By Ellen Hill
Make a nostalgic entrance to the Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) signature event, the Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz on the Blue Mountains Flyer heritage diesel train on Saturday, February 2.
BMLOT chairman Randall Walker said the festival (February 2-24) paid homage to the decade when the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region cut loose in an endless round of hedonism –sumptuous architecture, costume balls and high teas, saucy clothing, outrageous (for the time) dancing and jazz music.
“What a marvellous way to explore one of Australia’s first tourist destinations by experiencing history relived and infused with the energy and enthusiasm of one of the most recognised locations in the world.’’
Relax in comfort in one of the beautifully restored 1920s-era compartment carriages; tap your feet to the rhythm of the rails and enjoy musical entertainment as the Blue Mountains Flyer speeds through the Sydney suburbs and into the foothills of the Blue Mountains.Upgrade to Aurora Class for travel in spacious and stylish, air-conditioned lounge and bar carriages from the famous 1960s-era luxury interstate express Southern Aurora featuring open lounge seating, panoramic windows, a cash bar and snack packs served to your seat.
Travel in Premier Dining Class for a taste of civilised, air-conditioned rail travel. Enjoy a hearty brunch on the forward journey and an exquisite high tea on the return. A complete at-your-table waiter service ensures you need do nothing more than relax in comfort and enjoy the magnificent view by your window.
Or experience the romance of rail in Lounge Class featuring spacious open lounge seating, a private observation deck and waiter service of quality refreshments and platters throughout the journey.
Departing Central station and stopping at Strathfield, Westmead and Penrith, the train will arrive at Leura at 11am then proceed to Katoomba. It will depart Katoomba at 3pm and Leura at 3.15pm and return to Central.
Whatever carriage you choose to travel in, enjoy an ever-changing view by your window as the train meanders through the mountains.
Alight at Leura and be immersed in the 1920s in time for the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge world record attempt at the greatest number of costumed people dancing the Charleston.
Roaring 20s Festival director Sandy Luxford said: “The Blue Mountains Flyer train will give festival goers a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the spirit of the festival in a fun setting.
“Leura Mall will be closed to traffic on the day and will be alive with vintage cars, markets and musical entertainment, all featuring the glitz and glamour of the 1920s.’’
At least 251 people are needed for the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge, although participants don’t need to be expert dancers, just dressed in 1920s costume (a black dress and a boa or a suit and homburg hat will do) and able to dance for five minutes.
Alternatively, remain on the train to Katoomba and board the hop-on/hop-off Blue Mountains Trolley Tours for a convenient way to see all the highlights to the strains of 1920s-era music.
Enjoy a high tea at the Fairmont Resort or snaffle a traditional tea at Bygone Beautys at Leura (or compare the two) before taking time out at the Avalon’s speakeasy lounge at Katoomba.
Another treat during the first weekend of the festival will be a Betty Boop film marathon at Hotel Blue, Katoomba, on the Saturday, with 1920s films to be screened free from 8am to 6pm Sunday to Thursday and 8am to 9pm Friday and Saturday in the hotel’s Café 88. Details: www.cafecinema.com.au.
For total 1920s immersion, stay a night or three and take in other activities including Cinema Under the Stars on the Sunday. The `20s films will be shown on a giant outdoor screen under the night sky. Tickets: $15 plus booking fee, not suitable for children. Pre-purchase essential: (02) 4784 4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wrap up your weekend by dressing in period golfing attire and playing a round of golf at Leura Golf Club’s Leura Hickory Golf Cup. Soak up views over the Greater Blue Mountains National Park to the grooves of Jazz on the Green. Meet legendary golfer Tom Moore over drinks and canapés in the club house. Cost: $99 per couple plus booking fee. Bookings essential. Details: (02) 4782 5011 or www.leuragolfclub.com.au.
Other highlights of the festival later in February will be the Grand Art Deco Ball at The Carrington Hotel, the Highlands Steam & Vintage Fair at Oberon, a `20s Afternoon with Phryne Fisher highlighting `20s fashion with Festival Ambassador and owner of the exquisite Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture Charlotte Smith, and `20s Tango at the Paragon.
Blue Mountains Flyer train tickets: $105 adults, $100 seniors, $75 youth, $50 children, infants free (return travel from Central, Strathfield or Westmead); and $85 adults, $80 seniors, $65 youth (17-24 years), $40 children (3-16 years), infants free – standard class from Penrith. Special discounts for NSWRTM members.
Go to www.roaring20s.com.au for a full program of Roaring 20’s Festival and all that Jazz! events, to book a seat on the Blue Mountains Flyer train and register for the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge.