Just a 1.5 hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains has long provided Sydneysiders with the perfect weekend getaway. Deriving its name from the distinctive blue haze that emanates from the eucalyptus forest, the Blue Mountains mingles Australian bushland with towns that are inspired by the spas and retreats of the past, providing the locale with an inimitable charm. To put together the ideal Blue Mountains stay, ensure you make the most of the boutique shops, artistic destinations and foodie classics the Blue Mountains has to offer.
2.30pm | Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum
On your way up to the mountains, stop by at the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum at Faulconbridge. The locale was home to controversial Australian artist and writer Norman Lindsay from 1901 to his death in 1969. The sandstone cottage houses a museum displaying Lindsay’s works, while the manicured grounds replete with sculptures provide ample photo opportunities.
5pm | Dinner at Yellow Deli
Stop by the cult-run Yellow Deli in Katoomba for an early dinner. The café is owned and operated by the Twelve Tribes, who according to reporter Julia Scheeres have a goal to "produce an army of 144,000 male virgins, who would prepare the way for Christ's second coming," among other things. Regardless, the food is amazing (and very reasonably priced); try the yerba mate tea, the Reuben sandwich or Garden Burger, and end with the vegan carob cookie.
7pm | Catch the sunset at Lincoln’s Rock
Named after Australian mountaineer Lincoln Hall who lived in Wentworth Falls, Lincoln’s Rock provides breathtaking, all-encompassing views of Jamison Valley. Drive to the lookout (vehicles are necessary and ample parking is available) to catch the prettiest pink-and-orange sunset view in the mountains.
6am | Sunrise at the Three Sisters
Drag yourself out of bed early to enjoy the sunrise at the Three Sisters, Echo Point. Despite being a notorious tourist location, it’s a must-see, and getting in early avoids the crowds that swamp the lookout. Set yourself up with a nice spot at the railing to watch the sun come up.
8am | Breakfast at The Elephant Bean
After the sun’s up, walk over to The Elephant Bean for a relaxed breakfast. Elephant Bean provides a consistently good brew and brekky in an eclectic and cosy atmosphere; try the granola with yogurt or white beans and sausage on toast for a healthy start to the morning, and finish off with a brewed ginger chai or get your much-needed caffeine fix instead.
10am | National Pass walk
Pack a picnic and head to the Wentworth Falls picnic area to embark on the National Pass walk. The walking track provides stunning views of the Blue Mountains National Park, including the Jamison lookout and the famous Wentworth Falls, plus a steep ascent up the historic Grand Stairway, hand built in the early 1900s.
The Valley of the Waters features several waterfalls, like the oh-so-photogenic Empress Falls, as well as Silvia and Lodore Falls. Stop along the way to enjoy a picnic lunch with the sound of the cascading waters in the background.
3pm | Historic Katoomba
Best explored on foot, Katoomba seamlessly merges art, history and coffee culture with gorgeous scenic views. Wander around the town with a latte in hand and check out the various architectural styles from the miners’ cottages of the 1800s, to the Federation style architecture of the early 1900s.
Visit the many antique stores for a vintage find; try Katoomba Antique Centre, Black Antiques Katoomba and Katoomba Vintage Emporium.
6pm | Dinner at Darley’s
Set in a heritage-listed building ensconced in a beautiful garden, Darley’s Restaurant brings impeccable fine dining to the mountains. Featuring options for a two or three course menu as well as a separate vegetarian menu, the steamed Murray cod and drunken chocolate cake are sure to delight even the fussiest gastronomer.
9am | Explore Leura Mall
Visiting Leura is like stepping back in time. Leura mall is composed of the shops along the cherry blossom lined main street of the village; expect to find a book store, retro candy store, vintage toy shop, batch made chocolate shop, day spas and local art. Pick up some nostalgic candy from The Candy Store, and while away an hour or so at Megalong Books.
12pm | A taste of Belgium
Flemish Flavours brings a taste of Belgium – and its famous beers – to a heritage-listed restaurant in Leura. The flora adorned location features a restaurant and beer garden with mountains views. Sit outdoors and pair a traditional Belgian beer with the mussels or beef, beer & mushroom stew, and finish with the classic Brussels waffle.
For those who love a life of splendour, The Carrington Hotel brings the elegance and charm of yesteryear to a heritage building in Katoomba. A popular wedding destination, The Carrington Hotel features luxurious décor and is complete with an ambiance rich dining room, brasserie, bar, and cocktail bar.
Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant is the ideal match for guests who wish to blend luxury with relaxation. With modern features in a heritage listed property, Echoes is complete with a day spa and a restaurant which merges modern Australian dining with Asian influences.