures by buying a Save the Bilby pin for $2. The non-aggressive, shy Greater Bilby, which once roamed 70 per cent of the Australian continent, is now an endangered species.
Featherdale general manager Tim Sinclair-Smith said: “So many visitors to the display are unaware of the existence of bilbies. They think they’re a mythical creature and are amazed to meet one up close.’’
Visitors can also attend animal feeding presentations throughout the day including a giant 4.5m saltwater crocodile named Ngukurr. Go to www.featherdale.com.au for details about other school holiday activities and the Wild family fun offer.
Meet the star of the recent Paddington Bear movie at Australia’s largest and most awarded specialty bear store. Visit and see how Paddington has changed during the years. Although still recognisable as the cherished Paddington from our childhood, he has had a dashing modern makeover.
The home of the Magic Pudding will be an ideal setting to nurture creativity at art workshops for children aged 6-12 years. Bookings: (02) 4751 1067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raining Cats and Dogs, 10am to 12.30pm, April 16 ($20): Make a metropolis of cat and dog characters come alive inspired by Norman Lindsay drawings. Learn how to use scratch foam and chine colle with specialised printing inks to create a series of artworks.
Dynamic Colour, 1pm to 3.30pm, April 16 ($20): Learn how to create a dynamic painting with colour and texture inspired by Norman Lindsay and the garden grounds of the gallery.
Baby bunnies, fresh hot cross buns and those world-famous rides: Scenic World Blue Mountains will be choc full of awesome holiday entertainment this Easter. The Scenic World forecourt will be transformed into a festive farmyard where children can feed and pat piglets, chicks, calves, baby goats and bunny rabbits during the long weekend. Adults can relax with a spiced hot chocolate and fresh hot cross bun from the pop-up café while the Hot Potato Band entertains with its popular New Orleans-inspired tunes. The thrilling Scenic railway, cablecar, skyway and walkway will also run throughout the holidays. All Easter weekend events are free with the purchase of a Scenic World pass including unlimited rides: $35 adult; $18 per child (4-13yrs), $88 family (2 adults, 5 children), $32 concession.
Mr Robertson encouraged visitors to “stay a night or three’’ to fully experience the thrills and wonders of the Greater Blue Mountains region.
“Remember too that we reward loyal local tourism ambassadors through our Residents Rewards program simply for showing family and friends around the region and visiting our attractions businesses,’’ he said.
Go to bluemountainsattractions.com.au for more information about what to see and do in the Greater Blue Mountains region, special offers and news and the Residents Rewards program.
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group
Celebrate the spirit of the Royal Easter Show pavilions of Sydney’s old showgrounds and experience a taste of the Blue Mountains at the new Hydro Majestic Pavilion interactive “living’’ history space.
Visitors to the historic hotel can discover the history of original owner Mark Foy’s “Palace in the wilderness’’ as well as the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area through interpretive displays and multimedia screening areas.
One of the main features of the pavilion will be the vibrant display showcasing boutique and unique food and wine from the Blue Mountains and surrounds including Mudgee, Bathurst, Orange and the Western Plains.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The gourmet food and wine of this region and its surrounds is exceptional quality.
“In fact, the region is fast becoming known as a food destination and I know that the Hydro Majestic Pavilion will become a tourist destination in itself soon.’’
Visitors to the 500sqm pavilion can browse the history and produce displays at their leisure and, on Saturdays between 12pm and 4pm, indulge in wine tasting before snapping up their own take home supplies.
Following the successful De Beaurepaire Wines cellar door wine tasting event on March 7, a different winery will be featured each month, with cheese tasting to also be introduced soon.
Winburndale Wines, Bathurst, will be the featured winery on Saturday, April 4, and Megalong Creek Estates Wines, Megalong Valley, on Sunday, April 5; Robert Steins Wines, Mudgee, will be on Saturday, May 2; Swinging Bridge, Orange, on Saturday, June 6; and Angullong Vineyard, Orange, on Saturday, July 4.
“This is a fantastic way to shop for food, very European,’’ Mr Bruegger said.
“There is no better way to feel the passion and genuine commitment to the ethics and ideals written on the packaging than to meeting the producer face-to-face and talk to them about how they grow or make the food or wine.
“And of course it makes sense to taste test your food before you buy.’’
The Hydro Majestic Pavilion is open from 9am to 5pm seven days.
Visitors to the pavilion will also soon be able to picnic on their delicious goodies at the new Majestic Point Lookout, picnic and market grounds and gaze out at the best views of the Megalong Valley anywhere.
