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The Greatblue mountains escape

Take a fresh look at Sydney’s favourite playground, the Blue Mountains, to discover a surprisingly rich culture complementing its natural wonders.

Julie Miller | Presented by Destination NSW and the Blue Mountains City Council

Less than a 90-minute drive from Sydney’s CBD, the wild open spaces of the Blue Mountains has long offered an instant battery recharge for city dwellers. But while a day trip taking in the spectacular vistas may hit the spot, linger a little longer in the eucalypt-infused air to discover the region’s lesser-known delights, including a buzzing café scene, a rich cultural heritage and an emphasis on wellness.

 

nature's
best

The mid-Mountains town of Lawson is surrounded by bushland that resounds with the rush of tumbling water, with several family-friendly trails linking waterfalls. As well as the popular Waterfall Circuit that visits four cascades, the fairly steep Dante’s Glen Walking Track to Fairy Falls in North Lawson takes you well off the beaten track into a lush, enchanted world that is particularly impressive after rain.

Waterfall Circuit
Sassafras Gully loop

Another lesser-known trail is the 10-kilometre Sassafras Gully loop that sets off from Springwood Station, meandering through an atmospheric forest, over bubbling creeks and past dramatic cliff overhangs where lyrebirds dart.

For iconic views, the Cliff Top walking track between Govetts Leap and Evans lookout is hard to beat, with vistas spanning Grose Valley. Along this six-kilometre moderate walking track keep your eyes peeled for nectar-loving birds, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Cliff top walking track
Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit walk

And make sure to check out the newly opened illuminated 1.3km Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk, which gives a rare, floodlit glimpse of the bushland after dark including Orphan Rock, Witches Leap, Katoomba Falls and Katoomba Cascades.

nature's
best

The mid-Mountains town of Lawson is surrounded by bushland that resounds with the rush of tumbling water, with several family-friendly trails linking waterfalls.

Sassafras Gully loop

As well as the popular Waterfall Circuit that visits four cascades, the fairly steep Dante’s Glen Walking Track to Fairy Falls in North Lawson takes you well off the beaten track into a lush, enchanted world that is particularly impressive after rain.

Waterfall Circuit

Another lesser-known trail is the 10-kilometre Sassafras Gully loop that sets off from Springwood Station, meandering through an atmospheric forest, over bubbling creeks and past dramatic cliff overhangs where lyrebirds dart.

Cliff top walking track

For iconic views, the Cliff Top walking track between Govetts Leap and Evans lookout is hard to beat, with vistas spanning Grose Valley. Along this six-kilometre moderate walking track keep your eyes peeled for nectar-loving birds, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit walk

And make sure to check out the newly opened illuminated 1.3km Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk, which gives a rare, floodlit glimpse of the bushland after dark including Orphan Rock, Witches Leap, Katoomba Falls and Katoomba Cascades.

culture
club

In 1912, legendary bohemian artist Norman Lindsay moved into a beautiful sandstone cottage in Faulconbridge, peppering the grounds of what is now the National Trust-run Norman Lindsay Gallery with gorgeous statues. Lured by the fresh air and inspiring landscape, other artists soon followed in his wake, establishing the Blue Mountains as a hub for artistic pursuits.

Norman Lindsay Gallery
Lost Bear Gallery

This legacy continues in contemporary galleries such as Lost Bear and Gallery One88 in Katoomba, both of which showcase works by local artists. Meanwhile, the back laneways of Katoomba are being transformed into an outdoor art gallery, with the Street Art Walk featuring the colourful works of lauded street artists such as Adnate, as well as talented local female artists.

Bootlegger Bar
Street Art Walk

Katoomba is also booming after dark, with the addition of cool new bars featuring live music such as Bootlegger Bar, Station Bar and Champagne Charlie’s Cocktail Lounge, in the historic Carrington Hotel reinvigorating the Blue Mountains’ nightlife scene.

culture
club

In 1912, legendary bohemian artist Norman Lindsay moved into a beautiful sandstone cottage in Faulconbridge, peppering the grounds of what is now the National Trust-run Norman Lindsay Gallery with gorgeous statues. Lured by the fresh air and inspiring landscape, other artists soon followed in his wake, establishing the Blue Mountains as a hub for artistic pursuits.

Lost Bear Gallery Norman Lindsay Gallery

This legacy continues in contemporary galleries such as Lost Bear and Gallery One88 in Katoomba, both of which showcase works by local artists.

Street Art Walk

Meanwhile, the back laneways of Katoomba are being transformed into an outdoor art gallery, with the Street Art Walk featuring the colourful works of lauded street artists such as Adnate, as well as talented local female artists.

Bootlegger Bar

Katoomba is also booming after dark, with the addition of cool new bars featuring live music such as Bootlegger Bar, Station Bar and Champagne Charlie’s Cocktail Lounge, in the historic Carrington Hotel reinvigorating the Blue Mountains’ nightlife scene.

wellness
and spas

Kurrara Guesthouse

The gracious Federation-style Kurrara Guesthouse in Katoomba also hosts yoga retreats, with classes held in an airy, purpose-built studio. Established more than a century ago as a wellness retreat, Kurrara continues the long-standing tradition of the Blue Mountains as a place of healing, respite and restoration.

