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ESCAPE: to the Blue Mountains

Considered the slow food capital of Australia this is one for the foodies & hikers

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ESCAPE: to the Blue Mountains Image
So it turns out The Blue Mountains is a pretty awesome place and not at all overrated. Why?
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BY SOPHIE KEPREOTES

 

Before my recent trip to the Blue Mountains, I wasn’t really sure what to expect (much to my Mum’s disappointment I don’t really remember our family holiday…I was super young FYI). Turns out there are loads more reasons to visit the Blue Mountains other than to check out those three sisters, like... eating, and...

Blue Mountains
1.
It is only a 3-hour drive from Newcastle, making it the perfect weekend getaway.
2. No matter where you stay, it's only ever a short drive/walk to one of these views. 
3. The foodie scene is on point, with a ridiculous number of cafes, restaurants and delis to choose from.
4. It's super easy to get around, there are a few different suburbs, the main ones being Blackheath, Leura and Katoomba, all about 10 mins drive from one another.
5. And for the more adventurous types, there are plenty of outdoor activities for you as well.

Whilst I am definitely no expert (after just 2 nights) I've put together a list of places I went to that I think you will like. 
 
ACCOMMODATION

Old Leura Dairy

Our accommodation in Leura was just as beautiful as Leura itself.

Old Leura Dairy is made up of 6 different cottages depending on the number of people you are staying with. We stayed in the Studio, which is built from 80% recycled material. This super cute space was full of so much character and included a kitchenette, bath, Wi-Fi and a sunny courtyard.
Old Leura Dairy
Leura

Where: 61 Kings Road, Leura

Leura

LeuraNomadic Belle
My kind of camping- glamping! Nomadic Belle is the only way to sleep outdoors. Arriving at Perrys Lockdown Campground in Blackheath our tent was pitched and bubbles ready to be popped. The crisp white linen, throws, rugs and cushions have ruined me for old school camping forever. The indoor fire place keeps you cosy at night, there were even fairy lights! All we had to do was bring our own cheese plate and more wine (of course).
Nomadic Belle

Nomadic Belle
Nomadic Belle
Where: The Nomadic Tents can be pitched just about anywhere, and the team definitely know all the best spots. 

FOOD

Cassiopeia
Warning: do not be put off by this café’s minimalist menu! Cassiopeia café is all about keeping it simple; specialty coffee, toast and a few sweets. And they do it bloody well! Hands down the best avocado on toast I have ever had and their very own roasted coffee was a small cup of heaven. This is the perfect place to start your day before exploring the rest of the Blue Mountains.

 

Katoomba

Katoomba

We ate: Avocado on toast…de-lish!
Where: 79 Lurline Street, Katoomba

Anonymous Café
Between the hikes, the lookouts and exploring the Blue Mountains, Anonymous café became the perfect fuel stop for lunch. Located on the Great Western Highway as you drive into Blackheath, it is hard to miss. The warm, modern interior was matched with their smooth coffee and seriously good- lookin food! 
Blackheath

Blackheath

We ate: Anonymous mixed plate with corned beef, prosciutto and carved ham. Smoked Cheddar, Brie and Blue cheese, house-made pickles and compote. Served with fig and caraway soda bread. It was as delicious, as it was Insta-worthy.
Lamb burger with beetroot chutney, cucumber, baby spinach, tomato and garlic sauce.
Where: 237-238 Great Western Highway, Blackheath

Yellow Deli
A favourite with locals and tourists, the warm, wooden interior, small booths and nooks hidden throughout give it that cosy kind of feel. The café is run by a community of people who all live together and whose motto is “ …you’ll feel you’ve been transported to a simpler time…” The menu includes delicious burgers, salads and a soup of the day.

Yellow Deli
We ate: The Deli Lamb: Lamb, onions, lettuce, tomato and cucumber with honey garlic sauce on a wholemeal egg bun.
The Deli Rose: Roast beef, corned beef, hot pepper and provolone cheese, onions, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard on an onion roll.
Where: 214 Katoomba Street, Katoomba 

Station Bar
Located next to Katoomba’s Train station (the name kind of gives that one away!), Station Bar was probably as close to the nightlife as we saw. With a wide range of people of all ages the bar had a section to suit everyone: a restaurant area, a more casual booth area, the bar itself and an outdoor courtyard. This warm and inviting bar focuses on good pizzas, craft beer and live music. 

