Road Trippers’ Spotlight: Sydney’s Beautiful Blue Mountains
Two hours to the west of Sydney, bathed in a mystical blue-green haze, lies the picturesque range of the Blue Mountains. For those travel enthusiasts with a bucket list of Australian must-see destinations, car hire from Sydney to visit the beautiful Blue Mountains is an absolute must. From the artsy small villages of Springwood and Leura to vibrant Katoomba and beyond, the Blue Mountains offers an abundance of cultural and gourmet delights, all within driving distance of Sydney in your Orana hire car.
There’s almost too much to see and do once you hire your car from Sydney and get to the Blue Mountains. If breath-taking views are your thing, be sure to take the Scenic Skyway tour at Scenic World in Katoomba. This cable car glides 270 metres above the mountain ranges of Katoomba Falls and Jamison Valley. You’ll also get a fantastic birds-eye view of Echo Point and Mount Solitary, and the see-through flooring will allow you to fully appreciate the wonder of Katoomba’s iconic rock formation, The Three Sisters.
Fancy a hike? This area is renowned for its gorgeous bushwalks and trails. Just a stone’s throw from Scenic world, The Ruined Castle walk starts at a place called The Golden Stairs, sounding as much like a fairy-tale experience as it really is. You’ll encounter lush rainforests, clifftop views and the abundant Blue Mountains wildlife such as the lyrebird will greet you as you pass. The next day, try the Six Foot Track or a trip out to experience the natural wonder of the Jenolan Caves.
After an experience less active? Nestle into one of the Blue Mountains’ beautiful historic grand hotels such as the Hydro Majestic or the Carrington Hotel. A monument to stunning art deco architecture, these hotels make you wish you were born in a grander, more distant era. Even Baz Luhrmann filmed part of his Hollywood epic ‘The Great Gatsby’ up the road at Mount Wilson, with its lush gardens and gorgeous old homes. For something just as special, stop over at one of the Blue Mountains’ elegant boutique hotels, such as Lilianfels at Leura, or Echoes at Katoomba.
Want to sample the best gourmet delights? Book dinner at Leura Falls’ most coveted restaurant Solitary, in its heritage-listed cottage setting overlooking the Jamison Valley. For hand-picked produce and samples, pop into the Blackheath Growers Markets then stop by at nearby bohemian café Anonymous for a brownie that’ll knock your socks off. For those who live and breathe all things caffeinated, a visit to Dbl Ristretto in Springwood will bring exquisite pleasures – each coffee begins with a double ristretto shot and every week, the café features a different
single origin coffee roaster. For atmosphere, great coffee and scones served in a flowerpot, try the Wayzgoose Café in Leura, set on location in the old historic print works building.
For a shopping experience like no other, spend a lazy afternoon (or weekend!) exploring Katoomba’s main street and tucked-away arcades. From vintage emporiums to thrift shops, bohemian clothing to one-of-a-kind homeware, Katoomba dares you not to take a little something back home with you. Just up the road, Leura’s old-style Candy Shop will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Willy Wonka film. On that same street, the wonderful Leura Toy Shop, with its colourful selection of modern and vintage-style toys, is a magical shopping experience, sure to make you wish you could go back in time and live your childhood all over again.
Enjoy pottering in the garden? Check out the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens, in bloom from September to November. Got an eye for art? Spend some time at the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum at Faulconbridge. Like pulling rabbits out of hats? Katoomba’s Winter Magic Festival brings artists, magicians and street performers together for a parade and party against its best and prettiest wintry mountains backdrop.
It’s bucket list material for sure, the beautiful Blue Mountains. You can grab your Orana hire car, drive out of Sydney and be there in an hour and a half. Best of all, if you head west at the right time, you can watch the sun set into a gorgeous haze of blue-green mist as you drive. And that’s a sight that’s unforgettable, and just as magical as the Blue Mountains experience itself