By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Attractions Group
Golden hues, crisp mountain air and exhilarating activities mark the onset of autumn, one of the most visually spectacular seasons for the premier attractions of the Greater Blue Mountains.
Blue Mountains Attractions Group president Dave Robertson said: “Every season here has its charm but autumn is one of the most beautiful.
“The weather is ideal for physical pursuits such as bushwalking, the air is fresh and then there are the colours – from exotic trees and autumn blooms to brilliant sunsets and the soft veil of mists that create a magical dreamy landscape, the Greater Blue Mountains in autumn is glorious.’’
Visitors and locals can surround themselves with some of the most exquisite floral displays at Everglades Historic House & Gardens at Leura.
If arriving in the Blue Mountains by train or if you just want to leave the hassle of driving at your accommodation, hop on a red double-deckerBlue Mountains Explorer Bus or vintage-style Trolley Tours at any of stops around the Katoomba and Leura circuit and hop off at Everglades.
For a different perspective, continue your car drive up the Great Western Hwy, cut across the Darling Causeway at Mt Victoria and turn right down the Bells Line of Rd to The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah. From there it is easy to continue through the Hawkesbury on to Sydney or head back to the Central West through Lithgow.
Also on the hop-on/hop-off bus circuit, catch a bird’s eye view of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area from one of the thrilling rides at Scenic World and soak up authentic indigenous culture atWaradah Aboriginal Centre.
Experience the outdoors indoors at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre interactive World Heritage Exhibition at Katoomba, visit the home of one of Australia’s most loved characters, the Magic Pudding, at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum at Faulconbridge and warm up with a delicious Devonshire tea or traditional high tea at Bygone Beautys while browsing the vast number of items on sale.
Grab a bear hug at Australia’s largest and most awarded specialty teddy bear store, Nana’s Teddies & Toys at Blaxland and visit some real life furry friends at Featherdale Wildlife Park at Doonside on your way to or from the Blue Mountains.
The fun and fascination continues over the Great Divide.
Stop in at Talisman Gallery at the Hartley Historic Site and watch metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick create a masterpiece before exploring the underground at the world’s most magnificent cave system, Jenolan Caves (Blue Mountains Trolley Tours runs a daily coach service there and back).
Mr Robertson encouraged visitors to “stay a night or three’’ to fully experience the 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 is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media
WHEN: 10.30am to noon, Saturday, October 6, 2012
WHERE: Wentworth Falls Picnic Ground, Falls Rd, Wentworth Falls
WHAT: Official launch of Festival of Walking
The annual Festival of Walking kicks off with a range of free walks, entertainment and tucker for the whole family on Saturday, October 6.
The annual nine-day event (October 6-14) celebrating the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area spanning through to Lithgow and Oberon will include an extensive program of events with something for everyone – from street walks to hard core treks into the wilderness and even a beer enthusiasts walk.
Promoting fresh air and the grand backyard of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region, the festival will feature treks and challenging bushwalks, history tours combined with local wine and cheese sampling, ambles through the day and walks at night, garden tours, singles walks, indigenous experiences, a phone film competition and family events.
The Festival of Walking will be held at locations throughout the region including Jenolan Caves, the Glow Worm Tunnel near Lithgow and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, as well as Blue Mountains towns.
The official launch will be held at Wentworth Falls Picnic Ground and will feature Discovery walks, a guest appearance by NPWS mascot Wanda the Wombat and a barbecue lunch for all. The event will also feature the popular Junior Rangers choir singing some especially tailored lyrics to familiar favourite tunes.
Arrive at Wentworth Falls by train and meet a NPWS Discovery ranger who will take you for a guided bushwalk along the easy Charles Darwin Walk, arriving at Wentworth Falls Picnic Area in time for the 10.30am festival opening.
Early birds can meet a ranger at 7.45am in search of birdlife, also arriving in time for the official festival kick off. Learn about the amazing birds that inhabit the Blue Mountains in spring and the habitat resources they rely on. Bring your binoculars.
A Family Meander will be held at 8.45am and 9.15am, when a Discovery ranger will take you on a family friendly adventure down Charles Darwin Walk in search of signs of wildlife. Discover what makes the Blue Mountains such a fantastic location for family bushwalks.
At 8.45am, join a Shadow of Time walk guided by a Discovery ranger with in-depth knowledge of local history. Discover more about Charles Darwin and his time in the Blue Mountains as well as the development of the amazing Blue Mountains walking track system.
All walks will be free. Bookings: (02) 4787 8877.
Festival of Walking director Sean Greenhill said the festival was “our chance to share our backyard with the world and we intend to take the opportunity to do so’’.
Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker said the concept of a Festival of Walking in the area “is one whose time has come’’ given the plethora of experienced quality accommodation providers, the famous history and diverse range of events all perched on the edge of Australia’s largest city and all within a World Heritage Area.
The Festival of Walking is a celebration of the beauty of nature, the health and wellbeing benefits of walking, acknowledgement of Aboriginal custodianship and culture, and homage to the history, heritage and conservation of this special region.
Visit http://www.festivalofwalking.com for more information about the Festival of Walking.