12 December 2023

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, there are 50 indicators to measure “what matters”. The indicators are then organised into five wellbeing themes, which combine to create an overall “life satisfaction” rating.

One of the themes is “cohesive”, explained as: A society which supports connections with family, friends and the community, values diversity, and promotes belonging and culture.

As we head into the festive and holiday season, there’s no better time to tick off some of those important indicators such as sense of belonging, social connections and time for recreation and social interaction.

We’ve compiled a list – just touching the surface – of activities to do and places to visit over the next month or two. Pack up the kids, grab a few mates … and discover some of the things Western Sydney has to offer.

We guarantee your “life satisfaction” meter will hit the roof.

It’s hot! Of course it is, it’s summer. But there’s plenty of options to cool down, right across the region. If you’ve got younger ones who want to splash, head for a water park. There’s also plenty of local swimming centres and pools to chill in the heat. Keep an eye open for when the new Penrith Beach opens to the public.

The great outdoors. We’re blessed in Sydney to live in suburbia but have so many green spaces and bushland to explore and enjoy. If your budget is a bit on the tight side, you can pack a picnic basket, some games and discover what’s in your suburban backyard. For free! One of our recommendations is the Australian Botanic Garden, at Mount Annan. You can enjoy 416ha of bushland, lawns, lakes and gardens and discover 4,000 native and introduced plants and trees. There’s also plenty of holiday activities, including talks, walks and workshops.

If you want a bit of adventure, we’ve got some things for you to try. There’s obstacle courses, white water rafting, the biggest playground slide in Western Sydney and what’s been described as the biggest indoor inflatable playground in Australia. For the adrenaline junkies, there the Skypeak adventure course in St Marys and the indoor skydiving centre in Penrith. There are challenges for all sizes and levels of risk-takers We dare you!

Visiting a museum, art gallery or historic property should always be a family consideration. It’s important to introduce children to culture, learning and history – and it’s an ideal way to initiate discussion, thinking and appreciation. There’s an awesome selection of places to visit in the region.

There’s nothing which creates as much joy as interacting with animals. A visit to see animals is food for the soul. And, of course, we’re fortunate to have so many opportunities within driving distance.

When you’ve exhausted this list or ticked off a few more places to visit and things to do, we have a couple more suggestions. Breathe deeply … and take in the vastness of our ancient land. National and state parks and conservation areas are on our doorstep, with an array of amazing attractions to stimulate our senses.

This list is by no means exhaustive. The Georges and Nepean rivers meander through our region, our local playgrounds are endless as are our sporting facilities and public places to gather, chat or enjoy a barbecue. There are heritage sites and houses to visit, public artworks to admire and shopping centres to get our retail fix. We can take in a movie, enjoy a concert or just kick back and admire the views.

These holidays, your level of adventure – or relaxation – will only be limited by your imagination.

CAPTION: Mount Jellore Lookout at Mount Gibraltar Reserve, Bowral.