I meant to write this post in April when we returned from the Blue Mountains… but somehow it has taken me until August to do it. Whoops! The last four months have been busy, I guess.
Anyway, this past April we spent a week in the charming town of Leura in the Blue Mountains. This was our third visit to the Blue Mountains: our first was in 2010 during our first trip to Australia, and our second was in 2016 as part of our round the world adventure (read more here). Both of those two previous trips were brief, and both were camping trips. This time we were really happy to return for a longer visit, to stay in a house, to get to know the village of Leura, and to explore some new areas we hadn’t seen previously.
It was a beautiful time to visit the Blue Mountains as the weather was such a contrast to still-summery Byron — it was really autumnal in the mountains with beautiful changing leaves and crisp mornings. In retrospect, we were lucky to be able to go during a year when a pandemic has had such an effect on travel plans (I write this whilst in lockdown due to another Covid outbreak in NSW– any travel at all now seems inconceivable!).
It was both an adventurous and restful week with lots of walking adventures in the mornings, followed by cosy afternoons at the house, reading books, doing crafts, playing games and cooking meals. Here are some of the highlights:
- We returned to our favourite walk: Wentworth Falls walking trail. The views along this walk are breathtaking!
- We went and checked out Mini Haha Falls in Katoomba. It was a pretty short walk, which led us to a beautiful swimming hole and waterfall. The water was cold, but that didn’t stop the older kids from swimming!
- Leura Cascades is a family-friendly spot with a picnic area and a short walk to Leura Cascades. If you walk to the lower cascades, it will take you to Bridal Veil Falls lookout to see the falls up close. (Some bits of this walk were closed, so we had to follow detours, but it was still a pretty walk.)
- We returned to Govetts Leap Lookout in Blackheath, a walk we had gone on in 2016 on our previous visit.
- We were on the hunt for ski gear because the boys both had upcoming school ski trips, so we decided to visit all the op-shops in the area (I think we literally went to them all!). The Blackheath Community Op-Shop was our favourite by far. So many goodies in there! (I scored a really cool ceramic vase or 50 cents!) We also liked the Cancer Wellness Op Shop in Katoomba.
- We let the kids each pick out a book from the Megalong Bookstore in Leura, a super charming bookstore in our little village.
- We decided to do something touristy on Quin’s birthday, so we booked to go to Scenic World. Our honest review is that it wasn’t worth the money — the walks we had done on previous days afforded us just as wonderful of views of the mountains (and you don’t have to wait in long queues to enjoy them!). Though the kids did think the scenic railway (the world’s steepest passenger train) was quite cool.
- We picked up delicious bread from the Black Cockatoo Bakery in Katoomba each day. On our way down out of the Blue Mountains, we stopped at the Black Cockatoo in Lawson for coffee and treats and everything was so yum — the cinnamon scroll from here was next level!
- We tried to do most of our food shopping at the Food Co-Op in Katoomba.
- We went for breakfast at the Sorensen’s Glasshouse.
- We went out for dinner on Quin’s birthday for pizza from Napoli Corner in Lawson.
- We grabbed coffee from Kickaboom cafe in Glenbrook.
- We did eat lunch at the Leura Garage, but we were underwhelmed. (Saying this, we are so spoiled with amazing food in Byron so we are tough customers!)
- We were invited by the owners of Umtala House to come and stay in their home. We knew we’d like the house based on the photos, but we loved it even more in person! The location was perfect — within walking distance of Leura village, which is such a charming little town. The house was super stylish yet cosy and family-friendly with everything you can possibly need for a family stay. We loved cooking in the big kitchen. The kids had fun playing in the garden and the cubby house. There are a few different hangout zones, so there was always a quiet spot to curl up with a book or watch a movie. I enjoyed looking through the beautiful coffee table books and the selection of cookbooks. The kids loved their bedrooms. It was really the perfect home away from home for us!