When it comes to family holidays, plans can immediately turn to the warmth of the sunny Gold Coast or perhaps overseas to Fiji.
But with the beautiful Blue Mountains right on our doorstep, there’s so much to explore a little closer to home – and you’ll have just as much fun, if not more.
We recently undertook a family trip to Leura – staying at the beautiful Fairmont Resort, which opened back in 1988 and remains an ideal location if you’re looking for plenty of entertainment and activities under the one roof, and quick access to the Mountains.
The resort is on the cusp of some major renovations, but its accommodation remains comfortable and spacious and its activities for kids certainly not lacking.
We stayed in a Junior Suite – which boasted an enormous balcony overlooking the tennis courts and wider grounds – but all of the accommodation options are generous in size; it all comes down to the size of your travelling party as to what suits best.
Being summer, it was reasonably warm on our visit so a journey down to the outdoor pool was first on our list – but there’s an indoor pool too, if you’re looking for something a little warmer. You’ll also find a sauna nearby too.
Your biggest challenge may be negotiating with your kids in terms of what to do first – because there’s plenty on site. Once you’ve cleared the pools, there’s a fully equipped games area that features soft play for toddlers and little ones, and video games and a mirror maze for the older kids (and for the humble newspaper journo, I might add).
If you prefer the outdoors, there’s a tennis court, basketball court, outdoor gym and giant chess sets – and during school holidays, additional activity programs to keep the kids entertained. Make sure you check the timetable for the electric train too, while pony rides are also available on site.
You can add a little more adventure to your stay by visiting the Blue Mountains Ice Rink, and if golf is your thing, the Fairmont sits adjacent to Leura Golf Club.
There’s a number of restaurants at the Fairmont, but we opted to dine at Embers Grill – enjoying the charcoal grilled lamb skewer and the Angus Reserve Scotch Fillet to share; a delicious steak that had us craving a repeat visit.
If you don’t have kids in tow, or you manage to escape for a few hours, No.1 Sublime Point is an excellent option for a romantic dinner, while Two Doctors Whiskey Tavern is a must-visit for a drink.
And if all of this sounds pretty exhausting, the Ubika Day Spa sits within the grounds of the resort – perfect for a massage or high performance facial.
The location of the Fairmont couldn’t be better as a base – we drove into Leura to experience its unique and quaint main street, visiting its popular candy store and one of its more quirky cafés in The Waygoose Diner.
A five-minute drive will have you at The Three Sisters, a must-add to any trip to the Fairmont, while there’s countless walking tracks and waterfalls nearby.
The biggest challenge of a is without doubt fitting everything in. There’s so much to do, so many dining options and so many experiences on offer, that you’ll almost certainly need a day or two more than you think.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.