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Beauty in the Blue

Looking to recharge with a weekend away, Sigourney Cantelo and family hit the Blue Mountains to test drive the new Bugaboo Bee5.

Thereís no denying that going away with kids requires prodigious amounts of planning. As hard as we try, though, there are some things we canít prepare for, like the traffic out of Sydney on a Friday night.

With the kids, five-year-old Max and one-year-old Luella, starting to get fidgety after the longer-than-planned drive, I call ahead to Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, MGallery by Sofitel, when we are 20 minutes away and ask if we can order room service ahead of our arrival. They kindly oblige and within half-anhour we are warmly ensconced in our room, burgers in hand and Disney on the TV.

Getting the baby to sleep proves less straightforward as sheís taken sharing a room with us as a sign to party. We remember the Bugaboo Bee5, folded neatly in the cupboard. My hero husband takes to the hallways, and within minutes she is out cold, the Bugaboo Bee5 making a cosy bed.

Weíve had a Bugaboo Cameleon since Lulu was born, and, while I adore it (the suspension and steering is second to none), we needed something more compact and travel-ready, and this stroller is just the answer. Unlike bigger prams, which can take a few steps to dismount, the Bee5 folds down with a simple button-squeeze-and-fold motion. And it leaves ample space in our boot. Ideal when youíre packing half the house for a weekend away.

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Busy Bee

Like most parents with young kids we are up early, ready to explore. We head to Leuraís Everglades, a beautiful historic Art Deco house with sprawling gardens. The Bee5 negotiates the stony pathways with relative ease. Although the wheels and frame are smaller than cross-country prams, the suspension is much better than umbrella strollers. While itís designed with zippy urban locales in mind, we found it handled the off-road action well.

For lunch we head to Thunderbird, a chilled-out Mexican-inspired cafť in Katoomba. Along with delicious Tex-Mex, it features a toy-laden teepee to occupy the kids so we can enjoy our quesadilla in near-peace.

After a stroll at the Three Sisters lookout, we head back to the Fairmont Resort for the scheduled kiddy-train expedition. The super-cute motorised locomotive takes children (with parents trailing behind on foot) on a scenic tour of the resort as part of the action-packed school holidays activity programme. Thereís also a merry-go-round and ride-on cars. Max is actually losing his mind at all this entertainment. And thatís before we discover the arcade room and ball pit. With a kidsí zone for five years and older and a separate toddler room with a smaller climbing gym, the Fairmont is heaven for kids.

We enjoy an early dinner at Leura Garage and, once again, Lulu has passed out in the Bee5. This thing is magic. Sheís never slept so consistently in a stroller. Maybe itís the stretchy dark hood that dips right down over her head and creates a little tent, or perhaps itís the fact that it reclines to near flat with the lift of a lever. We actually get through most of the meal before she wakes up. The 12-hour slow-cooked lamb is a serious standout Ė balanced beautifully by a Moroccan baked pumpkin salad and a tasty Cabernet Sauvignon.

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High and mighty

Breakfast is yet more indulgence with fresh fruit, flaky pastries and omelettes made-toorder. Iím particularly impressed with the DIY juice station, laden with veggies and fruit. It even has bunches of kale, so I happily temper my Danish indulgence with a green juice.

As we head out to nearby Sublime Point, I notice a strange feeling. I actually feel energised. Itís pretty rare these days, as I seem to mostly exist in a state of near exhaustion. But the bracing chill and mountain air is so clean and crisp, everything looks sharper and feels charged with energy. We park the car, Damien straps Lulu to his chest, loads Max onto his shoulders and we hit the walking track to take in an epic 270-degree view over the bluetinged valley and sprawling mountain landscape.

Our decadent family escape ends on a high note with a champagne high tea back at the Fairmont Resort. Two towering cake stands arrive piled generously with sandwiches, scones and desserts. As we gaze out over the rugged bush vista, Lulu has her first taste of cheesecake and I sip a chilled glass of Veuve Clicquot Ė the perfect way to prepare for the long journey home.

UPDATE

This article appeared in volume 52 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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