13 Things To Do With The Kids In The Highlands For Under $50
School holidays in January is awesome fun but also a little challenging for the hip pocket thanks to it being hot on the heels of Christmas and smack bang in the middle of preparing for back to school.
So if you’re paying off the credit card or about to dig deep into the pockets for new school shoes, shiny new lunchboxes and stationery, dropping a few hundred bucks on a big day out with the kids is not so do-able, right? We hear ya! We’re in the same (leaky) boat.
So we’ve put together a list of fun things to do with kids locally for under $50.
1 // ZEN OASIS
This place is so much fun for kids. Gorgeous parklands (although they’re a little dry at the moment thanks to the drought) and fun, interactive sculptures that the kids are welcome to climb and touch. There is plenty of open space for a game of footy, cricket or for running around. Pack the scooters and scoot around the lake on the flat path. Bring a picnic or make a booking in the vegetarian restaurant for lunch. Depending on the age of your family, you could have lunch for less than $50. Kids under 4 are free, Kids aged 4 – 11 are $18 and adults are $35 for an all you can eat buffet. Zen Oasis is at 230 Medway Road, Berrima and open on Saturdays and Sundays and you can book online here.
2 // MOVIE MAGIC
Who doesn’t love heading to the movies in the holidays? Empire Cinemas in Bowral are well-priced compared to the bigass multiplex cinemas in the burbs. If you take your own snacks, you can keep a visit to the cinema to under $50 (depending on how many of you are going of course!). Adults are $15, kids are $13, and Empire Cinemas offer up a family rate for two adults and two kids of $48. Also, keep an eye out for special deals. When a movie is near the end of it’s run, the guys at Empire discount tickets to $10! Check their website for up to date dealio’s.
3 // LOCAL LIBRARY FUN
Mittagong and Bowral Libraries have got some fab school holiday activities – all for FREE! Biscuit decorating, boardgames, Lego sessions, storytime, pencilcase decorating – stacks to keep the kids busy. Event details here. And of course, who doesn’t love borrowing gorgeous books and then devouring them? Don’t forget Moss Vale Library is closed for reno’s so Bowral and Mitta are the libraries to go to.
4 // DIVE IN
Our local pools are the perfect way to burn off school holiday energy and are reasonably priced. Check out all our local pool opening times and ticket prices here. Take your own lunch or snacks to keep the price down but maybe treat the kids to an ice cream or hot chips (what IS it about pool hot chips that have been the best since the dawn of time??).
5 // ON YER BIKE!
We love the Bong Bong Bike Track between Moss Vale and Burradoo. It’s so great for kids (and safe!). Head to the supermarket and ask the kids to pick out some treats, put together a packed lunch and cold drinks and head off for a ride!
6 // STRINGS ATTACHED
Did you know Sutton Forest has its very own weekly puppet show? The talented ImaginArta team has 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 and adults are $15.00.
7 // TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWIN’
Catch the train or the bus to another town – it’s always such a different perspective from the window of a train! – and have a coffee and cake date at a fave café. Then home for an afternoon of movies. Fun!
8 // GREEN THUMBS
Time to get dirty and create a kitchen garden for inside or an herb / veggie garden outside. Get researching about what grows well where (and in the crazy climes of the Highlands), then head to the nursery with $50 to buy plants, soil, pots or whatever you need to create a fab mini garden. Here's a list of local nurseries and garden centres.
9 // HAVE A WHEELIE GOOD TIME
If the kids love to jump on a skateboard or getting tricky with their scooters, head to a local skate park. Head to Bowral Skate Park on Ascot Road, Moss Vale Skate Park on Donkin Avenue or Yerrinbool Oval (the new Bundanoon Skate Park will be open later this year) where the kids can tick-tack or kick-flip for hours. Follow it up with an ice cream – here’s a list of places to get some yummo ice cream or gelato locally.
10 // GET CREATIVE
Keep kids busy with their hands and get them to work the right side of their brains (the creativity side!) at Plaster Pitt in Bowral. Plaster painting is simple and fun and starts at just $10. Check in with the team before you go as they have school holiday workshops too.
11 // PLAY TIME
Kids love a fab indoor play centre! Neenys Playhouse in Mittagong is open six days a week (closed Mondays) and is the perfect way to burn up some school holiday energy for kids 11 and under. And you can have a sneaky coffee while the kids slide, jump, run and bounce!
12 // STEP BACK IN TIME
Got a mini history buff in the family? Harper’s Mansion at Berrima is an interesting look into what life in the Highlands was like back in the 1830’s. And there is an awesome garden maze – THAT will keep the kids busy! Finish off your visit to Berrima by popping into Mrs Oldbucks Pantry or the Lolly Swagman for some traditional sweets. Harper’s Mansion is open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. They have an awesome family deal – just $25 for two adults plus children. And if you’re just going to wander around the garden and maze, kids under 16 are free. Very cool! Just a note for you though. They are closed for the New Year break but will reopen Saturday 18 January. And it's good to check in with them before you go to make sure they're open.
13 // PARK IT
So many fab parks and playgrounds for kids to get outdoors and for you to kick back in some green space while they swing, climb and jump. We love the playground at what is called the Berrima Market Place, right in the centre of town. And the kids love it too – we reckon it’s the flying fox that makes it so popular! Lake Alexandra is also awesome to scoot around! Here’s a list of local parks to head to for a picnic and a play.
So, there you go! Plenty to do and lots of ways to keep the kids busy without breaking the bank! Oh, and here’s some more low-cost Staycation ideas we put together – perfect for keeping the kids busy and you sane!