10 ways to feel rejuvenated in the Blue Mountains
It’s not just the crisp mountain air that makes you feel alive in the Blue Mountains. Its stunning landscapes and heritage villages offer countless ways to stimulate your senses.
Picnic by a waterhole
Plunging into one of the Blue Mountains’ waterholes is a great way to cool off on a hot day, but no matter the season, relaxing by the calm, bush-fringed waters is always a pleasure. Feel the tension ebb away as you picnic by the shores of Jellybean Pool at Glenbrook or the nearby Blue Pool, where you might even spot a freshwater turtle.
Connect with First Nations culture
Six separate Nations have their home in the Blue Mountains: the Dharug, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri, Wanaruah, Darkinjung and Tharawal. Learn about these ancient cultures by visiting Red Hands Cave, where the vivid rock paintings date back between 500 and 1,600 years, or spend the day with Indigenous guide Evan Yanna Muru of Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout to discover sacred sites, taste bush food and hear Dreamtime stories.
Savour a local shiraz
It’s not just the cool climate wines that will dazzle you at Dryridge Estate. The acclaimed Megalong Valley winery, just a 30-minute drive from Blackheath, has a jaw-dropping view of the surrounding sandstone escarpments. Relax on the alfresco terrace with a grazing platter, try one of the Dryridge “family” wines – think the ‘Eva’ chardonnay, ‘Alexander’ pinot noir or ‘Harry’ sangiovese – and soak in the panoramic vista.
Take a deep breath
The Blue Mountains National Park has more than 140 kilometres of tracks and trails where you can breathe deep and inhale the eucalyptus while bellbirds trill in the trees. There’s a walk to suit every level of fitness, like the Cliff Top walking track, which follows the cliff edge from Govetts Leap lookout to Evans lookout and offers panoramic views over the iconic Grose Valley. Passing through dense, windswept heathland, you’ll see she-oaks, banksias and stunted mallee scrub. Make sure to check if the tracks are open on the National Parks NSW website prior to visiting.
Reach for the stars
Marvel at the wonders of the cosmos on an awe-inspiring night-sky experience with Blue Mountains Stargazing. You’ll be amazed at how much you can see in the mountain skies using powerful telescopes. Your astrophysicist guide will explain all the wonders on show, from distant galaxies and nebulae to our neighbouring planets.
Get cosy in Katoomba
Founded in 1879, Katoomba is one of the oldest villages in the Blue Mountains and, with its vintage shops, cool bars and gourmet delis, one of its most alluring. The Metropole Guesthouse has a central location and lovely Art Deco details: climb the period staircase and settle into an antique armchair in one of the cosy guest lounges to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Or nab one of the leather couches in the library and challenge a fellow guest to a game of chess.
Stroll through a heritage garden
Wander through the five-hectare Everglades Historic House & Gardens in Leura and find a surprise at every turn. You might feel like you’ve entered your own secret garden as you explore bluebell woodlands, rhododendron walks, stonewalled flowerbeds and magnificently framed valley views. The hardest part of the journey? Trying to decide which picturesque spot to choose for your picnic. Don’t leave without exploring the Art Deco interiors of Everglades House.
Be inspired by street art
The perfect backdrop for your next selfie, follow Katoomba’s laneways to find an extraordinary collection of vibrant murals along the Street Art Walk trail. This outdoor gallery features the work of local and international artists, including everything from comical characters to detailed aerosol portraits, some of which stand two storeys high.
Go wild in a natural playground
The Blue Mountains’ dramatic sandstone cliffs and rugged valleys make a perfect playground for adventure lovers. From scrambling over boulders to abseiling down waterfalls, a canyoning trip with Blue Mountains Adventure Company gets your adrenaline going and lets you explore some of the most untouched parts of the mountains, where fern-fringed creeks rush through ancient canyons.
Soak your cares away
It’s not just the healing powers of mineral-rich hot spring water that makes a traditional bathhouse experience so soothing: it’s the time-honoured rituals that are designed to help you slow down. At the Japanese Bath House in Bowenfels, soak in indoor and outdoor onsen pools – fed by natural springs 300m underground – before treating yourself to a massage and ending with Japanese tea and snacks in the tea house.