Another week or so of school holidays remain!

Has boredom grabbed your household? Heat and humidity mean caution in the great outdoors, so what's a parent to do? We've suggestions: there are some terrific activities in the Hawkesbury and the Hills. Hang your 'what to do' hat on Rouse Hill House & Farm (Rouse Hill) or Museum Discovery Centre (Castle Hill) or Blue Mountains Botanical Garden (Mount Tomah on Bells Line of Road)




Let's begin with the renovated smashing Museums Discovery Centre.  

Address: 172 Showground Road, Castle Hill 

Phone: 02 9217 0111 

Hours: Open Mon–Fri 10am–5pm



The showpiece of The Hills is newly renovated Museums Discovery Centre. This is a collaboration between three great Sydney museums — the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney Living Museums, and the Australian Museum. The Castle Hill Discovery Centre displays treasures, thousands of them. But, the big secret is that millions of items are housed at the Discovery Centre and you can see more when you enroll in a 'Deep Collection tour' with a volunteer guide. Volunteers here are no less than brilliant.

For now, what's new at Discovery Centre. The entrance is an architectural delight leading to interior and colourful steps that suggest Dorothy's 'yellow brick road' and the amazing adventures she will encounter in Oz. Here in the Discovery Centre, amazing objects and specimens — in museum-talk, 'artefacts' — wait for all who enter. Great for kids, great for grandparents who can recall many of the items on display! 

The collection has been curated using a specialty-store concept. Store #3 is home to big, big machines: trains, trains, fire engines, planes — all types of transport. Most are Really Big! 

Store #4 is home to creatures, great and small: insects, beautiful butterflies and birds -- and the many scientific instruments that revealed knowledge about the world around us. 



Each store is special — everyone will have a favourite. 

There is so much information we can't include everything here, so take a trip to the Discovery Centre's website.


Rouse Hill House & Farm -- LEGO BUILD YOUR OWN!

Address: 356 Annangrove Road, Rouse Hill 
Phone: 02 9627 6777 
Hours: Open Wed–Fri 10am–4pm, Open daily during NSW school holidays Tours: 11am–2pm




In 2017, a LEGO® 'explore and build' exhibition opened in the visitors' centre and a detailed model of the house and the surrounding buildings along with the farmyard animals was set up. Children, parents, grandparents, teachers and LEGO® enthusiasts have participated, creating with more than 200,000 tiny bricks their own houses and out-buildings. 
The exhibition will continue through May 2018. This is a Sydney Living Museum favourite house in Western Sydney.


Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Our Final Suggestion: If your brood still need the great outdoors to work off the pale of boredom, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden has a shaded and covered picnic area -- bring your own -- and lots of paths for running (carefully, of course) and examining skinks and other creepy crawlies resting among the rocks.The little creatures prefer to sleep when it is really hot but you are likely to see them scurring around when they are hunting for food. Respect them, be kind, do not chase or touch!  This is their home and you are in their environment!


Address: Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah 
Phone: 02 4567 3000 
Hours: Open Mon–Fri 9am–5.30pm Sat–Sun 9.30am–5.30pm 

We think kids are wise enough to grasp the early days of environmentalists discovery of our wild and wonderful places.


  Young Bontanists


Downstairs in the Visitors' Centre is the Botanists Way Discovery Centre.  It fascinates us most. Through film and the narratives of those early botanists, we were introduced to places and spaces we could never reach. Kids will be excited and perhaps thrilled to see what opportunities in the mountains lie ahead for them when older and skilled. Introduce them to our great outdoors!


      Botanist Way




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    This week brought about the tragedy on the Hawkesbury River when a seaplane carrying tourists from UK nosedived into the river killing the pilot and a family of five.


We are always stunned when an event of this magnitude occurs and we are amazed by the valour of those nearby. Today, we write about those on the river at the time of the crash and their efforts to save the passengers and pilot.


Though we do not live in the Hawkesbury District, it is our experience and our observations of residents who live there and those who come to holiday and play on the river that  – they are a kind lot.




Their help in emergencies is always present and they visibly mourn when life is lost, or someone is hurt. A skiing or fishing accident on the river and they are immediately there to aid and assist. The media has carried the details along with photos of the brave men attempting to help when the plane crashed this week. Their thoughts were immediately with the families of those on board the plane – they wish to give comfort.  



Often those living close to The City don’t hide their contempt of ‘Westies’ – residents who live in western part of Sydney suburbs -- The Hawkesbury. We know Westies to be a little uneven around the edges, plain spoken and perhaps blunt in some situations. But should misfortune strike, we hope to be in their care. 


 The press captured the story and we understand the feelings felt in the Hawkesbury -- the empathy and sympathy felt by those watching the scene.

Tragedy on Hawkesbury River

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