Go to hydromajestic.com.au for a program of cellar door tasting events as well as other dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.
The Hydro Majestic Hotel was relaunched under Escarpment Group’s boutique label. The Escarpment Group is a unique collection of luxury escapes in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area also including Lilianfels Resort and Spa, Echoes Boutique hotel & Restaurant and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, each steeped in history and surrounded by dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views unique to the Blue Mountains region.
Words by Ellen Hill for Scenic World
Perch on a clifftop at Scenic World overlooking the world-famous Blue Mountains escarpment and feel small again – in the heart of the city. Capture the moment in a photo and share it with the world next Friday (March 20) and Saturday (March 21) – all from Circular Quay.
Urban residents can experience a small slice of Australia’s most visited privately-owned tourist attraction and the nation’s most accessible wilderness when multi award-winning 3D chalk artist Anton Pulvirenti transforms Customs House forecourt into a World Heritage-listed landscape.
The 10m x 15m canvass 3D drawing will offer a glimpse of the Scenic Skyway as it glides 270m above ancient rainforest between clifftops, against the backdrop of the iconic Three Sisters and spectacular Katoomba Falls.
Scenic World brother and sister Joint Managing Directors Anthea and David Hammon said: “We have grown up with the Three Sisters as our view, breathed the fresh Blue Mountains air and enjoyed the rides at Scenic World as our playground our whole lives yet we never take the size of this vast one million square hectare landscape for granted.’’
Anton Pulvirenti will create the 3D chalk drawing using forced perspective to create an illusion of scale, meaning the scene will be so realistic that passers-by could be forgiven for believing they have truly been transported to the Blue Mountains.
So “stand’’ on the Scenic World clifftop and ask a friend to take a photo and share it with the world on Instagram with #feelsmallagain and receive an instant keepsake photo from the Scenic World team.
The top 10 most creative photos will receive a family pass to Scenic World so they can experience the thrilling attraction for themselves – for real.
The Scenic World Feel Small Again 3D chalk art will be staged in front of Customs House, Alfred St, Circular Quay, from 8am to 6pm Friday (March 20) and 10am to 5pm Saturday (March 21).
The family-owned Scenic World overlooking the world-famous Three Sisters landmark at Katoomba is home to the world’s steepest passenger train, the highest and largest cablecars in Australia and the longest boardwalk in Australia.
Words by Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group
Darley’s Restaurant at Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa is the best noshery in Australia. Its Book A Restaurant award proves it.
The 2015 Top Rated Annual Awards are the result of real diners rating their top Australian restaurants through bookarestaurant.com.
The multi award-winning Darley’s, a Hatted restaurant inducted into the Hall of Fame for Best Regional Restaurant in 2011, is located in the heritage listed original homestead of sixth Chief Justice of NSW Sir Frederick Darley on the 5-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa property at Echo Point.
It is part of the Escarpment Group collection of luxury properties which also includes the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, Echoes Boutique Hotel at Katoomba and Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges at Blackheath.
Sir Frederick bought the Darley’s property in 1888 and built a retreat so his family could access the mountain air for their daughter Lilian, who may have contracted and died from tuberculosis. It is assumed the house was named Lilianfels is in honour of Lilian, coupled with the German fels for high land.
Today, Darley’s Restaurant, which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, overlooks lush manicured gardens with soaring mountain views.
The main dining room seats up to 50 people and features two open ornate fireplaces, spectacular leadlight windows, crystal chandeliers, luxurious designer wall prints, evocative artworks and plush furnishings that illustrate style and grace.
With its magnificent décor, Darley’s sparkles with newly revived old world charm accentuated by a magnificent setting and unrivalled destination – the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The Top Rated Annual Awards recognise restaurants across five categories: Best Restaurant, Quality of Food, level of service, Romantic Rendezvous and Fit For Foodies.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “We have always been confident that the quality of the food, service and décor at Darley’s Restaurant is world-class but it’s great to have that vote of confidence from the people who matter the most to us – our patrons.
“Congratulations to Darley’s executive chef Lee Kwiez and his team of chefs and wait staff especially for this award.’’
Darley’s Restaurant was included in the Top 50 Rated list for an impressive four categories (Best Restaurant, Quality of Food, level of service and Romantic Rendezvous).
Diners who make a booking online through bookarestaurant.com have the opportunity to recommend the restaurant to other diners and friends.