Blue Mountains’ restaurants with the best view
The Blue Mountains is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. But if you’re visiting for an indulgent weekend, you can still enjoy the views, whether you’re visiting Katoomba, Leura or Medlow Bath.
You only need to travel an hour from Sydney to immerse yourself in 11,400 square kilometres of World Heritage-listed wilderness. The Blue Mountains unite staggering sandstone cliffs, rainforest-clad valleys cooled by waterfalls, and dramatic gorges with Aboriginal art dating back tens of thousands of years. And for every escarpment, lookout or clifftop, a restaurant or bar is poised nearby to deliver scene-stealing views.
Whether in charming historic villages or surrounded by native forest, and whether you’re in search of fine dining or a casual fireside meal, here are four places to visit for the food – and linger for the outlook.
Best for a true bird’s-eye view: Beyond Skyway, Katoomba
Perched atop the roof of the Scenic Skyway, 270m above the rainforest canopy of the Jamison Valley and more than 300m from the edge of the cliffs, the only sound you’ll hear will be your own pounding heart. Or maybe the screech of a black cockatoo as they fly beneath the cable car, suspended in mid-air.
The Beyond Skyway experience at Scenic World in Katoomba launched in 2022. The cable car stops in the middle of the gorge, a rooftop hatch opens and (after donning appropriate safety gear), you can climb out to sit on a picnic rug or wooden benches and admire the 360-degree view. Keep warm with a hot chocolate as you look out over the Three Sisters, Katoomba Waterfall and the endless rolling peaks of the Blue Mountains National Park.
You’ll get to spend around 30 minutes on top of the cable car and the experience is limited to just four people at a time. Once back inside, you can toast your bravery with a glass of champagne.
Best for sky high high tea: Wintergarden, Medlow Bath
The village of Medlow Bath has been attracting the who’s who for more than a century, with sybarites and socialites alike checking into the Hydro Majestic Hotel from the moment it opened in 1904. Following a six-year top-to-tail makeover back in 2014, the grand dame of the Blue Mountains reopened with a trio of restaurants and bars: The Boilerhouse and Wintergarden are highlights, both offering soul-salving views of the Megalong Valley. Wintergarden celebrates the glamour of the hotel’s heyday in its daily high tea, which sees a parade of dapper waiters serving tiered platters of goodies, from requisite finger sandwiches and scones to petite cakes and macarons – best paired with a pot of Earl Grey and a flute of champagne.
It’s easy to overindulge but thankfully, a number of walking trails traverse the Medlow Bath area nearby. The Coachwood Glen Nature Trail meanders through the Megalong Valley, the short loop taking you over rivers and through rainforest. If that sounds like too much effort, head to Tuckers Lookout instead, for a lofty perspective of the landscape.
Best for clifftop fine dining: Echoes Restaurant & Bar, Katoomba
With its precipitous clifftop perch at Echo Point, Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant enjoys one of the most spellbinding settings in Katoomba. Most rooms and the fragrant gardens offer panoramic views over the Jamison Valley, as do the sun-filled rooftop restaurant and bar.
Begin your meal with a cocktail on the patio, which extends out to the very edge of the clifftop. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mittagong, more than 80km away in the Southern Highlands. In the dining room, the delicate dishes on the plate will be the only thing that can compete with the view. Echoes specialises in modern Australian food with an Asian twist, so expect dishes like pan-seared scallops with sambal and yuzu, kangaroo tataki with a ponzu sauce or confit duck Maryland with taro root puree.
The Three Sisters are within easy reach of Echoes, with more of those heart-stopping vistas from both a lookout and short walking trail. Be humbled by these ancient stone sentinels that have faithfully stood watch over the valley for thousands of years.
Best for fireplaces & families: Embers, Leura
You’ll be left in awe by the setting of the Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains Its rooms and facilities sprawling across manicured gardens on the cusp of the Jamison Valley. Photo opportunities abound, particularly in the Embers restaurant where soaring cathedral-style windows frame your outlook. Dining here is casual and cosy, especially if you reserve a table near the fireplace.
Order burgers, pizzas or pastas, then explore the expansive grounds, which include the oldest golf course in the Blue Mountains, the Leura Golf Club. The 18 holes offer plenty of challenges, not least the shot-distracting panoramas over the deep gorge.
From here it’s a five-minute drive into Leura. Everglades House & Gardens is characterised by its cool-climate floral bounty – azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias – which (in season) colour the 5.2-hectare grounds of the grand art deco home; today it’s fitted with a gallery and tearoom with sweeping views all the way to Mount Solitary.
Best for a taste of history: Darleys, Katoomba
Set inside the original Lilianfels House, built in the late 1880s, Darleys is old fashioned fine dining at its best. Thick tablecloths, plush chairs, embossed crockery and twinkling chandeliers give a sense of genteel luxury. In winter, diners will be warmed by the roaring fire. In summer, request a seat in the wraparound glass sunroom where the light streams in from every angle. Through the huge windows, you’ll look out on the historic formal English garden that surrounds the house and then onto the rugged escarpment of the Jamison Valley.
The three-course modern Australian menu features dishes like wood-fired pork belly, butter poached Murray cod, pine-smoked beetroot pastrami and charcoal grilled wagyu beef. There’s a focus on local, with many ingredients sourced from within 100 miles of the restaurant, and a number of native ingredients on the menu from warrigal greens and wild rosella to housemade wattle seed sourdough bread.