Travel Guide to the Blue Mountains
Be captivated by the one million hectares of tall forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons and waterfalls that make up the magnificent Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, just a 90-minute drive west from the city of Sydney. While large areas of the Blue Mountains were affected by the 2019/20 summer bushfire, popular tourist towns including Katoomba and Leura were left untouched. Visitors can support this region by planning an action-packed daytrip from Sydney or delving deeper with a longer stay.
Places to shop
Browse the antique stores, quirky thrift stores and vintage emporiums in the charming town of Katoomba, where you will find first edition books, vintage clothing and homewares in the various unique shops such as Mr Pickwick’s Fine Old Books and Peachtree Antiques. Spend hours browsing the local handicrafts and memorabilia at the Katoomba Victory Theatre Antique Centre.
The other place to shop is Leura, a garden village not far from Katoomba that is arguably the region’s most vibrant shopping centre. Stock up on delicious homemade chocolates at Josophan’s or admire the eclectic collections at Bygone Beautys, and make sure not to miss The Candy Store!
Places to eat and drink
The Blue Mountains is a great place to eat, drink and indulge on fresh local produce.
Katoomba’s food scene has evolved to celebrate both local produce and its multi-cultural influences – feast on street food from around the world at 8Things. Reserve a table at Darley’s Restaurant, Lilianfels Resort and Spa’s signature fine dining restaurant, renowned for its beautiful heritage-listed house and innovative cuisine.
Make sure you stop by the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company, where you’re given the opportunity to make your own hot chocolate creation. Delight in Katoomba’s nightlife at Bootlegger Bar, or for beverage with a view, enjoy an al fresco table at The Lookout near Echo Point.
Outside of Katoomba, for a Mediterranean-inspired menu, take your appetite to Leura Garage, housed in a converted mechanic’s workshop.
Or, stop in at Biplin, a small town famous for its apples. Pick your own straight from the tree at one of the many family owned and run orchards including Bilpin Springs Orchard or sip the sweet ciders at Hillbilly Cider.
For those stocking up on picnic supplies, goats cheese with truffle honey, fresh sourdough bread, homemade jams and relishes can all be found at This Little Piggy Wiggy provedore in Blackheath.
Places to explore
The Three Sisters rock formation is best seen from Echo Point lookout in Katoomba. Be sure to pay a visit to the Waradah Aboriginal Centre at Echo Point to learn more about how the Three Sisters were formed.
Will there, call into Scenic World. Home to the world’s steepest incline railway, the Scenic Railway descends more than 400 metres down the escarpment and is a must when in the region.
Soak up the streams, waterfalls, forested valleys and cliffs of the Blue Mountains along the many well-marked walking trails.
Jenolan Caves is among the finest and oldest cave systems in the world, boasting 11 spectacular show caves, underground rivers and awe-inspiring formations.
Megalong Valley is gorgeous mix of countryside paddocks and pristine forests, boasting a mix of charming shops, wineries, horse riding establishments and walks such as the famous Six Foot Track (a challenging three-day hike from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves).
Getting there and where to stay
The Blue Mountains are located a leisurely 90-minute drive or two-hour train ride from Sydney. There is an abundance of different accommodation options to suit any style of travel within the Blue Mountain region.
If you’re after luxury, nestled among the stunning scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa is Australia’s first luxury wildlife and conservation-based resort. Here guests can get hands-on with sustainability efforts. Monitor wildlife, help plant trees, or participate in its research project WomSAT. While the property has always had a major environmental focus, there has been an increase in conservation work following the bushfires last year.