Kid-Friendly Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains

KIDsize Living Blue Mountains to Penrith Region

By Kirsten Barnett-Brown

We are obviously quite spoilt for choice when it comes to different ways to enjoy the beautiful national parks that surround the Blue Mountain area. However, not all bushwalks are created equal (I’ve certainly learned that the hard way!) so it's good to do some planning.

Bushwalking with kids in the Blue Mountains

Going for a short walk with Little Miss 2

  

There are some really great, short walks for littlies to enjoy but ultimately it depends on the capability of your children. Some children will be able to last longer and navigate more difficult terrain than others – and it’s not always about age. Our two-and-a-half-year old has been bushwalking regularly with her dad pretty much since she began walking! We started with short bursts which also included time in a carrier, and now she enjoys longer walks and often asks to go to Scenic World via the Furber Steps which is one of their favourites.

Bushwalking with kids in the Blue Mountains - Furber Steps

Furber Steps in the rain

  

The first step is to remember some basic safety tips. The NSW National Parks website is the go-to place for information regarding safety in the bush, including links to all the current park alerts, including bushfire warnings.

Our KIDsize specific pointers for bushwalking with children are:

  1. Remember to take snacks (nobody wants to be stuck along the Federal Pass with a hungry child! Muesli bars and bananas can do wonders.)
  2. Ditto water – enough for everyone … and then some.
  3. Ditto sun protection  - hat, sunscreen, clothing – the weather is really changeable up here and tracks will vary between shade and full sun.
  4. Make sure everyone wears sensible and protective shoes.
  5. Choose your walk wisely – if you are uncertain about whether your child can handle the walk’s difficulty level, it might be best to wait until they are a bit older.
  6. Heed the time/distance advice online or on the signs at the start of each walk – although they are often very generous, children can also be unpredictable. Wild Walks gives a good indication of distance and approximate length of time on all Blue Mountains walks.
  7. Although you may not be walking far, remember that mobile reception can drop in and out so it’s a good idea to let someone know where you are going (your hotel perhaps). You can actually hire Personal Locator Beacons for free from the police stations in Katoomba, Springwood and Blackheath – first in first served.
  8. Enjoy! This is a special time to spend in the great outdoors with your children. Introduce them to the incredible variety of plants and animals that you see along the way and marvel at the beauty of this amazing land.

Bushwalking with kids in the Blue Mountains - Charles Darwin Walk

The Charles Darwin Walk, Wentworth Falls

  

In no particular order, our top 5 best bush walks for families, kids and toddlers are:

  1. The Charles Darwin Walk – Wentworth Falls: This is a beautiful track that takes approximately 2 hours to complete in its entirety. This length would be better for primary school aged children and older, although we have taken our toddler on small sections of it. It is easily accessible from the train station making it a great option for travellers. The walk itself follows Jameson Creek and has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty. Small waterfalls along the walk leading up to Wentworth Falls itself, bridges and walkways over the creek and an abundance of plant and animal life to enjoy.
  2. Leura Cascades – Leura: A short, roughly 30 minute walk from the carpark/playground to a stunning view of Leura cascades and the valley. Really pretty. Could be just the place for you to introduce your children to bushwalking. Like most tracks, you can continue it further if you and your family are up to it, taking the track to Echo Point and the Three Sisters.
  3. The Scenic Walkway – Scenic World, Katoomba: Yes, this walk does require paying entry to Scenic World but it is a really great, safe walk that you can easily do with children of all ages. The 2.4 kilometre boardwalk at the bottom of the Scenic Railway is deep in the rainforest and really is just as good when the sun is shining through the ferns as it is when it is raining. No better or safer place to splash around in the puddles!
  4. The Prince Henry Cliff Top Walk – Leura to Katoomba: To do this walk it its entirety would take upwards of 3 hours, however you can pick up the track at any of the 20 lookouts between Leura and Katoomba which means that you can make this walk up as you go and enjoy the views over the escarpment.
  5. Red Hands Cave – Glenbrook: Children will love discovering one of the oldest examples of Aboriginal rock painting in the Blue Mountains. A short walk from the carpark.

Bushwalking with kids in the Blue Mountains - The cliff Top Track

The Cliff Top Track, Leura

There are also some walks that we haven’t tried ourselves yet so cannot add to the list, however, we have heard good things about so we will give them a notable mention. Firstly, the Jellybean Pool in Glenbrook (a lovely jellybean shaped natural pool, great for a swim on a hot day). There is a steep staircase as part of the walk so little walkers would probably need to be fairly competent or carried. Also Minni-Ha-Ha Falls in North Katoomba (a 45-minute walk with some steep steps down to a natural pool at the bottom of Minni-Ha-Ha Falls). We have completed some of this but weren’t prepared for the steep walk down or up – a carrier would have been handy for our toddler – however, we saw many families enjoying the walk and the swim at the bottom as a reward!. We've also been told that the Pool of Siloam in Leura is suitable for kids. A moderate 30 minute walk from Gordon Falls reserve (great place for a picnic) down to the waterfall and pool for a swim. Lovely!

Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains - Pool of Siloam, Leura

Pool of Siloam, Leura

Like this? For more things to do in the Blue Mountains check out our article on Kid Friendly Holidays in the Blue Mountains