Baby number 2 arrived about two months ago and I have 12 months of maternity leave. So of course, an epic trip has been planned. (More on that later) But I have to admit – embarking on an 8 month long adventure through 8 countries is just a little bit daunting – as an adult couple – let alone an adult couple with two kids under the age of five. So we decided the best way to get acclimatized was to embark on a “mini” practice trip.
So we packed up our bags, hired a rental car, and head off to the Blue Mountains – just a two hour drive from Sydney.
Now I did travel extensively with Jacob when he was a little person, but I guess I forgot just how much room all the STUFF takes up. Now we still manage to pack pretty light, but there are a few bulky items which you just can not avoid – like the pram. I have written about the type of pram that I like to travel with (Mountain Buggy) because it is sturdy AF with huge wheels that can navigate even the most insane of cobbles, and actual tires which you can easily repair with a bike repair kit if necessary. The only downsize is that this pram is not small. So not small in fact that it took all of our tetris skills to even get it in the car. And that was BEFORE packing all the other stuff.
But we managed and we set off. So far so good.
I have to admit, in the weeks leading up to our mini Blue Mountains trip, I was a bit nervous. How on earth was I going to manage two kids for eight months?
We arrived at the Blue Mountains YHA about two hours after setting off, and luckily, little Zach slept through the entire drive (it was also our first drive longer than 10 minutes with him, so that alone was another source of anxiety before the trip). Check in was a breeze. The staff at reception had everything all ready for us, provided us some maps and great information on local attractions before showing us to our room.
The family rooms at the hostel are basic but sufficient. The room is set up with one bunk bed which has a double bed on the bottom and a single bed on top. In addition, there is another free standing single bed. The room comfortably sleeps two adults and two children. The room also featured a desk with tea and coffee making facilities. The room also had a massive private bathroom with plenty of towels.
One thing that you really appreciate when traveling with children is access to a kitchen, which is something that is rare with hotels. I was particularly impressed with the kitchen at the Blue Mountains YHA. This huge kitchen was not only well equipped with pots, pans, and cooking utensils, but it also had several ovens to go along with the cook tops. This is probably the first time I have seen numerous ovens at a hostel, and it was incredibly refreshing to be able to bake things as well as fry or boil.
But moving on. We needed to test whether or not we could actually get any sightseeing done with a baby who likes to nurse 24/7. Our first point of call was to a short walk near Blackheath – the Fairfax track. We had forgotten our baby carrier in Sydney, but this walk is pram and wheelchair accessible so it didn’t matter.
After sourcing a new baby carrier, we were off to do some more indepth exploring the next day. It was my first time using a baby carrier for an extended period of time, and Zach seemed to love it. He fell asleep pretty much as soon as we put him in it. This allowed us to do some other hikes and exploring. Ok, we are now mobile. Another source of anxiety eliminated.
During our three days in the Blue Mountains, we did quite a bit of driving and quite a bit of hiking, and little Zach did incredibly well. Yes, we had to stop often to nurse him, but really that just provided us some down time to relax and reflect instead of rushing around constantly. Importantly, we learned that we can achieve everything we want in a day with our two little ones in tow, and that the modifications we needed to make to our travel style were actually quite positive ones (ie: slowing down).
Our days were filled with activity, our evenings were spent cooking healthy food for ourselves in the fully kitted out kitchen at the Blue Mountains YHA, and downtime at the hostel was spent playing in the children’s toy play corner or on the foozeball table.
It all goes to show that you don’t need to stay in expensive hotels or serviced apartments if you want to travel with kids – all you need to do is fine a family friendly hostel like the Blue Mountains YHA.
To see more family friendly YHA hostels, check our their family travel section.
To read more about family friendly activities in the Blue Mountains, check out my guest post on the YHA website.