Luxury Escapes Guide to the Blue Mountains
Covering more than 3,861 square miles of beauty, the Blue Mountains invite bushland trekking, underground cave exploration and farm-fresh produce with a high-end twist.
Things to see and do
Hunt down the best lookouts
The Blue Mountains must be one of the most scenic places on Earth, with breathtaking views around each corner. Feel on top of the world at one of the area’s many lookouts, which can also be used as the starting point for longer walks. Some favourites include Lincoln Rock (particularly beautiful at sunset), the famous Three Sisters at Echo Point, Govetts Leap (accessible by car or part of multiple walking tracks) and Evans Lookout, also accessible by car and a starting and finishing point for many popular hikes.
Get an adrenaline rush with abseiling and canyoning
Thrillseekers can get their adrenaline hit with canyoning, abseiling and rock-climbing adventures. The Blue Mountains Adventure Company specialises in adrenaline-fuelled activities and even offers family-friendly canyoning for participants as young as six. Or check out five-time TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner High and Wild, which helps guests abseil through waterfalls and brave towering rock faces – with a much-need gourmet lunch provided. Some of the most popular trips include canyoning at Beautiful Juggler Canyon – graded moderate, with relatively easy access – and the full-day rock climbing course, which focuses on perfecting techniques across various sites in the Blue Mountains.
Take a ride on the Scenic Skyway
Glide between clifftops in the comfort of a cable car aboard the Scenic Skyway, taking you on a 720-metre journey with unbeatable views of Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters and Jamison Valley. Suspended 270 metres above the ground, you’ll admire ravines and rainforest through the electro-glass cabin floor. Feeling a little unsteady? Solid floor and seating are also available. Become part of history on Australia’s first cable car, which has been operating since 1958. The current cabin is Swiss made and was launched in 2017, carrying 84 passengers – now making it the largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Blue Mountains region boasts an abundance of waterfalls that lend a stunning fairytale-like backdrop to your hikes. Wentworth Falls is one of the best known and makes the perfect starting point for a half-day waterfall walk. Beginning at the Wentworth Falls car park, this is a steep and energetic hike – it takes four to five hours to cover just 5km – but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Red Rock Falls, Brittania Falls, Flat Rock Falls, Lodore Falls, Sylvania Falls and Empress Falls.
Discover 140 kilometres of walking tracks
Both experienced hikers and leisurely strollers will be in their element in the Blue Mountains – with walks to suit all ages and abilities, there’s no excuse not to embrace the outdoors. The Leura Cascades track offers picture-perfect backdrops and picnic spots, while Hassans Walls Lookout is the highest in the Blue Mountains at 1,100m above sea level and offers views of Mounts Wilson, York, Tarana and Blaxland. Other favourites include the easy Jellybean Track down to the refreshing Jellybean pool, the gentle 7km Prince Henry Cliff Track that connects to Echo Point and Leura Cascades, Echo Point to Scenic World via the Giant Stairway, and the iconic Three Sisters walk.
Entertain the kids at Cables Wake & Aqua Park
Located in Penrith, at the foot of the Blue Mountains, this is a fantastic option for anyone travelling with kids and teens (or the young at heart!). The professional team here can coach anyone, from beginner to experienced, in wakeboarding, knee-boarding and waterskiing. Kids aged six years and over can be let loose in the Aqua Park, a collection of inflatable slides, runways and jumping pillows, while kids under six can enjoy the free wet play area. Sheltered BBQ and picnic areas are available throughout the park, so bring a packed lunch.
Get to know the area’s history on a Walkabout tour
The Blue Mountains’ rich history is best explored on an Aboriginal Walkabout tour. These tours, led by Aboriginal owners and guides, help visitors learn about the land by following a songline (or Dreaming track) of sacred sites. Take a guided walk via beautiful rainforests, while admiring rock art, ceremonial sites and Dreamtime stories along the way. Other historical landmarks worth visiting include the Norman Lindsay Gallery, celebrating the controversial artist’s work, and the Everglades House & Gardens, a heritage home set amid five hectares of graceful gardens.
See the highlights on a bespoke tour
With an area as vast as the Blue Mountains, it can be hard to know where to start – which is why it can be great to let an expert lead the way. Tread Lightly Eco Tours specialise in fully guided bush walks and 4WD eco tours that have minimal impact on nature. As environmental specialists, they help visitors gain access to remote parts of the Blue Mountains — allowing you to explore the ecology, fauna and flora of the region. Freeland Hiking Co tours are all inclusive, meaning any gear you may need, Blue Mountains hotel transfers and all food and snacks are included in the price. The one-day Blue Mountains Explorer tour covers Three Sisters, Mount Solitary, Jamison Valley and a ride on the Scenic Skyway. If you’re a lone wolf who just wants a bit of guidance, try the Blue Mountains Explorer hop-on-hop-off bus, which will take you to the biggest sites, letting you linger as long as you wish at each one.
Visit Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
This stunning garden in the heart of the Blue Mountains is the result of over 200 years dedicated to studying and documenting native plants, beginning with naturalist George Caley in 1804. The garden officially opened to the public in 1987 and now boasts a showcase of local and imported cool-climate plants and alpine rainforest, spread across 28 hectares of immaculately curated garden. Stroll through this tranquil oasis at leisure or join one of the educational tours and walks, maybe even spotting local birds along the way.
