I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published October 9th 2015
Heaven Isn't So Far Away
A verdant agrarian paradise surrounded by rugged mountains, Kangaroo Valley is sometimes described as Australia's most beautiful valley. While that's a pretty big reputation to live up to, it's not hard to see why this lovely rural vale has captured the hearts of so many and is a favourite getaway for stressed-out city-slickers from Sydney and further afield.
What we now know as Kangaroo Valley is the ancestral homeland of the Wodi-Wodi people who have lived in the region for around 20, 000 years. In 1812 the area was first surveyed by British colonists, and settlers arrived a few years later, felling the native forests and establishing farms. However, although farming still continues in Kangaroo Valley, these days the major source of income is derived from tourism, and a wide range of attractions, eateries and accommodation exist, supporting visitors to the area.
Just two hours' drive south of Sydney, Kangaroo Valley is the perfect spot to head to for all kinds of visitors. Nature-lovers are inevitably drawn to the pristine natural environment, while thrill-seekers will find plenty of challenges on the hiking trails, rock-faces and rivers of the nearby national parks. Lovers will be attracted to the cosy guesthouses and dramatic sunsets, foodies will fall in love with the cafes and gourmet delis, and art-lovers will relish the chance to peruse the beautiful locally-produced handicrafts. Finally, families will find much to occupy young children, with camping and bushwalking being popular activities.
To learn more about the best things to see and do in beautiful Kangaroo Valley, please read the following paragraphs.
Outdoor adventure Whether you're a seasoned walker or just a weekend rambler, Kangaroo Valley has plenty of great options. The nearby Morton National Park features some great family walks, including a popular one with views of the spectacular Fitzroy Falls, which tumble over eighty metres down a sheer cliff face to the valley below. For more information about the Falls and the Morton National Park, visit this website.
Other walks within Kangaroo Valley itself include the path to Tom's Pool (a three hour walk from the Pioneer Museum near Hampton Bridge), the Red Rocks Walk from the Kangaroo Valley Nature Reserve, or a leisurely stroll around the village. To learn more about longer and more challenging walks in the Morton National Park, take a look at the Bushwalking New South Wales website.
For those seeking other types of adventure at Kangaroo Valley, horse-riding, canoeing and cycling are also popular activities. The Man from Kangaroo Valley is a local farm-stay that also offers fabulous trail rides through some of the valley's most beautiful countryside, while several companies offer bike and canoe hire, with a couple even offering overnight guided canoe safaris. Take a look at this website to learn more about these tour operators.
History There is much for history-lovers to see and do in Kangaroo Valley. Driving through the valley or wandering around the village you'll see many beautiful old buildings, dating from the late 1800s – some which now serve as bed and breakfast accommodation, cafes and shops.
Located next to heritage-listed Hampton Bridge, Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Museum Park is undoubtedly the best spot to visit for those wanting to learn more about the area's history. This family-friendly complex comprises of an assortment of buildings constructed to resemble those typical of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These include a settler's cottage, school, blacksmith's forge and dairy - all furnished in the way they would have been a century or more ago.
Also part of the complex, the Chittick Museum is full of fascinating relics from days long ago, giving visitors, young and old, an insight into the lives of the area's early settlers. There is much of interest for children at the museum, including the Barrel of Fun, interactive displays, a wishing well and various items that can be picked up and examined closely.
Other visitors' facilities include a gift shop and picnic area, as well as scenic walks to nearby beauty spots, making the Museum a great destination for the entire day. While you're visiting, be sure to take a look at the nearby Hampton Bridge, a beautiful old wooden suspension bridge with four distinctive crenellated stone turrets.
If shopping is your passion, Kangaroo Valley offers several delightful shopping destinations. Many of the heritage buildings that line the main street of the village have been beautifully restored over the years and now house small businesses such as boutiques, antique shops, studios, galleries, gourmet delis and cafes. As with many of Australia's prettiest country towns, a wide range of artisans have settled locally and their creations, ranging from paintings, ceramics and pottery to bush furniture and fabric art can be found in many of these establishments.
There are several festivals, markets and other special events held in Kangaroo Valley throughout the year. If you're passionate about country markets, be sure to visit on the second Saturday of each month when the Kangaroo Valley Markets are held. Held at the Kangaroo Valley Showground from 8.30am until 2.30pm, this classic country fair is a great spot to stock up on fresh local produce, art, craft, antiques, fashion and much, much more.
If you're a family with young children, Kangaroo Valley is a great place to visit for an outdoor adventure during the school holidays, or a camping weekend. For parents wanting to introduce very young children to the fun of camping in the country, there are several good options. Glenmack Park on the outskirts of Kangaroo Valley village has a beautiful area designated specifically for camping, surrounded by green rolling paddocks and the spectacular mountain scenery that the area is so famous for. An added drawcard is the fact that campfires are permitted, if you provide your own brazier or fire bin. There is also a playground and tame animals that the kids will enjoy petting.
Another good camping spot, just a short walk from the beautiful Kangaroo River, is the Kangaroo Valley website. If camping is a little too austere for your tastes, the park also has very comfortable self-contained cabins that are also perfect for an adventurous family holiday.
Other accommodation options at Kangaroo Valley include farm stays, bed and breakfasts, traditional hotel rooms, luxury cottages and romantic retreats. Take a look at the Kangaroo Valley website to find out more.