As we all know, the Blue Mountains were hit by some devastating bush fires at the end of last year. Not only did residents lose their homes and possessions but some also lost their livelihoods and without a livelihood how can they rebuild their lives? Even though the fires are distinguished, some residents' livelihoods are still being affected through the significant decline in tourists visiting the area. We all know what sort of tourist mecca the Blue Mountains is and it saddens me to think that visitors numbers have decreased so significantly, because I think there is nothing lovelier than spending a weekend in the Mountains.
So to do our little bit to help, we decided to spend last weekend up there. We booked a night's accommodation and we were on a mission to find the best child friendly cafes in the Blue Mountains. Our favourite find was the Gingerbread House in Katoomba. Located in a beautiful old church building, the Gingerbread House is both a shop and a cafe. It is owned by Josophan's Chocolates in nearby Leura, so you will find loads of their sinful chocolates available for sale.
There is an almost magical fairytale quality about the Gingerbread House. Just like Hansel and Gretel we were lured inside the Gingerbread House, luckily we didn't encounter any old witches, just lovely young staff and a couple of very handsome tin soldiers. There are still signs of the building's religious history - stunning stained glass windows dominate the interior, shedding a beautiful kaleidoscope of coloured light over the whole inside (sadly my photo doesn't do it justice).
Once inside, we were all like children in a lolly shop. The little bulls were oohing and ahhing over all of the candy, Mr Munch fell in love with the cake counter and me, well I just loved it all! The lolly shop is in the centre of the building, surrounding that are some long communal tables and chairs complete with fresh flowers, as well as some comfy spots for couples to sit at. It's basically a Christmas fairy land (they still have a Christmas tree up!) candy canes and Christmas decorations are everywhere. A mural is painted on the walls of the Hansel and Gretel fairytale and this theme continues to the loos where the lads loo is call Hansel and the ladettes is called Gretel.
Your children will be transfixed by the lolly shop and they will want to touch everything. Lollypops in every shade of the rainbow, old fashioned sweets, little bags of chocolate and gingerbread house kits adorn the shelves. In order to drag your kiddliwinks away from the lolly shop, advise them that there is a Gingerbread cubby house outside waiting for them. The fully enclosed exterior is a brilliant spot for families, lots of tables and chairs, plenty of space for little ones to run around and of course the cubby house complete with slide.
Once you have found your possie check out the menu and then go back inside to place your order. Service is very friendly and very quick, just as it should be when eating out with children. The Gingerbread House is the perfect spot for morning or afternoon tea. They do serve soup and sandwiches for lunch, but seriously their cakes, muffins, scones and cookies are out of this world and their coffee is damn fine so that is what you need to be ordering! We munched on ginger bread cookies in the shape of cars and hearts, peanut butter fudge cookies and the most decadent chocolate brownie I think that has ever passed Mr Right's lips. The cookies and brownie all cost less than $5.00 however if you're after a slice of cake such as Milk Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting served with Ice Cream then you will be paying about $11.00 for the addition to your waistline.
Our coffee was, as I mentioned before very fine indeed. The little bulls had organic apple juice poppers - we didn't let them know about the amazing sounding creaming soda spiders, malted milkshakes and ginger-beer floats that the Gingerbread House are also famous for. There is also an ice cream bar if your little ones would prefer something chilled.
Other child friendly factors include a decent number of high chairs, loads of space for prams and loads of parking next to the enclosed outdoor area. The only negative was an absence of a baby change table in the loo. Now be warned if you can get your children out of the Gingerbread House without purchasing a sweet treat then you are a better parent than I. My baby bull ended up with a gorgeous lolly pop which he proceeded to plaster all over himself and over everything in our car.
So dear parents may I suggest that you take a little explore up to the Mountains very soon. It is such an easy day trip, or make a real weekend of it and stay somewhere overnight (we stayed at the very family friendly Fairmont Resort). The residents of the Blue Mountains will thank you for it as will your kiddliwinks and I think even your inner kid will be very grateful as well, after you have visited the Gingerbread House in Katoomba x
Cnr Lurline & Waratah Sts
Katoomba NSW 2780
02 4784 2031