WHEN FRIENDS COME TO STAY // Kid-Friendly Fun
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.
Awesome. Your besties are coming to town to spend the weekend with you. So much fun. But, it'll mean a house full of kids (read: chaos), so check out these ideas to:
Show off the Highlands. Tick.
Get some fresh, country air. Tick.
Have loads of laughs and a fantastic time. Tick.
Keep the kids entertained, and, best of all, out of your house (kidding. Not kidding). Tick.
The first night is always the best, right? They arrive early Friday evening and get settled... everyone tucks into a late dinner and you crack open a bottle of wine from a local Highlands vineyard to welcome your mates in style and work your way through the delicious graxing boxes you've ordered from Highlands Grazing Co. and set the scene for a fab Highlands weekend.
Kids head off to bed as the adults reminisce about the old days.... more wine.... lots of laughs...
With sore heads and a morning of happy, hyperactive kids, make a quick brekkie for the tribe and fire up the car convoy to Robertson... an early start is key people! Key!
Here's what to do.
You can visit Illawarra Fly for just the Treetop Walk or you can do the Zipline Tour too. You don't need to pre-book for the Treetop Walk - just turn up, but it is best to book for the Zipline Tour. Booking either the walk or the zipline online saves you some cashola too.
There is always something fun happening here and we are loving the Gruffalo Spotters App which is activated during school holidays. Just download the app to interact with awesome 3D characters from this favourite children's book - you can get selfies with them and learn loads about forest animals and do fun activities. So cool.
The Treetop Walk
The Treetop Walk is 1.5km, starting off on flat ground and taking you along metal boardwalks above the tree tops of the Highlands' cold climate rainforest (did you even know we had a rainforest in the Highlands?!).
You pass an actual fairy garden (cue squeals of delight from the little ones) and leave the solid ground for the steel walkways which are up to 30 metres off the ground.
The views are breathtaking and it can be slightly scary in a fun kind of way, as you hover over the canapy of trees. If you're brave (and fit!) there is a tower at the end of the walk with a spiral staircase taking you 45 metres above the ground. You may get a little huffy puffy but the view is totally worth it!
The walk is suitable for all fitness levels. It's mostly flat apart from some really short, easy inclines as you head back to base from the walk (and you can always say no to the staircase!). The ground is suitable to push prams along and accesible for wheelchairs too.
There's loads to take in - the views, the rainforest, plants and there are signboards scattered along the path with interesting snippets of info.
The Treetop Walk is a fun activity in itself, and you can take as long as you want exploring the rainforest. But if you're looking for even more laughs and adventure, book yourselves in for the Zipline Tour.
The Zipline Adventure
Once you're all kitted up in your harness and helmets and you've listened to the safety instructions, head to the zipline course.
We won't lie - it's a little bit scary at first, but hang in there (literally) - it's absolutely worth it! By the time you reach the last cable you'll be so disappointed it's over.
So. Much. Fun!
So much adrenaline pumping.
The course is a combination of flying along the tree tops on the cables and crossing suspension bridges.
Once you've taken that first step off and flown through the trees you'll be hooked and loving it.
The suspension bridges are the most challenging part (we think, anyway!). But again, they're all part of the fun and you'll feel so pumped you did it.
The whole experience can take up to 2.5 hours.
Who can do this?
The whole experience is great fun for adults and kids - you'll all have an awesome adventure!
The self-guided Treetop Walk is suitable for all ages and the Zipline Tour is for 4 years and up (and there is a height restriction of 105cm).
How can you top that?! We suggest you head into Robbo for lunch and a little wander. There are some awesome lunch options - The Robertson Public House, Moonacres Kitchen, Whey Cafe & Dairy Store at the Robertson Cheese Factory, Urban Food Tribe, Lucinda's Pantry and more... check them all out.
After a morning of action the kids should let you wander around Robertson for a little shop without too much complaining. There are some lovely shops to visit and you should definitely head in to the SHAC where you'll see some incredibly talented local artists in action and their work on display. If you must, bribe the kids with a visit to Hampden Park in Robbo which has a fab playground, and worth a visit. A visit to Bliss in a Box in the Cheese Factory will also keep kids happy (and wired!).
If you're not convinced you've tired the kids out enough, head to Belmore Falls which is only a short 10 minute drive from Robbo and always a big hit with visitors.
Depending on where your pad is, a stop in Mossy for some more shopping sounds like a really great idea to us! Your mates will love the boutiques scattered along the high street - we love Bowerbird on Argyle and Birch Store, a gorgeous recent addition to Moss Vale's retail hub - there's always time for a spot of shopping, right?
Let the fun continue. Time to explore the other end of the Highlands with some fun out at one of these family-friendly Mittagong restaurants. You've got the RSL where there is plenty of space and awesome pizzas and Glass Cafe where you can enjoy the courtyard outside or the relaxed vibe inside.
Last chance to hang out together. You've maximised your time out of the house so the mess is minimal. Well done! Don't stop now... the aim is to get out of the house, remember! Hustle them all back in to the car... hustle, hustle.
Jump back in the car for a 20 minute drive to the sweet village of Bundanoon. You drive via Exeter so a quick pit stop to visit the handful of picture-perfect shops is called for - be sure to pop into Quintessential Exeter (the cute blue cottage in the middle of town) while the kids are playing in the playground at Exeter Oval.
The town of Bundy is super easy to explore. The main street is lined with shops to visit, and the main reason we've taken you there is to take the tribe on another outdoor adventure. The Erith Coal Mine Track in Morton National Park is a good one for a family and only takes 30 minutes to an hour (depending on how quickly you do it).
Walk done, head to a cafe or the pub for a super-quick bite to eat, and then.... you're done.
Wave your besties bye bye and wish them well on their drive back to the big smoke. Kids are all pooped. Mess is minimal. House survived the weekend!
How fun does that weekend sound?!
This blog features friends and advertisers of The Fold Southern Highlands and is fully endorsed by The Fold Southern Highlands. We strongly believe in the businesses and all the information we share with you on The Fold and we're excited to share the amazing stories and adventures of our local businesses. We want to say a BIG thank you to you for supporting our sponsors who help make The Fold possible.