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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
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.
Blue Mountains Attractions Group (BMAG) members will recognise Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon residents as valuable tourism ambassadors through a new rewards program.
BMAG president Dave Robertson said tourism was one of the largest industries in the Greater Blue Mountains region, attracting more than 3 million visitors a year and injection about $489 million into the economy.
“Of the three million that visit, we know that 40 per cent of them are friends and relatives of residents of the area.
“That means that the people living in the area are frequently taking their friends and relatives to many of the attractions available in the region. They also direct them to accommodation houses.
“Most tourism operators would be aware that many of these tourism ambassadors are repeat visitors to their business and therefore should be rewarded for their actions.’’
Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker said he supported the program: “This is a worthwhile program that duly rewards our loyal resident community which supports tourism in so many ways every day.’’
The BMAG rewards program will be available from September 24 to all residents of the Blue Mountains, Oberon and Lithgow council areas (cardholders must be aged at least 17).
To obtain a Greater Blue Mountains Rewards card and information package instantly, residents simply visit Glenbrook, Echo Point, Lithgow or Oberon Visitor Information Centre or one of the participating tourist attractions with photographic proof of identity (driver’s license, passport).
Once they have their card, they are ready to receive their well-deserved discounts and offers from the many quality tourist attractions listed.
The card will initially only offer discounts from BMAG members but the program will eventually be made available to all Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism members.
Blue Mountains Attractions Group currently includes Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, Blue Mountains Trolley Tours, Bygone Beautys, Everglades Historic House and Gardens, Featherdale Wildlife Park, Jenolan Caves, Koomurri Aboriginal Centre, The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mt Tomah, Nana’s Teddies & Toys, Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum, Scenic World Blue Mountains, Selwood Science & Puzzles, Talisman Gallery, The Brook Art & Craft Co-op and Werriberri Trail Rides.
Addresses and offers can be found at www.bluemountainsattractions.com.au.
The project was funded by Destination NSW, the tourism department for the State Government.