Tourism

Weekend guide to the Blue Mountains

Tara Harrison

All the places to check out in the Blue Mountains, from a hidden vineyard in the valley to iconic food institutions.

DO:
High on client’s to-do lists when visiting Sydney, its proximity beats out the likes of other popular daytrip destinations Hunter Valley and the Southern Highlands. That’s largely because of its dramatic scenery, historic towns and made for pleasure shopping and eating precincts. This is one way of tackling all three elements in two days.

So imagine, after frequenting the Blue Mountains more times than I could count on my hands, to discover a new and beautiful area. That area is the Megalong Valley, which is a winding downhill drive down, ensconced in cliff escarpments every which way. Continue until you feel you can go no further and you’ll wind up on a dirt road through country paddocks and long grass to find a vineyard there: Dry Ridge Estate Wines. The young husband and wife owners are enigmatic and friendly, having packed up their Bondi life to take up the mantle at this property that offers cheese plates, wine tastings, wine, cottage accommodation as well as a labradoodle cavorting among the vines. The location is the ultimate backdrop for a bottle of wine, but the ambience and personalities of the owners and their dog that make Dry Ridge special.

img_4597 img_4601

Wine ticked off, it’s time for that next indulgence; the massage. Sanctuary Skin and Beauty is found among the book shops, antique stores and homewares of Leura’s high street. Their signature treatment is a hot stone massage, which will rinse off any residual tension from the road trip and the week that came before.

EAT:

Leura Garage is generally heaving with locals and weekenders and day-trippers alike. It’s high vaulted space dishes up city-quality espresso, pizzas, salads and breakfasts, all in generous portions. In a former incarnation it was a mechanical garage. Signature dishes include beef carpaccio with chevre, beetroot puree, candied walnuts and soy balsamic. Locally sourced produce includes lamb from Lithgow Valley, as well as beef and greens from Kanimbula Valley.

Vesta is found on the main street of Blackheath and is a bastion of warmth on a chill night thanks to its huge and 120-year old wood-fired Scotch oven. The focus is on local fare, all regionally sourced. Even the wood they burn is local vintage ironbark. This cooking method is responsible for the quality of the self-styled rustic mountain food, from lamb shoulders to tea smoked trout. There’s also charcuterie to match a welcoming wine list. Even better to suit late night Friday night weekend escapades, Vesta does takeaway. Which means you can order while on the freeway and pick it up hot and fresh for a mountains night in at your bolthole.

If you sleep in, make your way to Victory Café in Blackheath, for they offer those magical three words: all-day breakfast. The café is unpretentious and a olocal institution, frequented by well-known artists in the Mountains.

STAY:

Speaking of boltholes, there are a raft of accommodation options, from classic hotels with golf courses, to quaint bed and breakfasts and self-contained cottages. A new one on the scene offers a rather different experience to your usual country cottage. St Bernard’s Presbytery in Hartley Historic Village is now open for overnight stays. The sandstone cluster of buildings includes St Bernard’s Catholic Church, Hartley Courthouse. Owned by the national parks and wildlife service; that should give you some indication of the history you step into. The large two-tiered building with picket fencing is where you can stay. The sandstone beauty is perpendicular to the church and has only just been converted into accommodation. It’s classic turn of the century architecture, as well as an insight into colonial Australia. The space is large and each region has a door: from the kitchen, the dining room, the lounge and the two bedrooms. The main bedroom has a hefty wooden four poster bed while two single beds are in the adjoining bedroom. The décor is rustic Australiana, with flourishes of wattle and references to the religious history of the balcony. But modern comforts are not overlooked, with a modern bathroom replete with spa tub as well as a new country-style kitchen.

img_4639 img_4638

EXTRA:

Continuing the dig into the Blue Mountain’s history, Everglades Historic House and Gardens represents the art deco period and is a National Trust property owing to its well-preserved garden design and blooms. The gardens have staggering views over the Jamison Valley and Mt Solitary, as well as a reflection pool and a grotto.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

News

“Unfortunately, the world changed”: McGowan suspends WA border reopening indefinitely

The western state will be keeping its borders firmly closed, as Premier Mark McGowan buys more time to bolster citizens against a “flood of the disease”.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Thailand to resume ‘Test & Go’ quarantine waiver from February

Pack your suitcase and ready your sinuses for a holiday in Thailand that promises to greet you with a lovely PCR test.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

AUSSIE FIRST: Accor unveils next gen Mercure Hotels with new Melbourne property

While away your Friday afternoon by perusing through some stunning pictures of Accor’s swanky new-look Mercure in Doncaster.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas threatens to slash cabin crew wages by “almost half” in latest union pay row

by Ali Coulton

The national carrier is once again facing condemnation from unions after applying to scrap its long-haul crew contract in an effort to “push through” a new deal.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Operation nest egg: Air New Zealand helps relocate rare kiwi chicks

The airline is doing gods work by flying these three little cuties to their new home where they were treated to an all-you-can-eat worm buffet.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Say ‘Aloha’ to the Hawaiian Islands and take a trip that gives back

by James Harrison

Check out the beauty, wonder, and excitement of the islands of Hawaii and explore a holiday destination where you can malama.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Crystal Cruises suspends operations as parent company files to windup business

The Hong Kong supercruise operator is winding up operations, leaving the future of its subsidiaries unknown.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Celebrity chef duo Gary Mehigan and Manu Feildel star in new tourism campaign for Japan

The staff at Travel Weekly have been rewatching our favourite anime to reminisce about Japan, but Gary and Manu might appeal to a broader audience than Pokemon reruns.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie tourism took off in December, but remians well below 2019 levels

If these stats are anything to go by, we’ll be back to worrying about overtourism and carbon footprints in no time! Wait…

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

US slaps “do not travel” warning on Australia as Europe tightens border restrictions

The prospect of fewer American tourists milling about at Darling Harbour we can deal with, but if we have to go one more year without a European summer we’re going to go over the deep end.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Union survey reveals transport workers asked to return while COVID positive

Workers who answered the survey, which included passenger transport and aviation workers, are also calling for free RATs. That’s rapid antigen tests, not rodents as we first assumed.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“This isn’t a label we wish to keep”: Intrepid recertified as world’s largest travel B Corp

The tour operator has gone through another extensive company-wide audit to maintain its title, so why is it looking to pass the baton you may ask? Click here.

Share

CommentComments