Station Bar
Station Bar

We drank: Cosmopolitan Cocktails
Where: 287 Bathurst Road, Katoomba

 

Victory Theatre
This building itself was worth the visit. The Victory building was built in 1915 and opened in 1921 as a 999-seat cinema. With the café in the foyer, you can then walk through into the antique centre and an art gallery. 

BlackheathWe ate: The Victory big breakfast: bacon, egg, sausages, hash browns and toast, and r icotta pancakes with blueberry compote.

Where: 17-19 Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath

 

Leura Garage
Recommended by Jo at The Old Leura Dairy, our last night was spent at Leura Garage for dinner. The open-planned space had everything from wine, trees and tyres decorating its interior. The place was full to capacity so I would definitely recommend booking in advance. The outdoor seating would be the ideal spot for lunch, soaking up the sunshine.

Leura GarageWe ate: Six Cheese pizza- Feta, Buffalo Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, scamorza, provolone (as a self confessed pizza enthusiast this was one of the best I’ve ever had)
Shoestring fries with house made aioli and rosemary
Macadamia and sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

Where: 84 Railway Parade, Leura

Leura Gourmet
We came across this café by chance as we were wondering down Leura’s main street. The front of the store is quite deceiving. You walk in to a deli shopfront with everything from gelato, smoothies, salads, honey and cheese. However, it isn’t until you look past the deli that you notice the café and ceiling high windows looking out over Leura towards the back, so beautiful. Perfect place to pick up your afternoon cheese and wine supplies!

Blue Mountains DeliWe ate: Unfortunately we already had lunch plans, but we couldn’t resist a green tea and hot chocolate before we left.

Where: 159 Leura Mall, Leura 

Rubyfruit Bakery
Although this was not, unfortunately, a place we had time to eat at, we still decided to call past and I think it's definitely worth a mention. This tiny little bakery is hidden behind Leura Mall and was completely packed out! For all the vegans out there this is your ultimate place! There is no need to ask if an item has dairy in it, or if there is a vegan variation available or only just having one or two things to choose from because Rubyfruit is COMPLETELY VEGAN! Literally everything from cupcakes, cheesecake, cookies, pies, frittatas, wraps and burgers!
Where: Shop 10 166-168 Leura Mall, Leura

 

Bon Ton
Sitting at the bottom of Leura mall it offers a small, intimate dining area inside by the fire, high tables and stalls near the bar and a huge outdoor garden, which would be perfect for the warmer months. The wait staff were very attentive and the meals were ah-mazing!
Blue Mountains Bon Ton
We ate: Gnocchi Romaine with porcini mushroom ragu, tomato salsa and shaved grana
Wild mushroom arancini, tomato relish, crisp pancetta
Where: 192 Leura Mall, corner Megalong Street, Leura 

LOOKOUTS & HIKES

Scenic World
The ultimate tourist spot. From here you can check out the views by cable cart, train or Skycar. We, however, decided to sit back with a drink and enjoy the views from the café. 
Scenic World Blue Mountains

Undercliff Track
Rather than walking back along the Wentworth Falls track we took the Undercliff Track and we could not stop taking photos along the way, so beautiful!

Undercliff Track

Cliff Walk
While you are near Scenic World there are more great lookouts. The cliff walk is a short 10 minute walk, with amazing views the whole way. From here you can also continue for about 40 minutes to reach The Three Sisters. 

Eagle Hawk Lookout
We found this lookout by chance as we were driving past Scenic World and it was prime position for viewing The Three Sisters. 

Govetts Leap
Once there the Bridal Veil track is about a 15-minute walk to a beautiful lookout that looks out towards Pulpit Rock Lookout. 

Pulpit Rock
Hands down my  favourite  lookout of the trip, an absolute must. Breathtaking!

BlackheathAnvil Lookout
Only a short 10-minute walk to the lookout, I even managed to walk it without wearing my active wear. Amazing views and ideal for the less athletic types!

Wentworth Falls Track
Once you arrive at the beginning of the Wentworth Falls Track there are plenty of walking track options depending on your capabilities and how hard you want to make your hike. The Wentworth Track itself is about a 1 hour walk and a popular tourist hot spot. The views a spectacular and well worth the visit.

Wentworth Falls
If you're a mad walker/hiker and want to know about all the tracks and trails visit the Blue Mountains National Parks website.
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Blue Mountains
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