Family outings: 9 ways to play tourist in The Hills
The next time someone in the family says “I’m bored” on a weekend, peel them off the couch and head for the Hills – and beyond. There’s a wealth of attractions and activities within an easy drive from Winston Hills and Baulkham Hills – here are some of our favourites.
1. The Edge Rock Climbing Centre
A great place to take active kids and teenagers is The Edge Rock Climbing Centre in Castle Hill. It’s an all-weather indoor venue and caters for beginners, experienced climbers, school groups, family parties and more. There are 102 top rope routes and 46 boulder routes across four different heights: 3.5 metres (bouldering), 8, 12 and 18.5 metres. Bookings are essential.
2. TreeTops Adventure Park
More adventurous activities are on offer at TreeTops in the Cumberland State Forest at West Pennant Hills. There are courses for three- to nine-year-olds that are an average of 10 metres high; then courses for teenagers and adults go up to 25 metres high. The Adventure Park is open from 9am to 6pm and onsite facilities include parking, barbecue and picnic areas, indoor and outdoor party spaces for kids, and toilets.
3. Bella Vista Farm
Set on a hilltop among 20 hectares of countryside, Bella Vista Farm in Bella Vista is a historic farm complex that was established in the late 1700s. Volunteers hold open days on Sundays so you can look around the homestead and learn about farm life in the days of the first European settlers. The grounds surrounding the farm are open seven days a week and have barbecue facilities, picnic tables, walking tracks and toilets. Dogs on leads are welcome.
4. Castle Hill Heritage Park
While on the history trail, Castle Hill Heritage Park dates back to 1801 and was the site of the first convict rebellion in 1804. The main walking track has educational signs that follow a timeline history of the land from its use by the Dharug people through establishment of the convict farm, church glebe, lunatic asylum, orchards and small farm holdings. Most of the reserve is accessible for people with disabilities.
5. Koala Park Sanctuary
Meet koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes, wombats, quolls, emus and native birds at the long-established Koala Park Sanctuary, set among more than four hectares of rainforest, eucalypt groves and native gardens in West Pennant Hills. The Sanctuary holds animal shows every day – check the website for times before you visit – and younger children will love the farmyard patting sessions. There’s a licensed café and plenty of parking onsite.
6. Golden Ridge Animal Farm
Golden Ridge Animal Farm in Dural provides a hands-on and interactive farm experience, particularly appealing to younger children. A typical two-hour session includes 30 minutes in the barn, where you can cuddle baby chicks, ducklings and rabbits and have a go at milking a cow. Outdoors, you take a self-guided walk around the paddocks and hand-feed goats, donkeys and calves and other farm animals. Pony rides and egg-collecting are also available for an extra cost. Golden Ridge Animal Farm offers a range of group experiences; bookings are essential.
7. Museum of Fire
The fascinating, not-for-profit Museum of Fire in Penrith celebrates the heroic history of firefighters and fire services in Australia, while teaching visitors awareness of fire prevention and safety skills. Children and adults can take part in virtual firefighting adventures, see the museum’s heritage collection of vehicles and equipment, and join free guided tours run by volunteers every second Saturday. Open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
8. Great River Walk
Keen walkers, cyclists and scooter riders can join the Great River Walk as it passes through Penrith at the foot of the Blue Mountains. It’s a picturesque section of the larger walk which will cover 570 kilometres, linking the Nepean river’s mouth at Broken Bay to its headwaters at Lake Bathurst. Head to Tench Reserve in Jamisontown for the seven-kilometre Bridge to Bridge loop; along the way you’ll find scenic lookout spots and kids’ playgrounds.
9. Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler’s River Cruises
The Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler’s river cruises also depart from Tench Reserve, if you’re looking for a more leisurely Great River experience.
Having lived and worked in The Hills District for a long time, our team at Westons Property & Co know the region intimately. If you have any lifestyle, home or property related questions, feel free to give us a call.