Breath-taking views, spa pools, waterfalls and picnics. Get away from it all with a romantic escape to Sydney’s Blue Mountains. Here’s what not to miss in the mountains. By Renate Ruge
Walk Under A Waterfall
The stunning waterfalls that plunge almost a kilometer to valley floor can be climbed down but it’s not for the faint hearted and after a 2.5-hour trek around the cliffs you have to climb back up! If you are feeling super fit, it is worth the effort for the fantastic views, rainbows that arch over the falls and feeling the mountain mist on your face. There are several other shorter walks to great vantage points you can choose from dependant on energy levels. Be sure to wear sturdy walking boots and pack plenty of water, a hat and snacks. Wind up your walk with a cool drink at the Conservation Hut café overlooking the Valley of the Waters and Jamieson Valley.
Shop in Leura
Wander around the quaint village shops, including the old curiosity shop, an old fashioned sweet shop, vintage clothes boutiques and plenty of home ware shops.
Get garden inspiration at Everglades
The pretty heritage gardens at Everglades sits in twelve and a half acres of European-style gardens and native Australian bush. Designed and built in the 1930s as a weekend retreat, you can meander through the cherry blossom trees and admire trees and plants from all over the world dotted with wooden hand carved sculptures. Visit historic exhibitions in the house, and scope out the art works at the Society of Mountain Artists’ Gallery in the old squash court building or enjoy plays al fresco at the amphitheatre in summer. You are welcome to bring a picnic and soak up the stunning views over the Jamison Valley or head to the tearooms for good old-fashioned homemade quiche and cakes.
37 Everglades Avenue, Leura (02) 4784 1938
Bliss out at a spa
iKOU has created a pristine environment complete with eco-friendly massage beds, towels and robes, an Eco Rain Shower and green-energy power. The beautiful range of face and body products and 100 per cent natural-wax candles helps you ‘rest, relax, restore’. Book in for the luxurious Restore – Fresh from the Vine treatment, for two-and-a-half hours of top-to-toe heaven!
iKOU Day Spa 181a-183 Leura Mall 02 4784 3344
Eat at a cute cafe
Try Leura Garage (a converted village garage now a trendy restaurant space) for crispy pizzas, toasted rosemary bread and salads or pop into Red Door cafe for zucchini fritters, trout salad and a latte.
Leura Garage, 84 Railway Parade, Leura +61 2 4784 3391
and Red Door Café, 134 Leura Mall, Leura (02) 4784 1328
Stay at a romantic retreat
Snuggle up into the old English style comfort of Lilianfels hotel and prepare to be pampered. Think four-poster beds, a grand piano, genteel gin and tonics at cocktail hour and high tea for two in the sofa-filled lounge. Pretty manicured and camellia-filled gardens surround the heritage hotel that has fantastic views of the Three Sisters and the sweeping cobalt-coloured valleys of the Blue Mountains.
Breathe in some feel-good fresh mountain air and as the temperature cools at night, plunge into the heated pool and warm up in the steam room in the spa or float in your Jacuzzi bubble bath. Breakfast like a king with a full English fry up served of course with leaf tea in silver pots.
Lilianfels, Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba (02) 4780 1200 www.lilianfels.com.au
How to get here
There are plenty of day trips from Sydney to the Mountains but an overnight stay helps to break up the one and a half to two-hour drive from the CBD. Otherwise hop on the train from central station for a two and a half hour ride north-west.