This weekend, load up the kids and the car and head to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales for the annual Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba. On June 22 the famous town, found in the heart of the mountains, will welcome around 40,000 visitors from across the world to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This year marks the bicentenary of the crossing of the Blue Mountains and the 20th anniversary of the festival itself so organisers have promised a special day out.
(Image courtesy of Winter Magic Festival)
Travel back in time and enjoy the party
Visitors can expect a warm welcome despite there being a chill in the air, with musicians and magicians, jugglers and gymnasts, clowns and dancers all roaming the streets and showing exactly why the town is considered the region's arts centre. The free festival is the highlight of the Katoomba social calendar, and the grand parade which kicks off at 11.30am sees most of the town come out and celebrate the season. This year's theme is 'historia' so expect people to be wearing some interesting outfits from the past – and feel free to join them if you love dressing up.
Experience the local art scene and food culture
Culture buffs shouldn't miss ArtStreet, an exhibition of art from members of the local community. Many creative mediums will be showcased, from traditional craft to psychedelic to multi-media in every conceivable space, from shop windows to art hanging off lampposts, so make sure you look up, down and all around.
The Blue Mountains is a well-known foodie destination, soarrive hungry and sample some delicious food and drink at the many market stalls which line the streets. There will be everything from sweet treats such as local homemade fudge to hearty gourmet pies and organic coffee – you won't go home hungry.
Drive there this weekend!
Katoomba is just 90 minutes' drive from Sydney and the journey is very scenic once you near the Mountains. The main street of Katoomba will host the day's events, so organisers suggest parking in one of the nearby towns such as Lithgow, Blackheath or Medlow Bath and then catching the heritage steam train to the festival.