By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Attractions Group
Brisk fresh air, roaring log fires, Yulefest celebrations and a toasty round of exhilarating activities awaits visitors to the Greater Blue Mountains this winter.
Blue Mountains Attractions Group president Louise Clifton said: “Outside, the beauty of a crisp, still day with brilliant blue sky above splashes of colour throughout gardens such as Everglades Historic House & Gardens and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah is unmatched. Soft mist blanketing the World Heritage-listed wilderness is just as gorgeous.
“There might even be snow during your visit.
“After exploring the great outdoors, retreat to the warmth indoors at the premier attractions of the region and immerse yourself in a range of activities bound to keep you snug.’’
The Greater Blue Mountains is located right on Sydney’s doorstep and perfect for a weekend away, mid-week retreat or stop-over between the city and the Central West.
Getting there is easy by car along the Great Western Hwy or Bells Line of Rd and by train from Sydney and the Central West to Lithgow and all Blue Mountains stations between Mt Victoria and Penrith.
Once there, board a hop-on/hop-off vintage-style Trolley Tours bus to access all the famous sites and sights of the Leura and Katoomba area (there is even a daily bus to Jenolan Caves, where you can celebrate Yulefest with all the trimmings at historic Caves House on Friday and Saturday nights throughout July). The public bus service gives access to all the other premier attractions of the Blue Mountains.
Choose also from these cosy seasonal activities:
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba: A Soirée Concert Series especially for grownups will be held on selected Friday evenings featuring an array of phenomenal musicians including Penelope Sai, Señor Cabrales & Cornerbrook and, back by popular demand with a new set of songs, Canto Latino. Sip and sup on a selection of beverages and canapés such as gourmet cheeses and spiced mulled wine by the fire while you soak up the entertainment and exhibitions in the City Art Gallery. Tickets: $30 per event, $25 InSight members includes gallery entry. Bookings essential: bluemountainsculturalcentre.com.au or phone (02) 4780 5410.
Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum, Faulconbridge: Discover the different ways Norman Lindsay and his brothers were involved in the World War I effort through the Billjims and Brothers exhibition, on display until the end of July. Norman produced for the government the famous war recruiting posters which depicted the Germans as ferocious ogres, wreaking havoc and terrible death on the innocent women and children of the conquered countries. Reg was the first of the brothers to enlist in the army and was killed in the Battle of the Somme near Bapaume in 1916. Daryl enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916 and was eventually attached as batman to his brother-in-law, Australia’s first official war artist Will Dyson. The exhibition includes recruitment posters, cartoons from The Bulletin, photos, war memorabilia and personal effects.
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah: See authentic local Aboriginal paintings, artefacts and sculptures when the work of Darug man Dr Shane Smithers is showcased at the revamped Botanists Way Discovery Centre throughout June and July. A member of the Burraberongal clan, Dr Smithers’ search during many years of caves and rock platforms, old books and museums looking for the art of his people, has culminated in the This Is Darug Art exhibition.
Join bird watching expert Carol Probets from 8am to 11am for a winter bird walk in the garden on July 25, observe many species of birds and have morning tea.
Go on a Daffodil Discovery Walk with expert horticulturalists or take part in the All Things Daffodil bulb growing workshop at the garden during the annual Daffodil Festival from August 22 to 30.
Bygone Beautys Tearooms, Leura: A major facelift hasn’t halted the famous Devonshire or traditional high tea service. Take advantage of 20 per cent off the price of the entire range of stock throughout the antiques emporium – fine bone and porcelain china, Royal Doulton, Crown Derby, Coalport, Wedgewood, linen, tablecloths, napkins, doilies, runners, cushions, crystal and glassware, jewellery (old and new, gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds, rubies – the lot), watches, figurines, lamps, clothing, hats, boas, furs, vases, teapots and tea.
Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura: Roam the exquisite grounds and art deco house, indulge in homemade refreshments by the fire and browse His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama World Peace Portrait Event 2015 between June 6 and 9, during which a group of Australian-based artists will exhibit artworks to raise funds for the proposed new Kunphen Tibetan youth rehabilitation centre in India. Kunphen (a Tibetan term meaning “beneficial to all’’) is the only Tibetan non-government organisation whose sole objective is to work for the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of alcohol and substance abuse victims among resident Tibetan refugees across India, Nepal and Bhutan.
“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,’’ Ms Clifton said.