Top places to eat and drink
Red Door Cafe
If you’re driving from Sydney, this cute little café is the perfect place to drop into for breakfast. The coffee is a local favourite and there’s a shaded courtyard for warmer days and those bringing pets, with furry friends more than welcome in the outdoor area. You can expect all the usual brunch dishes such as scrambled eggs, sausages and French toast, plus delicious toasted Turkish bread sandwiches. The emphasis here is on healthier options, with standout dishes including zucchini and feta fritters, and smoked rainbow trout salad.
Silk’s Brasserie is an absolute must-visit. Located in the heart of historic Leura village, Silk’s has offered fine dining since 1994 and is renowned for its warm service, great lunch specials and outstanding food. Expect white tablecloths and high ceilings, plus a menu of fresh seafood, local meats and seasonal vegetables. We highly recommend the pan-seared scallops, lightly peppered lamb backstrap fillet with rosemary jus, and decadent chocolate mousse served with Belgian white chocolate ice cream. Just remember to book ahead – this place fills up quickly.
A converted mechanic, the utterly unconventional Leura Garage is an award-winning restaurant with serious eco credentials. It was awarded two Master Builder Awards for its environmentally responsible conversion, utilising solar panels and rooftop glass tubes with warm water for underfloor heating. The industrial-chic interior includes fun touches like bottle-filled crates suspended from the ceiling and shelves of potted plants. Everything on the menu is locally sourced and seriously delicious, from the 10-hour, slow-cooked pulled pork bun to the share-size pizzas. A gold medal winner at Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards, the selection of wine is also outstanding and includes plenty of local and imported tipples.
This intimate 35-seat restaurant in Blackheath takes its inspiration from Asia, boasting a chef-hatted menu of exotic delights. The selection of dishes is carefully curated and includes Maryland duck, Sri Lankan vegetable coconut curry and roasted ocean trout. The flavours are exquisite and the presentation immaculate. Rustic aromas from the slow-cook oven and attentive service lend a cosy, intimate feel to this one-of-a-kind restaurant, while the immaculately executed dishes showcase the passion and attention to detail that make Fumo so special.
Located within the historic Hydro Majestic hotel, the Wintergarden restaurant offers award-winning dining overlooking the Megalong Valley. The decadent high tea menu is particularly popular (bookings essential) — start with a flute of fine sparkling wine or cocktail, then indulge in savoury delights such as tacos and dumplings, followed by a selection of handcrafted desserts. The tea selection is incredible and includes Chinese tea blossom, a delicate flower that unfurls in your cup to release its aroma. It’s also a fantastic spot for dinner, with an evening menu that includes sumptuous dishes such as pan-seared duck with miso broth and butter poached lobster tail.
A firm local favourite since it opened its doors in 2004, Restaurant Como was awarded the Good Food Guide’s Chefs Hat award for 10 consecutive years between 2008 and 2017. Located in a grand historic house in Katoomba, the restaurant updates its menu frequently to focus on seasonal produce. Chef Adam’s degustation menu offers 10 unmissable courses, with a matching wine flight available. Sample dishes include delicate zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and sundried tomato, slow-cooked black garlic and rosemary pork belly, and delectable white chocolate panacotta.
Degustation dining at Darley’s Restaurant
Dining at Darley’s is an absolute must-do when visiting the Blue Mountains. With stunning views across the historic formal gardens of Lilianfels Resort and Spa and the escarpment of Jamison Valley, the main dining room offers an exquisite setting of ornate fireplaces and crystal chandeliers. The degustation menu uses largely local ingredients to craft dishes such as Japanese-spiced scallops, wagyu ribeye and duck liver parfait with mulberry jam. We highly recommend adding the matched wines to round out this incredible experience.
Enjoy a VIP vineyard experience at De Beaurepaire
What could be better than sipping a premium glass of wine with a spectacular Blue Mountains backdrop? De Beaurepaire estate in Rylstone offers both in abundance, plus a distinctive French flair. The first vine was planted in 1998, and over time the winemakers expanded to yield grapes that produced Winestate Magazine’s 2018 Australian Wine of the Year. The signature Vigneron Experience is truly special, helping you get under the skin of the boutique producer’s award-winning, French-style wines. Join founder Richard or Amanda de Beaurepaire for a private guided vineyard walk, admiring over 10,000 vines as you learn about the estate’s heritage. A VIP wine tasting follows, with a chance to try the range of sparkling, rosé, red and sweet wines. Finally, pick a glass of your favourite and relax with a grazing box to share with someone special on the cellar door lawns.
Get pampered at Lilianfels Day Spa
Treat yourself after days spent hiking with a revitalising experience at Lilianfels Day Spa. The menu offers an extensive list of spa rituals and massage therapies, including hot stone treatments, facials and body wraps. Spa packages range from one hour to a full day of sheer indulgence. Our top pick is the four-hour Signature Treatment, which includes a relaxing hot bath, Turkish exfoliation, organic moor mud wrap, aroma massage, personalised facial and volcanic foot therapy to balance mind, body and soul.
Tailor your escape to the Blue Mountains
Immerse yourself in the Blue Mountains with Luxury Escapes’ hand-picked Experiences. We’ve curated a selection of cultural activities, adrenaline thrills, food adventures and luxury add-ons to help you discover your destination. These Experiences are bookable when you purchase your next escape. Simply select your travel dates and number of travellers for any package, and opt to tailor your escape by selecting the available Experiences.