Go bushwalking on some of the most beautiful tracks you will find anywhere. There are maps and guidebooks in the cottage. (Bring your trekking boots, backpack, Gore Tex jacket and water bottle.) You can visit the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre on Govetts Leap Road for expert advice on walking trails and things to do. There is a lovely, paved, easy walking track from the Heritage Centre to the George Phillips lookout over the dramatic canyon of the Grose Valley.
The Pulpit Rock lookout (track branches to the right near the bottom of Hat Hill Road) is breathtaking. Later in the afternoon the sunlight on the cliff faces opposite turns them a particular shade of pink.
In the warmer months, the Blackheath Pool in its garden setting is very close by in Prince Edward Street.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mount Tomah are 40 minutes away.
Blackheath has a marvellous one-hatted restaurant, Fumo, with its wood fired baker’s oven – book ahead 02 4787 6899.
The Victory Theatre Antique Centre and Café draws treasure hunters from all over. Locals are very proud of the 1915 art deco building with its Jenny Kee mural on the side.
There is a great Growers Market in Blackheath held on the second Sunday of each month from February to December. It’s held in the Blackheath Community Centre at the top left of Hat Hill Road, on the highway.
If you arrive by train, head straight over to the Blackheath General Store on the Highway for a bowl of their restorative home-made soup and excellent coffee. Next door the Piedmont Inn makes a great pizza (note they are BYO).
In apple season on weekends from March to end July it’s fun to visit to the Logan Brae Orchard, on Shipley Road, Blackheath. They sell delicious juice, apple pies, preserves and, of course, fresh apples!
Blackheath has an annual spring Rhododendron Festival in early November. You can also visit the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens in Bacchante Street for a picnic amongst a colourful display of rhodos and azaleas.
Blackheath is lucky to have its own excellent independent book store, Gleebooks, just next to The Victory.
Mount Vic Flicks in Mount Victoria (10 minutes further up the highway) is a fun independent cinema experience in a 1930s hall with homemade soup and choc tops on offer.
It’s only an hour to the amazing Jenolan Caves (be sure to book your cave tour online before heading there).
The Black Cockatoo Bakery in Lawson now distributes its sourdough bread and pastries throughout the Mountains. You may like to stop in on the way up the highway (check their opening hours). They also have an adorable shop at 130 Katoomba St, Katoomba. Don’t leave it too late to go there. I love their Emmer loaf and the cinnamon buns are fab.
Sorensens Glasshouse in Leura is a delightful place to linger for a coffee or light lunch. Garden lovers will also want to visit the National Trust listed Everglades with its garden designed in the 1930s by the Danish-born Paul Sorensen.
Scenic World at Katoomba has a breathtaking (literally!) cable car ride down into the Jamison Valley with fabulous views of the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock and Mt Solitary. Each Autumn they put on a wonderful sculpture exhibition in the ancient rainforest, which is not to be missed.
It’s worth seeing what exhibition is on at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in Katoomba.
For a great wine and specialty food store, stop in at the Carrington Cellars and Deli next door.
The Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath is one of the area’s most famous landmarks and the hotel complex has a rich history and fabulous views of the Megalong Valley.
We enjoy driving home to Sydney along The Darling Causeway from Mount Victoria and then down the Bells Line of Road to Bilpin to the very congenial New Apple Bar for a steak or pizza.
Blue Mountains Past
The Blue Mountains were formed over a million years ago. The 'Blue' part of their name comes from the blue haze that cloaks the mountain range. The haze is formed by light catching tiny droplets of eucalyptus oil that emanate from the thick forests of trees.
The land was traditionally inhabited by the Indigenous Australian Darug tribe. (Vibrant Indigenous rock art can be can be seen at The Red Hands Cave in Glenbrook.) In 1813 the explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson hacked across dense scrub to cross the Mountains and make their mark on a tree just west of Katoomba. Governor Macquarie named Blackheath in 1815. Over the last 100 years the Blue Mountains has become a much-loved year-round destination for Australian and overseas tourists.