Have you ever met a person who doesn’t enjoy holidaying? Didn’t think so. Clocking off and gearing up for a getaway is honestly the best feeling, but it can often be hard to find (or afford) the time off. Enter the micro escape; a little weekend away that’s not too far from Sydney but far enough to ensure you feel rested come Monday morning.
If you have a thirst for the outdoors and you’re always up for trying something new (including droolworthy dishes), then the Blue Mountains might just be the micro escape you never knew you needed. From sweeping views and incredible waterfalls to hatted restaurants and eye-opening art exhibitions, there are a plethora of hit list essentials just waiting to be uncovered. And it goes without saying, it's a beautiful destination for a romantic getaway.
Here, we’ve teamed up with Scenic World to explore the best of the Blue Mountains—and why it’s certainly worth the 90-minute road trip.
Deliciousness For Days
With an abundance of acclaimed restaurants, aromatic bakeries and quaint watering holes, chances are you’ll fill up on your weekend escape and only just scratch the surface.
The Black Cockatoo Bakery in Lawson is good enough to queue for—and queue they do. Brimming with crusty sourdough and flakey croissants, the heavenly smell wafting down the street will have you salivating well before you step through the door. Fuel yourself for the day ahead with a house-made pastry and brew or grab an organic loaf to take home.
You’re certainly not short on solid restaurant choices either; there are a number of small but hearty hotspots that could easily rival Sydney’s best. One particularly noteworthy diner is Fumo. Open from Friday to Sunday for both lunch and dinner, this 35-seat Asian-inspired hatted restaurant is from the team behind Blackheath’s much-loved Vulcans restaurant, so you know it will deliver the goods. The menu is seasonal using the freshest of produce and boasting dishes like confit duck with tomato, candle nut relish, turmeric and kaffir lime, and pot roast beef oyster blade with mushroom, fragrant Szechuan pepper and coconut sauce—you seriously can’t go wrong.
If you’re looking to whet your whistle and try some of the Blue Mountains most celebrated wines, then a visit to Dryridge Estate’s cellar door is a must. Open both Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm for wine tastings, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Tuck into a ploughman’s lunch or share a delicious cheese plate as you swirl, sniff, sip, and take in the stunning sweeping views. If you’re lucky with the weather and the sun’s peering out, the sandstone cliffs are spectacularly transformed with bright orange and yellow hues over the Great Dividing Range to the west.
The Blue Mountains is home to some of the most incredibly breathtaking views in Australia and Scenic World in Katoomba is the best place to soak them up. Boasting the steepest aerial cable car and the longest boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere, you can choose from a number of observation options, ranging from the slow and steady to the more adventurous.
The award-winning Scenic Railway is a great place to start but if you consider yourself a bit of an adrenaline junkie then the Scenic Skyway is where it’s at. Suspended 270 metres above the lush treetops, the Jurassic Park-style cable car with a glass bottom—we repeat, glass bottom—is the best way to take in the stunning 360-degree view of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley.
If you prefer your feet firmly planted on the ground you can relish the rainforest’s splendour with a stroll along the Scenic Walkway. The walk is rich in history, wildlife and you can even taste pure Blue Mountains water straight from Marrangaroo Spring. Don’t be deterred by wet weather either, the rainforest truly comes alive with misty mountains, gushing waterfalls and sparkling raindrops—just don’t forget your rain jacket.
Sleep As You’ve Never Slept Before
Bubble tents, teepees and treehouses? That’s right, the accommodation possibilities are endless in the Blue Mountains.
Camping under the stars is a whole lot cooler in a bubble tent. Think uninterrupted views overlooking the second largest canyon in the world, luxury amenities, a wood-fired hot tub and pristine sunsets. You can choose from three different bubble tents and bliss out under the stars in secluded luxury. One thing is for sure, these bubble tents really raise the glamping bar to new heights, and once you go bubble you’ll never go back.
If a gorgeous, luxury cabin nestled high among the treetops sounds more up your alley, then you’ll be blown away by the Secret Treehouse; a one-of-a-kind cabin with stunning views of Bowen’s Creek Gorge complete with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Of course, affordable accommodation is not hard to come by in the Blue Mountains, but be sure to get in quick as quaint Airbnb and hotels can be snapped up by eager adventure seekers keen for the perfect micro escape.
The Blue Mountains is the sleepy sister to Sydney and the locals are renowned for their relaxed, warm and welcoming hospitality. Immerse yourself in the rich history and community spirit by visiting one of the many local weekend markets around the area. Pick yourself up a few handcrafted treasures and vintage collectables from the Leura First Sunday Markets or Blackheath’s Community Markets. Fresh produce and delectable treats can also be found at farmers markets like the monthly Springwood Growers Market or the Growers Market in Blackheath. Try and plan your trip by checking what’s on and around town by visiting Blue Mountains Australia because the local community goods are not to miss.
The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is a go-to pit stop for any art aficionado. Located in the heart of Katoomba, the Cultural Centre showcases diverse and innovative exhibitions from both local and international artists. From eye-opening photography exhibitions to standout sculptures, there’s always a widely-celebrated exhibition worth visiting. During the warmer seasons, the Cultural Centre really starts to show off with its outdoor cinema under the stars. BYO rug and stretch out as you kick back and enjoy cult film classics like Being John Malkovich, The Fifth Element and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Absolute bliss.
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Image credit: @teegly and @_thevanlife