18 March 2015
Olympic canoeist Jess Fox shares her secrets on fun and adventure in Sydney’s West.
Rafting adventure: Try whitewater rafting with your friends or as a team-building exercise at Penrith Whitewater Stadium. It’s lots of fun and a good challenge. You could also kayak on the flatwater or just pop down for a coffee by the rapids with a beautiful backdrop of the Blue Mountains.
Flipping fun: I’m still a kid at heart and love a good trampoline. Flipout is a whole centre full of them. Try a class, go with friends, play dodgeball or go in the dark – great for kids and adults.
For explorers: The Knapsack Gully Bridge Walk takes you into the bush and provides some history of the area at the same time. You can walk up to the old Zig Zag Railway in Lapstone and see where the tracks once stood. The famous Knapsack Bridge has views of the bush and Penrith. It’s a bit tough, with hundreds of stairs, but the view at Elizabeth Lookout is a good one.
Quite a splash: At Hazelbrook Waterfalls, a 30-minute drive from Penrith, you’ll find some gorgeous scenery. A bush track from Winbourne Road leads you to three beautiful waterfalls – Burgess, Oakland and Horseshoe Falls. It takes a couple of hours, especially if you take as many pictures as I do!
Get on the water: Rent a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or kayak from Horizon Line and set off up the Nepean River. You’ll end up in a beautiful part of the gorge with boulders and cliffs and the bush on either side. It’s one of my favourite places to get away from the noise of the city.
Nepean River walk: It’s a 7km loop around two bridges, with undulating terrain on the river track or flat concrete paths at the road. Walk or run, and take in the views and peaceful atmosphere of the river track.
Stop for a bite: My favourite brunch spot is Jazz Apple Kitchen in Glenbrook. They serve delicious breakfast until 3pm with many vegetarian options too, not to mention good coffee. I’m a fan of the haloumi, avo, roquette, chorizo and pesto Turkish toastie.
Sweet sensation: Waffle Co on Henry Street is one of Penrith’s best-kept secrets. It’s an awesome little café with a cool vibe and a boutique feel, but best of all delicious waffles and good coffee.
Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest: Located beside the Nepean River, the Penrith Regional Gallery is a special place with a lot to offer. Check out the art exhibitions and interactive activities for the kids. Visit the gardens and enjoy a break at the café. Monthly markets are held on the site, as well as Sip & Sounds every Friday. It is the perfect end to the week – chill out at Café at Lewers from 4pm until sunset. Enjoy tunes from talented local buskers, the beautiful gardens, weather and delicious food and drinks.
Red Spoon Thai: A hidden gem in South Penrith located at the Southlands Shopping Centre. I love Thai food and their chicken chilli basil hokkien noodle is my pick! Big portions, good prices!