The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens.
Some of my favourite activities in the Blue Mountains
Be awed by the still beauty of the Jenolan Caves
Ride the Scenic Railway through 310 metres of the ancient rainforest. This is the world's steepest passenger railway in the world with a 52 degree (128%) incline.
Indulge in a unique stay for the hopeless romantics in the Enchanted Cave
And a 4-day drive through the Greater Blue Mountains (see video below)
Lisa Willows and her perfect family getaway to the Blue Mountains
A recount from Lisa Willows
When planning a week away, the Blue Mountains is a perfect choice as it offers a world heritage wilderness that is a short drive west of Sydney. My family had not been away for two years and we're excited to have some fun, adventure, and new cultural experiences. We collectively decided on the picturesque village of Leura and rented a little Airbnb there as a base, spending a week discovering and exploring the area.
There is something magical about the Blue Mountains which were formed over 50 million years ago. You can feel the energy of the area and looking at those impressive rock formations and the vast, epic wilderness that covers thousands of kilometres, is completely mesmerising.
The four of us arrived to a pre-lit, cosy fire, at our Airbnb in Leura which was a split level, open plan, Strawbale Cottage with beautiful views of natural bushland, out of every window. The accommodation was so special, that we would have been happy staying in for a week! The self-contained cottage had been constructed by hand and featured stained glass French doors, reading loft nooks, claw foot bath, books, games, DVDs and more.
Leura is a picturesque and charming village with a mall that was only a five-minute drive away from our accommodation, so we spent the first two days discovering and shopping in Leura and found some fantastic retail outlets. One in particular called Teddy Sinclair really captured our hearts and imaginations. Owned by an artist, the store was a piece of art in itself.
We love browsing in retro and antique shops, and Katoomba really delivered with several emporiums full of vendors, sprucing their goods. 15 minutes further North, we visited the town of Blackheath. The town had an extremely relaxed atmosphere. The eclectic shopping scene is all about local and retro. While there, we visited the Victory Theatre which has been transformed into a spectacular antique centre, the Hat Hill Gallery, a local record shop and more boutique shops.
We ventured out to the Gordon’s Falls, The Three Sisters and stood on the edge of the lookout situated at the grand white edifice of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, taking in some mind-blowing views. If you are the outdoors type, it is easy to immerse yourself in nature by climbing down to the valley floor and up along rugged escarpments, to discover waterfalls and breathtaking views.
Another day we took a drive down to the Norman Lindsay Gallery which is in Faulconbridge. We wandered through the gardens and were lucky enough to catch an exhibition “Between Friends” that featured Norman and his muse Margaret Coen.
We loved the warm fires, the comfort food offered at local cafes, the friendly locals, and the cold was not as bad as we had anticipated with most places being well heated. This is a highly recommended family holiday. We will have memories that will last a lifetime.
With blue horizons, stretching as far as the eye could see, we learned that the Blue Mountains get their name from the oil in the eucalyptus trees, which when dispersed in the air, gives off a blue hue. We will see you again!