Living a stone’s throw from Sydney’s most famous beach, it’s all-too-easy to stay immersed in the Bondi bubble at the weekend, and certainly more of an effort than I’m usually prepared to make to go beyond the Eastern Suburbs, which covers my favourite parts of the city – from the wonderful Watson’s Bay to the more lively beachside suburb of Coogee.
However, if in need of a break from the ample beaches on offer, the endless sunset drinks and the alluring beach boutiques with treats-a-plenty, there’s nowhere better to set your sights on than the beautiful Blue Mountains.
The perfect destination for nature-lovers, adventure-seekers and amateur walkers alike, the Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales, a short train ride from the city centre. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens. Katoomba, a major town in the area, borders Blue Mountains National Park and affords its visitors panoramic view of the wilderness, waterfalls, valleys and rugged sandstone tablelands by cablecar or the famous scenic railway, while nearby Echo Point offers views of the storied Three Sisters sandstone rock formation.
I spent the day in the Blue Mountains with my friend Scarlett last February, and upon arriving we came across the most beautiful of bookshops – Mr Pickwick’s Fine Old Books – an antiquarian and general bookstore sitting in the heart of Katoomba. The kind of place I could happily pass a day in, Scarlett eventually had to bribe me away so we could begin our expedition.
The entire region has a bygone and nostalgic feel to it; from the dusty bookstore, to the tea-shop where we lunched, to the sleepy tree-lined streets that we wandered along in search of the next view point.
The best thing about the Blue Mountains – aside from its breath-taking views – is that, as a visitor, you can take everything at your own pace. Whether you want to spend a week in the wilderness and do some serious hiking, or simply amble along at your own pace and enjoy a day in the mountain air, the Blue Mountains offer the perfect slice of calm away from the chaos of the city.
For more information on visiting the Blue Mountains, click here.