The Hobart

Blue Mountains Weekender

by Stephanie Williams
Blue Mountains Weekender

On a recent trip to Sydney we decided to tack a few extra days on and explore the Blue Mountains. It had been a while between visits and we were surprised to find a whole host of new, creative busi­nesses and experiences to enjoy.

Experience To start our time in the mountains we stopped at the National Parks & Wildlife Service Heritage Centre. We picked up maps and ideas, then popped on some Oculus Rift VR Goggles to enjoy a virtual trip in Claustral Canyon, one of the area’s most remote and spectacular canyons.

Trying the VR experience at the NPWS Heritage Centre

The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is in the heart of Katoomba. There’s a cafe and a beautiful gift shop, but we went for the Into the Blue permanent World Heritage exhibition. In a darkened room we were immersed in giant projections, maps and films to learn more about the significance of this ancient landscape. There’s also visiting exhibitions and an excellent library.

You have to experience Scenic World at least once in your life. This was my first time there with kids, and boarding the Scenic Railway (at a very, very steep 52 degrees), I didn’t realise I’d have to hold onto our youngest so tight! The descent was super steep and then after a fun boardwalk we hopped on the steepest aerial cable car in the southern hemi­sphere to come back up.

Eat and Drink Tempus Katoomba is run by front of house star Baden Evans and chef Jason Cole, and is an expression of modern Australian food focused on here and now. It’s exciting and excellent – charred veg­etables, classic flavours but with modern influences and a cracking wine list focused on NSW. It’s open as a cafe (with great coffee), then rejigged for dinner service, Friday to Monday.

Blackheath is a cute little village at the far end of the Blue Mountains. Blaq Restaurant, at Kyah Boutique Hotel, takes village life to the next, cool, level with a huge pink marble bar, leather chairs, black wood heaters and soaring white ceilings. The food showcases hyper-local produce plucked straight from the Blaq garden under executive chef Mate Herceg.

Dinner at Tempus Katoomba

Mountain Culture Brewery in Katoomba have their beer on every list we see (and in some shops back in Hobart) so it’s interesting to pop into their Brewpub. While most of the beer is brewed at their Emu Plains facility, there’s the obligatory fermenters on display, as well as street art, timber furniture and warehouse vibes.

For a quick pitstop or to pack a picnic, grab a sandwich made fresh to order at Altitude sandwich shop in Blackheath. Or linger over a cuppa with high tea among 11,000 tea pots at Bygone Beautys. It’s quirky and probably best for adults and older children.

Blaq Restaurant

Stay Kyah Boutique Hotel is what happens when fresh Blue Mountains air collides with Palm Springs-inspired design. It exudes warmth and cool at the same time. Our suite included an extra room with bunks and an activity table for the kids. There’s also a tennis court, honesty shop, beautifully landscaped grounds and of course Blaq restaurant and bar.

The Hotel Mountain Heritage is in the midst of change (renovations are set to commence in 2023) but this charming hotel has spectacular views over Katoomba and the Jamison Valley. Our room was the perfect family set up, with separate rooms, kitchen, views and a spa bath. Dinner and breakfast can be enjoyed inhouse at Jamison Views restaurant.

The writer was a guest of Blue Mountains Tourism.

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June 2024

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