Communing with nature is also an integral part of the booming Blue Mountains wellness scene. Nestled amongst bushland at Wentworth Falls, Happy Buddha Retreats offers midweek and weekend workshops incorporating yoga, meditation and mindfulness, with the environment an integral part of the journey towards inner peace.

Happy Buddha Retreats
Lady with pebbles on back
Ladies relaxing at spa

The use of locally made organic products is a signature of Blue Mountains day spas. Ubika, at the Fairmont Resort in Leura, utilises nature-inspired iKOU products, fusing native Australian plant extracts sourced from the world’s most pristine environment; while the Day Spa at Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant in Katoomba highlights Blue Mountains-made Akorah essential oils, capturing the healing powers of the Australian bush.

Ubika Day Spa

wellness
and spas

Communing with nature is also an integral part of the booming Blue Mountains wellness scene. Nestled amongst bushland at Wentworth Falls, Happy Buddha Retreats offers midweek and weekend workshops incorporating yoga, meditation and mindfulness, with the environment an integral part of the journey towards inner peace.

Kurrara Guesthouse

The gracious Federation-style Kurrara Guesthouse in Katoomba also hosts yoga retreats, with classes held in an airy, purpose-built studio. Established more than a century ago as a wellness retreat, Kurrara continues the long-standing tradition of the Blue Mountains as a place of healing, respite and restoration.

Happy Buddha Retreats

The use of locally made organic products is a signature of Blue Mountains day spas. Ubika, at the Fairmont Resort in Leura, utilises nature-inspired iKOU products, fusing native Australian plant extracts sourced from the world’s most pristine environment; while the Day Spa at Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant in Katoomba highlights Blue Mountains-made Akorah essential oils, capturing the healing powers of the Australian bush.

Ubika Day Spa Ladies relaxing at spa

paddock
to plate

Famed for its High Tea held in the spectacular Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking Megalong Valley, the Hydro Majestic Hotel champions contemporary Australian cuisine at the Boiler House Restaurant, featuring a lunch menu showcasing regional produce.

Leura Garage

Meanwhile, the eco-friendly Leura Garage – located in a former car mechanic’s workshop – has raised the bar in sustainability, its menu featuring local meats, vegetables and wines reflecting its quest for a minimal carbon footprint.

Café scene

Caffeine fiends will also be surprised by the Blue Mountains’ burgeoning café scene, with a host of trendy coffee shops rivalling anything in Sydney. Springwood’s Dbl Ristretto packs a flavourful punch with coffee shots extracted from Locale beans; while Tournament, tucked away on the “other” side of the railway line at Medlow Bath, features a seasonal brunch menu with creative Asian influences.

Dbl Ristretto

paddock
to plate

Famed for its High Tea held in the spectacular Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking Megalong Valley, the Hydro Majestic Hotel champions contemporary Australian cuisine at the Boiler House Restaurant, featuring a lunch menu showcasing regional produce.

Café scene

Meanwhile, the eco-friendly Leura Garage – located in a former car mechanic’s workshop – has raised the bar in sustainability, its menu featuring local meats, vegetables and wines reflecting its quest for a minimal carbon footprint.

Leura Garage Dbl Ristretto

Caffeine fiends will also be surprised by the Blue Mountains’ burgeoning café scene, with a host of trendy coffee shops rivalling anything in Sydney. Springwood’s Dbl Ristretto packs a flavourful punch with coffee shots extracted from Locale beans; while Tournament, tucked away on the “other” side of the railway line at Medlow Bath, features a seasonal brunch menu with creative Asian influences.

stay

For many years, Silks Brasserie in Leura set the standard for fine dining in the Blue Mountains; and with its new home at Silvermere Guesthouse in Wentworth Falls, that tradition continues in a stunning garden setting. Silvermere is just one of many gorgeous boutique accommodations in the Blue Mountains, its period features reflecting the golden age of tourism during the 1920s.

Cafe in Leura
Hotel Etico

Hotel Etico, located at Mount Victoria Manor, is Australia’s first social enterprise hotel – meaning it’s a place where a holiday creates opportunities by providing work to people with intellectual disabilities. With newly refurbished rooms, and the charm and ambience of yesteryear, it’s a stay that will be hard to leave.

So why not stay a while, immersing yourself in the history, culture and replenishing nature of this always enticing destination!

Leura destination

Find more to explore in the Blue Mountains at www.visitbluemountains.com.au.

For more NSW travel inspiration head to visitnsw.com.

stay

For many years, Silks Brasserie in Leura set the standard for fine dining in the Blue Mountains; and with its new home at Silvermere Guesthouse in Wentworth Falls, that tradition continues in a stunning garden setting. Silvermere is just one of many gorgeous boutique accommodations in the Blue Mountains, its period features reflecting the golden age of tourism during the 1920s.

Cafe in Leura

Hotel Etico, located at Mount Victoria Manor, is Australia’s first social enterprise hotel – meaning it’s a place where a holiday creates opportunities by providing work to people with intellectual disabilities. With newly refurbished rooms, and the charm and ambience of yesteryear, it’s a stay that will be hard to leave.

Hotel Etico

So why not stay a while, immersing yourself in the history, culture and replenishing nature of this always enticing destination!

Leura destination

Find more to explore in the Blue Mountains at www.visitbluemountains.com.au.

For more NSW travel inspiration head to visitnsw.com.