11 Fun Activities To Do With Kids In The Highlands
Handy information for parents and carers about raising kids in the Southern Highlands, kindly brought to you by Explorers Learning Academy, specialising in play and early childhood education.
It’s no mean feat keeping kids entertained. Where DO they get all that energy? Thankfully in The Highlands we have loads of options for some fun time out with children. It doesn’t matter if your mini me likes nature, creativity, action, theatre or eating out……there is bound to be something in this list to keep them (and you!) happy.
ImaginArta Puppet Show
Did you know Sutton Forest has its very own weekly puppet show? The talented ImaginArta team have been performing every Sunday at 11:00am since 2015! Visiting puppeteers from overseas and all across Australia regularly visit and perform, with shows changing regularly. It’s a fun morning out for kids (and the parents have a good laugh too!). Buy tickets online – kids are $11.00, adults are $15.00 and groups of 4 or more are $10.50 each. Booking is essential as seats are limited to 25 people at the moment.
After the show, why not pop into the kid-friendly Sutton Forest Inn for some lunch, a play on the swings (the kids, not you!) and a run around on the grass behind the pub.
Erith Coal Mine Walking Trail
This fab bushwalk in Morton National Park, Bundanoon is super easy to get to, perfect for mini explorers and gets a ten out of ten for beautiful scenery. Work up an appetite during the walk before heading to the family-friendly beer garden at the Bundanoon Hotel (if it's warm, pack the kids cossies for a post-walk swim in the hotel's pool!).
An easy walk from Mittagong town centre, Lake Alexandra is a favourite with locals. The pathway around the lake is perfect for little people on scooters, the playground keeps the kids busy, and there is access to easy grade bushwalks if you fancy doing some exploring. Pack a hamper and a blanket then plonk yourself down for a picnic in the sun with the kidlets.
Neeny’s Playhouse at Mittagong is awesome for littler ones who are up for some climbing and sliding fun. There's a cafe on site where parents can chill out while the kids go nuts. They also run kid's fitness classes - so fab!
Highlands Entertainment Centre
Ah, bowling. Nothing like a bit of family bonding over some knock-em-down action! All ages are catered for at Highlands Entertainment Centre with lightweight balls and bumpers available on all lanes and for the bigger kids, the arcade games are a real hit. Something for them to do when they've stopped laughing at you in your bowling / clown shoes. If bowling isn't your thing, these guys have just opened a mini putt putt golf course - soooo awesome! Open 7 Days.
Fitzroy Falls Bushwalk
We love the jaw-dropping views from the Fitzroy Falls bushwalking tracks. Park at the Fitzroy Falls Visitor’s Centre and choose which escarpment you’re going to follow – East Rim or West Rim. Both are fairly easy walks which suits most ages and fitness levels, with plenty of fencing and lookouts for photo opps. We also love the cold drinks and ice blocks at the Visitors Centre Café for a post-walk treat! If you’re keen to keep exploring and you’ve packed a picnic, continue along Nowra Road and pull off at the Southern Highlands Sailing Club. Pop your blanket down on the banks of Fitzroy Falls Reservoir while the kids test out the playground equipment.
The Empire Cinema in Bowral is an obvious choice for keeping kids entertained (and hands up the adults who secretly LOVE "having to go" to all the kids movies!). Empire Cinema suits all ages, and children under 12 can join the Empire Kids Club to earn rewards each time they visit, and often the G and PG movies are at a discounted rate. And of course, the best thing about going to the movies....popcorn and choc tops! Open 7 days. Prices start from $10.
Milkshakes and Hot Dogs at Bernie’s
There is something super fun about sliding into a booth at the 1950’s styled Bernie’s Diner and ordering a milkshake that arrives in a proper stainless steel cup (it keeps it super cold, people!) and a hot dog that gets served up in a basket. Such a fun and casual atmosphere at this Moss Vale institution!
Bike Riding Along Bong Bong
The Bong Bong Track is a family friendly pathway for walkers, joggers and cyclists running behind Briars Inn and Burradoo. It’s mostly flat so easy for riders of all ages and skill level and of course, it’s off road so little ones don’t have to deal with traffic. Just watch out for rogue ducks and of course, wriggly sticks that have been spotted on the track every now and then. The best place to access the Bong Bong Track is off Moss Vale Road. If you’re coming from Moss Vale way, head over the bridge at Bong Bong Common and turn right at the Cecil Hoskins Access Road. If you’re coming from the north, turn left about 500 metres after Briars Inn.
Cherry Tree Walk
Sometimes the best thing you can do with kids is get them outside to burn off some energy! The beautiful Cherry Tree Walk in Bowral is the perfect place to do that. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, the Cherry Tree Walk is always awash with colour and garden gorgeousness. A 5 kilometre walk, you can stroll it, roll it, ride it or run it (if you’re keeping up with kids, you might be doing all of the above!). Finish the walk at Merrigang Street (before it turns into Venables Park) and head down to Raw & Wild Cafe for a delicious and healthy smoothie (the kids won’t even know it’s good for them!). Or follow the pathway to Boolwey Street and peel off for an ice block at the Bradman Café and burn off more energy at the Glebe Park kids’ playground. We see an afternoon nap in your future…...! Cross fingers.
Cool Off With A Swim
There is something about swimming that wears kids out big time – yippee! Moss Vale Aquatic Centre is a year round favourite, thanks to its fun water playground and indoor pool. Mittagong Pool is a beautiful spot to swim with the family, although it's currently closed due to storm damage - we'll let you know when it reopens! Bowral Pool is central and close to the Cherry Tree Walk if you fancy combining a walk with a swim afterwards to cool off. And we love the relaxed, family atmosphere at the Bundanoon Swimming Centre. We are also lucky enough to have plenty of fantastic swimming holes, perhaps more suited to bigger kids who don’t mind a bit of a trek on foot to access these natural waterholes. Check out some of our favourites here.
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