We actually managed this weekend to explore three of Sydney’s Blue Mountains magnificent valleys in just two days. Well, not extensively obviously with four kids in tow, but by different means we did cover a fair bit of ground.
The journey to the mountains in our rented Ford Territory is a smooth one and takes about an hour and a half from Sydney’s city centre. The kids, happily ensconced in the back seats, fall asleep before getting car-sick so it’s a pleasant 90 minute drive to our first stop: Wentworth Falls.
The Territory, it has to be said, is the perfect family weekender. Enough room for four large kids and all their paraphernalia ”“ with enough storage space and power outlets for all to share. So no iPod goes uncharged and no drink is short of a cup-holder. And plenty of room for the weekend’s luggage, even with the rear seats in use.
Our accommodation in Wentworth Falls is a gorgeous little cottage called The Dairy. A fragrant English country garden greets us, complete with daffodils, snow drops and jonquils and we’re sold on the place before we even walk through the front door.
The Dairy is nearly 100 years old and has been decorated beautifully. It’s so cosy it seems like somebody actually lives here. It’s spacious enough for our large brood ”“ the dining table seats 10 ”“ and it has a delightfully eclectic collection of books and DVDs.
Saturday morning arrives and after a fry-up we head for Megalong Valley for our first trek of the weekend ”“ on horseback. Kathy Tucker, who runs Werriberri Trail Rides, has promised horses for riders of all levels of experience.
The group of horses that greets us is also delightfully varied in size. From the enormous Clydesdale offered to my partner to an Icelandic pony not much larger than a Shetland proffered to the youngest of our troupe.
The Megalong Valley is surely at its finest. Wattle blooms all around us and the views of the surrounding escarpments are magnificent. Two hours pass a bit too quickly, but we all gain enough confidence to canter a few times so everybody’s happy.
We head back up the escarpment to Blackheath and gobble down some lunch while admiring the view from Govetts Leap of our next destination ”“ Grose Valley. Having been inspired by the view we head down into it.
It has to be said it’s tough-going ”“ well ”“ tougher than I was expecting and I’m wearing inappropriate footwear (I still have riding boots on). But the kids are in their element with the mix of rocks to clamber over, ladders to climb and mud. It’s very wet, with water literally seeping out of the cliff face at every turn.
Pasta for dinner back at the cottage and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen my kids eat so much, so quickly and still ask for dessert having licked their bowls.
We opt for a slightly easier walking route the next day ”“ downhill. We start at Scenic World, heading off on a round-trip that begins with the Skyway cable car which takes us over to the opposite cliff to Prince Henry Cliff Walk.
From there, we walk to Echo Point before heading down the Giant Stairway into Jamison Valley, around the Three Sisters, past Katoomba Falls to the bottom of the Scenic Railway ”“ an easy round-trip that manages to take us about four hours although we did dawdle. And it was necessary to go up and down the Scenic Railway a few times.
So, three valleys in two days and we have between us no injuries other than my slightly aching upper thighs (damn those boots).