Things to do, what to eat and where to stay in the stunning Blue Mountains
If you’re craving fresh air, rugged scenery and a reason to wrap up (and who doesn’t when you live in sweaty Singapore?), we totally recommend a weekend away in the serene Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia. Think soaring cliffs, deep canyons, roaring waterfalls and eucalyptus trees, with Blue Mountains being made up of 300,000 hectares of national park.
The world-heritage site has long been a place that Sydneysiders head to for an escape from hot, busy city-living. It’s close enough to Sydney for an easy day trip – but the mountains’ magical hotels, B&Bs, shopping and foodie treats make it a great destination for a short break. We recently spent a couple of nights in the wonderful Blue Mountains, and popped this guide together, to help you plan a trip of your own.
What to do
On your way up the mountain range, stop in for lunch at The Blue Mountain Botanic Garden in Mt Tomah. The Garden Restaurant has an impressive menu, plus after your walk around the area, you will have earned a lazy lunch on the sunny verandah.
Continue on to Govetts Leap lookout; a popular spot to stop at and take in the spectacular panoramic views before your descent into the Grose Valley. This is where you’ll find some of the more physical walks in the region, i.e. the cliffs that lead up to Perry Lookdown and Evans Lookout.
Evans Lookout is plonked at the top of the escarpment (at the end of Evans Lookout Road). This is the beginning of a number of tracks that lead in and out of the Gorge, including the Grand Canyon walk and the cliff top path to Govetts Leap. From this point, you can stroll along and find magnificent views over the Grose Valley and Govetts Gorge.
Insta fans! You’ve simply got to stop at The Three Sisters – this offers the money shot of the mountain range. The Three Sisters is made up of an unusual rock formation (which, according to Aboriginal Legend, represents three sisters who were turned into stone). It’s a spectacular landmark and – thanks to recently installed lighting – is stunning to visit by day and night.
If you’re more active (we’re talking about serious hikers here!), there’s supposedly an amazing 45-kilometre trek from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves. You could also abseil the Grand Canyon Track in Blackheath or take a three-day bush walk. We, er, didn’t quite get around to any of those, but you can see more here.
For more chilled folks (that would be us), take the time to stop at Blue Mountain’s villages; you’ll find antique stores, book shops, galleries, boutiques and cafes. Or, book in for high tea at the newly-renovated Hydro Majestic Hotel. This stunning hotel has been under renovation for the last two years, and is really worth visiting now that it’s finished. Formerly part of the Belgravia Hotel, the Hydro Majestic is steeped in history and has been lovingly-restored to retain its art deco style.
Where to stay
Talked you into gulping lungfuls of mountain air during a cute little rugged escape yet? There is a wide range of accommodation in the Blue Mountains; there are luxury resorts like The Fairmont Resort and Lilianfels Blue Mountains, stunning cottages like Parklands (where Tom and Nicole have known to stay back in the day!), plus cute hotels and B&Bs like the Hydro-Majestic. So whether you want to blow the bank or work to a budget, there are lots fab options to check out via The Blue Mountains website.
We’d like to thank Destination NSW and Qantas for our media trip to the Blue Mountains for this article.