A weekend away will have you experiencing the delights of the villages (cafes, shops) and the delights of the orchards (including delicious apple cider) on the other side.
Here’s some highlights from both sides.
If you have left Sydney and rifled past Penrith on the M4 motorway you may be ready for a coffee as you hit the foothills of the Blue Mountains. You may have to hit the brakes a lot more too. The journey through the villages of the Blue Mountains requires a lot of stop-start given the changes in speed limits and the seemingly endless traffic lights. 2773 Cafe is a funky cafe and eatery where you can top up caffeine levels for the trip ahead.
As you amble along, historic towns go by. As the early explorers forged their way through this rugged terrain to open up the western plains, they left settlements which have become thriving villages. Blaxland, Springwood, Lawson, Leura, Katoomba and Blackheath all offer something for weekenders, from cafes to shops selling local wares.
If you’re looking for something a bit fancy (and with a long history dating back to 1901), the Hydro Majestic Hotel is just the ticket. The dining room looks over the Megalong Valley. Having tea and scones, or lunch, really takes you back to a much simpler time as you gaze out at the majestic view.
Looking over Megalong Valley from the Hydro Majestic Hotel
If you need to walk off lunch, then Blackheath has a couple of spots to enjoy. Bridal Veil Falls is a short walk and provides beautiful views of this multi-tiered waterfall. Super spectacular after rain, it's worth seeing if it has been dry. Close by is Govetts Leap viewing platform. This spot shows the raw beauty of the Blue Mountains National Park.
The other side of the Blue Mountains.
Once you get to Mount Victoria, turn right towards Bell. From this point on your driving will be much less restrained. The Bells Line of Road has been severely affected by landslides from deluges last year, so take care driving and check road conditions prior to setting out. Once on the Bells Line of Road, there are many sights to see, places to visit and views to go ‘wow’ at.
The Mount Tomah Cool Climate Botanic Gardens are definitely worth a stop. Free entry and botany to blow your mind. It has a collection of cool climate botany from around the world, all in one place. Great for the soul and guaranteed to get your legs stretched. An absolute highlight of the Blue Mountains!
Beautiful autumn colours at Mount Tomah Cool Climate Botanic Gardens
The run back to Sydney sees you travel through orchards, many with roadside stalls (pack some cash!). There are plenty of coffee stops to be had. If you’re lucky the Grumpy Baker may have some loaves left from their daily bake. If you have a thirst, then Hillbilly Cider provides the perfect place to pull into. They do a mean pizza and a few hours lounging in the sun sipping on local cider … well it's just a great Blue Mountains experience.
Finally on the foodie front is the Pie in The Sky at Kurrajong Heights, just before you descend to Richmond. Well worth a visit and it's always good to grab a few extra pies for dinner.
For the adventurous the trail into Burralow Creek Camping area is a lovely drive and with a flat open campground. There are lots of sandstone highlights on the way in from Bilpin. Another lovely 4WD trail, Mountain Lagoon Trail, leaves Bilpin and ends up at Upper Colo. A very pretty bush drive with bushwalks aplenty along it.
The final highlight is the spectacular view back over the Sydney basin from Bellbird Lookout. On a clear day you can see … well forever!
Breathtaking views from Bellbird Lookout
The Blue Mountains offer a jam-packed weekend away. If you can take the time to add an extra day or two, then you will be doubly delighted by what you find.
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