The Blue Mountains is 90 minutes west of inner Sydney and often feels 90 degrees colder at night, so it’s just as well that there are a few little eateries and bars to sneak into. Still relatively quiet in the evening, the gentile little strip in Leura and Katoomba’s main drag cater for the blue rinse crowd as well as migrating city slickers (at least for the weekend).
Forming part of Accor’s MGallery hotel collection, the Fairmont boasts 210 rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, gardens and a health and recreation centre, suitable for couples and families to relax and unwind. Bookings are recommended for the Sublime Lounge’s weekend high tea, which offers a decadent selection of cakes, sandwiches and local teas.
1 Sublime Point Road, Leura
(02) 4785 0000
Rent a cottage
We recommend renting a house while you’re in Leura. The town offers a variety of quaint bed and breakfast options and self-contained cottages, suitable for families and larger groups. Have a flick through the options here.
Best suited to serious coffee drinkers, Fresh Espresso sources its beans from a variety of destinations including Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi (Indonesia), before roasting and blending at a nearby Leura warehouse. The range comprises organic, single origin, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade certified Arabica beans, which can be bought in-store and online.
Corner Leura Mall and Megalong Street, Leura
(02) 4784 1159
181 Katoomba Street, Katoomba
(02) 4782 3602
Lily’s Pad Cafe
Located a little way from Leura Mall, Lily’s Pad Cafe is a hit among the locals, specialising in house-baked breads and cakes and homemade jams, chutneys and lemon curd. Venture outside to the open courtyard and indulge in the stack of pancakes with cinnamon apple and an extra side of poached vanilla pears.
19 Grose Street, Leura
(02) 4784 1033
Red Door Cafe
Spot the red door along Leura Mall and you will also notice the crowd waiting outside. Serving up an all-day breakfast and lunch – including French toast, Tuscan-style bangers and mash and the cafe’s organic coffee blend, La Luna – Red Door is ideal for the late riser.
134 Leura Mall, Leura
(02) 4784 1328
Set in a former mechanic’s workshop shop, Leura Garage is a vibrant cafe by day, which transforms into a wine and tapas bar at night. Decorated with recycled car engines and wine stacked in the old hydraulic car lift, we recommend tasting the locally sourced Bilpin cider, sharing a meat board and finishing with the house-made chocolate éclair and raspberry tart.
84 Railway Parade, Leura
(02) 4784 3391
With charming service and decor, the food at Silks doesn’t disappoint either. Think modern Australian, including lamb backstrap with baba ghanouj, baked polenta, olives and pesto, and caramelised banana tart with vanilla bean ice cream to finish. Bookings recommended.
128 Leura Mall, Leura
(02) 4784 2534
Solitary Restaurant and Kiosk
For lunch with a view, take a trip along the scenic Cliff Drive to the heritage-listed Solitary Restaurant and Kiosk, built in 1913. The menu offers formal and informal options that can be enjoyed outside in the garden, whilst gazing out over undisturbed sights of the Blue Mountains National Park.
90 Cliff Drive, Leura Falls
(02) 4782 1164 solitary.com.au
Daley’s Restaurant at Lilianfels
Got fancy pants on? You’ll need them at the Blue Mountains’ most prestigious dining venue. Overlooking a spectacular view of the Jamison Valley, Daley’s is located within the five-star Lilianfels resort and spa, and will set you back $125 for a three-course menu. At this heady climate, high tea means high tea. Echo Point, Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba
(02) 4780 1200
The Carrington Hotel
Try to forget the fact that this grand old building is only-so-slightly reminiscent of the mountaintop hotel in The Shining and you’ll be fine. Don’t do your best Jack Nicholson impression at the bar, but do stand in front of the fireplace with a brandy and imagine a bygone era when ballroom dining and Cole Porter were the big thing.
15–47 Katoomba Street, Katoomba
(02) 4782 1111
Everglades Historic House & Gardens
Spend the afternoon at this National Trust-listed European-style garden, which was established in the 1930s by Belgian industrialist, Henri van de Velde. Enjoy sprawling views of the Jamison valley and blossoming, luminous paths, as well as a traditional afternoon tea in the historic tea rooms or outside under the cherry blossom terrace.
37 Everglades Avenue, Leura
(02) 4784 1938
Lost Bear Gallery
Located at the back of the Leura Post Office building is Katoomba Fine Art’s Lost Bear Gallery, which features an evolving exhibition schedule of sculptures and paintings by Australian artists. Be greeted upon arrival by the white bear sculpture, made from steel and recycled plastic by local artist Ian Swift. 5/148 Leura Mall, Leura
(02) 4784 1440
Josophan’s Fine Chocolates
Chocolate lovers will find it hard to choose from the handcrafted collection, including Tahitian vanilla bean, Mayan chilli and peanut butter-cup. For the full experience, book the chocolate appreciation or truffle making workshop held in the boutique’s laboratory. Visit Josophan’s nearby Cafe Madeline, for cakes, waffles and ice cream sundaes, all made with the boutique’s fine chocolates.
132 Leura Mall, Leura
(02) 4784 2031
The Candy Store
A must for children and those young at heart, take a stroll through this old-time lolly store, with floor-to-ceiling shelves of sherbet bombs, peppermint pinwheels, freckles, humbugs and many more sugary delights. Shop 6, 178 Leura Mall, Leura
(02) 4782 4090
For those after hard-to-find kitchen and tablewares, head to Leura Whisk for shelves stocked with kitchen gadgets and specialist bakeware including croquembouche cones and angel and bundt cake pans. Shop 1, 166 Leura Mall, Leura
(02) 4784 3412
Upcoming events in Leura:
Leura Gardens Festival Sept 29 to Oct 7, 2012
Leura Village Fair Oct 6 and 7, 2012