When you’ve overrr the city, hop in the car and cruise to the Blue Mountains. As Aussies, we’re spoiled when it comes to STUNNING destinations, but the string of towns that make up the mountains are pretty special. Between the rugged rainforest and dramatic waterfalls, you’ll find cute colonial homes and villages that are frozen in time. Here’s our guide…
WHAT TO DO IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
Soak up the Insta-worthy views at Echo Point. Charge your phone, because you’re gonna want to snap the Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls. They never get old. PS. If you’re feeling fit – and wearing sneakers – take the Giant Stairway to the bottom of the valley.
Go to a lesser-known lookout. Hate tourists? Head to Sublime Lookout or Govett’s Leap Lookout. Then, head to Lincoln Rock for sunset (and don’t be surprised if you see a proposal!).
Chase waterfalls. Pack your bikini and a picnic and embrace being basic! The Blue Mountains has some of the most insanely beautiful waterfalls in Oz, including Wentworth Falls and Leura Cascades.
Check out the Blue Mountains’ best hikes. They range in length and difficulty, so be realistic about your fitness… For example, The Round Walking Track will take 1-2 hours, while National Pass is a 4-hour trek on the side of a cliff.
Hop on horseback. Walking not your thing? Saddle up for a trail ride at Eureka Homestead. (PS. They have a cellar door ride…)
Day-trip to the Jenolan Caves. If your school skipped the year 5 excursion, now’s your chance! The limestone caves were formed a casual 400 million years ago, and they’re epic.
Get lost in the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Sitting pretty on the peak of Mount Tomah, this botanic garden is lush. Set aside an afternoon – at 28 hectares, it’s kinda big.
Stroll the shops at Leura Mall. The strip is lined with cute boutiques, bookstores and homewares stores, like Megalong Books, Ainsley Fine Jewellery and The French Shoppe.
Gallery-hop your way around town. The Toy and Railway Museum isn’t just for kids (though your nieces/nephews/fruit of your loins will love it). Norman Lindsay Gallery and The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre are worth a visit, too.
Pick apples. Own your inner basic bitch with an apple-picking trip to Logan Brae Orchard or Bilpin Springs Orchard (which also has peaches, pears and plums).
Love nuts? Go to Nutwood Farm. In March and April, the chestnuts and walnuts are ripe for the picking.
Book a pamper sesh at Lilianfels Resort & Spa. After all those activities, you deserve to treat yourself. This spa has won awards for its massages, facials and body wraps.
WHERE TO EAT IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
Sink your teeth into a pie. Bakehouse on Wentworth is world-famous for its juicy beef pies, but the sweet potato one is even better. And after you try their fruit sourdough, you’ll never go back to run-of-the-mill raisin toast.
Indulge in a pastry at Patisserie Schwarz. Locals line up for the croissants, and we highly recommend you join them!
Tuck into brekkie at Lily’s Pad Café. With its sunny courtyard and smiley customers, this café is cute AF – and it’s known for its homemade jams and chutneys.
Satisfy your inner coffee snob at Cassiopeia. The espresso bar roasts its beans on-site. In other words, its standards are up to Sydney’s/Melbourne’s.
Cure your hangover at Red Door Cafe. Three words: All-day breakfast.
Score interior design inspo at Yellow Deli. With a log fireplace, stone benches and tables made from timber slabs, it’s like stepping into your grandma’s house, if she’s a woodworker.
Curl up with a book at Blue Mist Café. It offers the best of both worlds: a café downstairs, and a bookstore upstairs.
Try Australian-Japanese fusion food at Fumo. Foodies adore this restaurant, which is so cool it’s only open on weekends. The calling card: a 120-year-old woodfired oven that was hidden behind a fake wall and only discovered when the owners knocked it down!
Order a whole pizza to yourself at Bilpin Alfire. They’re that good. Station Bar + Woodfired Pizza in Katoomba has live music, and La Famiglia in Wentworth Falls is cheap and cheerful.
Splash out on lunch at Solitary. Set in a heritage-listed cottage, this restaurant has panoramic views of the Blue Mountains and was basically made for long lunches.
Stock up at Josophan’s Fine Chocolates. The staff wear white coats and gloves and box up your treats with a bow, and it’s divine.
Grab a gourmet dinner at Leura Garage. It’s a café by day, buzzy tapas bar by night, and has a six-cheese pizza on the menu. Challenge accepted.
Stop in for high tea at the Hydro Majestic. Since you’re fancy, nibble on scones and sandwiches like the Queen of England at the Salon du Thé. The views over Megalong Valley are as good as the people-watching.
WHERE TO DRINK IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
Sip on a cider at Harp & Fiddle. Tucked inside The Carrington Hotel, this Irish pub is a guaranteed good time. If they try to sell you on the wonders of Guinness, the national drink, say no! [vomit emoji]
Move on to cocktails at Champagne Charlies. The best bit? This chic cocktail bar is in the same hotel!
Cosy up by the fireplace at Flemish Flavours. The cocktails are delish. In summer, there’s nothing better than the outdoor garden – get there early to score a seat!
Dryridge Estate Cellar Door. Wine, cheese platters, and 10/10 views. What more do you need? This vineyard is only open on weekends, so you might want to take Monday off…
WHERE TO STAY IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
Wollemi Wilderness Treehouse. It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 48 – the novelty of treehouses never fades. For a stay you’ll never forget, ditch the hotels and sleep above 600 acres of wilderness. The treehouse is on Airbnb’s most-wished list, and it’s INSANE, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a kitchen, a fireplace, and a spa that fits two. 😉
Echoes Boutique Hotel. If you like *intimate* hotels, book one of the 14 rooms on offer here. Sitting on the fringe of the Jamison Valley, Echoes has picture-perfect views, plus an on-site spa and restaurant.
Mending Wall. Going with a group? Sleep in style at this home. It fits up to eight people, and has a media room, fireplace, outdoor spa and a library that stretches across the entire mezzanine level. #dreamy
Lavender Majestic. When Mending Wall is taken, book this beauty. It’s a three-bedroom sandstone home dating back to 1890 – and it has a Jacuzzi on the deck. Boom.
Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains. If you’re planning on parking yourself on a pool chair for the weekend, stay at the Fairmont. It has everything you need: tennis courts, restaurants, yoga classes, a day spa, and a pond that turns into an ice rink in the colder months.