The postcard worthy Blue Mountains are the backdrop for a bunch of innovative creatives, who’ve established galleries, eateries, bars and breweries. Grab a group of friends and spend a day discovering some of the region’s most unexpected attractions.
Morning: Fuel up for a walk to remember
Start the day stocking up on some of the Blue Mountain’s best fare — This Little Piggy Deli in Blackheath is the perfect one-stop spot to cure snack cravings and fill your picnic baskets. What to order? Perhaps a wedge of Crozier blue with artisan lavosh. Maybe a Colombian coffee and slice of just-baked mud cake. Definitely a loaf of Bilpin sourdough and thinly sliced cold cuts. The deli also does a great line of ready-to-go meals such as soul-warming soups, risottos and pies. Take them home for later, or spread a picnic rug on the ground, share it all between friends and breathe in those World Heritage-listed views.
Once the crew have had their fill, get your bodies moving and experience the landscapes the mountains are famed for. One of the most spectacular walks, the 6km Cliff Top walking track departs from Govetts Leap, where nature’s drama unfolds in a series of sandstone escarpments, sheer cliffs, deep canyons and thundering waterfalls. With the sun coming from the east, it's an ideal trail on winter mornings. Keep your eyes peeled and you might be rewarded with the sight of a yellow-tailed black cockatoo or king parrot as you hike through the dense heathland.
Afternoon: Local brews and artistic views
A 1.8km wilderness trek is thirsty work. Set the GPS for Katoomba and grab a drink at local brewery Mountain Culture Beer Co.. Get your hands on a Poppin’ Pilsner or Be Kind Rewind NEIPA… owners DJ and Harriet McCready do love a whimsical beer name. (And the cans are more works of art than drinking vessels – collectors regularly queue up to get the latest kaleidoscopic creation.) It’s hard to go past the Moon Dust Stout, which combines deliciously smooth cocoa and coffee notes with a hint of creamy caramel. Meanwhile, the Scenic Route – Session Hazy is juicy with a citrus kick. If the sun’s out, pull up a few stools on the deck or, if the weather’s nippy, find a table in the brewpub’s historic 1912 home, then order burgers all round and settle in to sip the range.
Now that you’re all fed and watered, spark your creativity just a 10-minute stroll away at Katoomba’s Beverly Place. Here, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole straight into a fantastical world where street art scrapes the sky. The locale is Katoomba’s alfresco arts hub, where buildings are adorned with eye-popping murals. Big and small and continually evolving, the creations by local and international street artists overlap in a patchwork of colour, each telling a different story – like Melbourne-based Matt Adnate’s Wagana Dancer mural, capturing the intense gaze of an Indigenous performer. At Mandy Schöne-Salter’s floral explosion, have your phone poised to grab a snap in front of her bundle of blooms, a cornucopia of canary yellow and baby blue with pops of purple. Schöne-Salter is also the artistic force behind a number of cut-outs of people pasted throughout Beverly Place.
Keep the art trail going at Galleryone88 Fine Arts, a sun-kissed multi-storey space in Katoomba showcasing paintings and prints via a dynamic roster of exhibits. This creative hub also celebrates local musicians — come back at night to experience the co-located Pigeon Lane, an intimate performing arts space that transports you straight to New York City. All exposed brick and red velvet curtains, this is the place for live gigs – whether classical violin solos or modern guitar jams – accompanied by a two-course meal prepared by Victor Peralta, your chef and the gallery’s curator.
Evening: Smoked meats and high spirits
End your big day with a hearty meal at The , where the menu is full of delectable smoked meats inspired by Cajun and Southern American cuisine – think pulled pork, brisket and full racks of pork ribs, served with slaw, pickles and corn. There’s plenty of creative cocktails on offer – try the Up in Smoke with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Ardberg 10-year-old scotch, fortified wine hickory smoked maple syrup and black walnut bitters – plus whisky and gin flights. Order a colourful teapot flight featuring Blue Mountains gin made by local distillery Karu, and if you want to take a souvenir home, drop by the distillery to pick up a complex gin with layers of lemon myrtle and ruby grapefruit or the chipotle vodka with zesty lime and a hit of spice, a 90-minute drive away on the scenic route back to the city.
Let us do the planning for you!
Let us do the planning for you!
For more hidden gems in the Blue Mountains, check out this one-day itinerary.