The day after NSW restrictions lifted, you best believe that I set out on a mini getaway. I headed to the Blue Mountains with my parents for an overnight trip. We went on a Tuesday, and were rewarded with empty trails and outlooks. Standing at the Three Sisters Overlook and being completely alone… that’s pretty bonkers. It’s usually so packed with overseas visitors, that now is the perfect time to visit. Now that cafes and bars are opening up again, it’s good to go support the business that were hit during bushfires, and then again during COVID.
Here’s everything we did on our two-day Blue Mountains trip! (A word of advice: avoid going on a Monday or Tuesday, a lot of things were closed!)
We started our trip by driving to Wentworth Falls, one of the first towns you hit as the highway starts snaking up through the mountains. A couple minutes off the main road you’ll find the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area and Jamison Lookout – from here there are heaps of trails that head off into the valley and around the ridges. The Princes Rock Walking Track only takes about 30 minutes round-trip, and goes past 20 different little waterfalls. We followed the trail out to Fletcher’s Lookout – from here you can follow the Undercliff Walk which goes right over the top edge of the falls. At this point we turned back to the carpark, but if you’re up for a long walk there are 4-hour hikes you can do in this area.
I love a good country bakery and I’m obsessed with a good pie. There are a bunch of good pie shops around the Mountains, but I’d heard great things about the Bakehouse on Wentworth in Leura. Oh boy, it lived up to expectations. I had a kangaroo and tomato pie with a real flaky pastry. My dad got the classic potato and mince combo and I can confirm it was stellar.
There’s not much to Leura but it’s worth doing a lap of the main street, poking your heads into the boutiques and little shops. If you’ve got a sweet tooth then make a beeline for The Candy Store in Leura Mall – it’s an old-school lolly shop I used to visit as a kid. They’ve got literally every type of lolly I’ve ever heard of, in big jars lined up on the wooden shelves lining the walls.
We had a little caffeinated pick-me-up at a cute cafe in Leura called Wisteria Place. They had a cozy fireplace, good coffee, and some truly excellent carrot cake. It was a good little stopover to warm up our frosty fingers.
SUNSET AT BLACKHEATH
There are plenty of good sunset spots in the mountains, but Blackheath is pretty special. We went out to Govetts Leap Lookout which has great sweeping views of the valley below, and watched the skyline light up in orange and pink. From here there are a bunch of bushwalks you can go on, but a few were closed. We walked for about 15 minutes along the Fairfax track (it was frickin freezing and we needed to get back before dark). All the trees had been burned to a crisp in the bushfires but there was some cute green regrowth.
DRINKS AND DINNER
A lot of places I’d earmarked for eating and drinking were closed. We had a drink at the Station Bar (my first bar visit in months!!!), which had a nice vibe and I wanted to stay for a couple more, tbh. I heard good things about the warm cider at underground Aunty Ed’s bar in Katoomba, but alas it was shut.
Then we had dinner at Savoy Restaurant, because it was either that or Dominos. It’s a chill, diner-style vibe. It was pretty good – excellent cheeseburgers! Beggars can’t be choosers I guess.
We started our morning with a walk at the Three Sisters. I don’t really need to detail it for you – we all know its there and it’s excellent. Avoid paying for parking at Echo Point and find a spot on the road as you come in. (It might be harder on weekends though, so get there early if you can!) From here there are about a billion different walks you can do – one wheelchair accessible! – but I recommend you follow the Three Sisters Walking path and go down the stairs where you can cross the bridge onto one of the Sisters. From here we walked back up, but you can continue all the way down to the valley floor if you’re up for it.
I feel like I read about a hundred guides on where to get the best coffee in the mountains. In the end we went to Cassiopeia Coffee in Katoomba and oh man the coffee was good. It’s got a small food menu, but if you’re just after coffee and toast or cake then it’s excellent. Their fruit toast is out of this world good.
Runners up for coffee spots that I had listed: Milk Bar in Katoomba for epic doughnuts and smoothies, Anonymous cafe in Blackheath for literally the best coffee in the mountains (I came here three years ago and omg it was great), Red Door cafe on Leura’s main street, Blue Mist cafe in Wentworth Falls.
WOW, ANOTHER WALK
A lot of stuff was still closed or restricted, so there wasn’t much else to do but go for another walk. We headed to Gordon Falls reserve and parked near the oval. From here you can walk through dense bushland, past waterfalls, out to the Pool of Siloam. It’s a small waterfall and crystal-clear pool surrounded by trees and plants, and if it was warmer would be an excellent swimming spot. It was so serene and quiet in there, definitely worth the 40-minute round trip to get there.
A short drive from Gordon Falls, you’ll find Sublime Point, a lookout that certainly lives up to its name. It’s only about a five-minute walk from the car park, but at the end you can cross a short bridge out to the lookout spot atop a giant rock. It’s got incredible views that stretch for what looks like hundreds of kilometres. It’d be cool to bring a little picnic out here and enjoy the serenity, so long as it’s not too windy!
Before leaving the mountains we stopped in at Lawson, drawn by the promise of a delicious chocolate shop that I’d read about. There’s a strip of shops along the highway that yielded three hidden gems. One – a coffee shop called Cortado. It’s really high-quality coffee in a trendy cafe that had a real inner-Sydney vibe: I’m unsure whether that’s a good or bad thing. They had homemade treats that looked great but we just stuck with coffee. Two – Rust and Timber, a chocolate shop that makes all their own stuff. I got a freckle bar and yep, it was delicious. Three – Lawson Bakery, a classic Aussie bakery that had so many delicious looking things I wanted. I bloody love a bakery sandwich – you know, the ones that are absolutely stuffed with shredded iceberg lettuce and pre-sliced tomato and canned beetroot. It was so good. I was tempted by the Neenish tarts and Lamingtons, which looked picture-perfect.
And that’s it! I’m planning to go back to the mountains ASAP, let me know if I missed any of your fave spots – I love getting recommendations.