The Beautiful Blue Mountains
This World Heritage-listed area is known for its fresh mountain air, delicious food and spectacular scenery, writes Christine Knight.
THE BEAUTIFUL BLUE MOUNTAINS is just a two-hour drive west of Sydney’s CBD. Explore this incredible region and enjoy galleries, cafés and natural wonders.
Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum
While driving up through Faulconbridge it’s easy to miss a tiny turn off on the main road that leads to the Norman Lindsay Gallery. This hidden gem is the former home and gallery of acclaimed Australian artist and writer Norman Lindsay, perhaps best known for his tales of the Magic Pudding and drawings of sumptuous nudes.
Visitors can admire Lindsay’s paintings, etchings and drawings inside the sandstone cottage that was bought by his wife, Rose, in 1913 and remained his home, studio and gallery until Lindsay’s death in 1969. Now run by the National Trust, a visit to “Springwood”, as the property was named, is a whimsical walk through the past. The cottage and artist studio give a glimpse into Lindsay’s life on the property, and the 42 acres of land it’s set on is dotted with Lindsay’s distinctive sculptures. 14 Norman Lindsay Cresent, Faulconbridge. 4751 1067. normanlindsay.com.au
The Three Sisters
A visit to the Blue Mountains isn’t complete without meeting the famous Three Sisters at Echo Point. These unusual rock formations tower over the Jamison Valley, representing three sisters who, according to Aboriginal legend, were turned to stone. Follow signs at Echo Point to the start of one of the most iconic bushwalks in the Blue Mountains National Park. The path leads down to the valley floor via more than 800 steps called “The Giant Stairway”. The 1.5-hour walk leads to the base of Katoomba Falls and the Katoomba Scenic Railway. End of Echo Point Road, Katoomba. bluemts.com.au/info/thingstodo/ threesisters
Scenic World is a great way to see the majestic Blue Mountains, particularly if you have kids or are mobility impaired. It consists of four activities: the Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Railway, the Scenic Cableway and the Scenic Walkway. The Scenic Skyway, constructed in 1958, was Australia’s first cable car. It glides 270 metres over the Jamison Falls Valley between two cliff tops. Or, you can make your way to the Jamison Valley floor via the Scenic Railway with its 52-degree incline, it’s the steepest passenger railway in the world. The Railway ends on the valley floor, at the start of the Scenic Walkway, a 2.4-kilometre elevated walkway through the towering rainforest. Violet Street and Cliff Drive, Katoomba. 4780 0200. www.scenicworld.com.au
Take a stroll through 1.3 kilometres of bushland down to the base of the Minnehaha Falls in Northern Katoomba to find your own private waterfall. The trail begins in the car park at the end of Minni Ha Ha Road and leads through the bush to a stunning look out, before descending down a rocky incline to the 20-metre tall waterfall. Take a dip in the pool at the base of the waterfall, but be warned, it can get chilly down there! Minni Ha Ha Road, Katoomba. bluemts. com.au/news/how-to-find-minnehaha-falls
Cafe 2773 Glenbrook
A funky café on the fringe of the Blue Mountains, Cafe 2773 Glenbrook is the perfect place to stop for breakfast. It’s been likened to The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney due to its sprawling outdoor layout, farm animals to meet, play area for kids and, most importantly, excellent food and in-house roasted coffee.
The all-day breakfast menu features hearty dishes such as the Smashed Avo (chunky avocado with asparagus, feta, red pepper pearls and baby mint on toasted sourdough for $15) and the Lamb Sausage and Eggs (free range lamb sausage with Hillbilly bacon jam, scrambled eggs, baby spinach and toast for $20). 19 Ross Street, Glenbrook. 4739 5908. 2773glenbrook.com.au
The Hydro Majestic Hotel Blue Mountains
An afternoon high tea at the historic Hydro Majestic Hotel is an elegant affair. Perched atop an escarpment overlooking the Blue Mountains National Park, the iconic hotel has had a complete refurbishment to return it to its former opulent glory.
High tea is served in the elegant Wintergarden, with panoramic views of Megalong Valley below. Choose from the traditional High Tea, Eastern High Tea or Gluten-free High Tea, each served on a three-tiered silver stand. The Traditional High Tea includes a selection of pastries, scones, clotted cream, jam and your choice of tea or coffee ($55 per person on weekdays and $65 per person on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays). 52–88 Great Western Highway, Medlow Bath. 4782 6885. hydromajestic.com.au
The Gingerbread House Katoomba
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to the Gingerbread House café, housed in a beautifully restored 100-year-old church. The Gingerbread House is all about sweet things—milkshakes, ice-cream, cakes, cookies and gingerbread, but they also serve light savoury food such as quiche and toasted sandwiches using locally-made sourdough. 56 Waratah Street, Katoomba. 4782 6958. gbhousekatoomba.com
Minnehaha Falls. Photo: Christine Knight. High tea at the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: Christine Knight. The Gingerbread House Katoomba. Photo: Christine Knight. Main image: Grose Valley, The Blue Moutains.