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Mountain Highs - What to See and Do in the Blue Mountains

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The Blue Mountains area is a magical UNESCO World Heritage Site that begs to be explored. From hundreds of walking trails to the oldest-known caves in the world, the scenery here is spectacular and easily navigated. Be sure to check out man-made gems too - from gastronomy to shopping, and an intriguing network of galleries and museums.

Take a hike


Whether you're a beginner or seasoned hiker, the Blue Mountains are made for walking. Experienced ramblers can embark on the legendary Six Foot Track; a 3-day trek from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves. But there are many gentler routes across the range, and luckily they are well mapped out. Whatever path you take, you will discover native wildlife, wild waterfalls, gorges, verdant rainforest, and sandstone canyons. A handful of operators offer organized hiking tours. If you prefer to go it alone, make sure you are equipped with maps, water, and other essentials.


Food with a view


From cafés on mountain ledges and terraces, to picnic grounds besides waterfalls, and panoramic fine dining, the Blue Mountains area naturally lends itself to eating with a view. You can scour village farmers' markets for homegrown treats for picnics, or enjoy seasonal produce in modern Australian cooking at Darley's Restaurant and Solitary in the Jamison Valley - both culinary legends that have attracted visitors for decades. Further afield, take in valley-to-mountain views, eucalyptus-scented air, and the sound of nature at The Conservation Hut café and Tomah Gardens Restaurant.


  • Tomah Gardens Restaurant, Bells Line of Rd., Mount Tomah NSW 2758; Tel: +61 4 2155 2746; Website: Tomah Gardens Restaurant

  • The Conservation Hut, Fletcher St., Wentworth Falls NSW 2782; Tel: +61 2 4757 3827; Website: The Conservation Hut


Cruise the culture trail


The Blue Mountains are rich in heritage and the arts. From Aboriginal art to historic cinemas, culture here will inspire. In most towns and villages, you can explore galleries in period buildings and stately homesteads-turned-museums - such as Everglades, in Leura. For a full blockbuster art experience, be sure to visit the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, which puts on major exhibitions by leading Australian artists. It also hosts street art walks, and jazz and world music concerts. For a more personal art experience, visit one of the many artists who, on the weekends, open their studios to the public.


  • Everglades, 37 Everglades Avenue, Leura NSW 2780; Tel: +61 2 4784 1938; Website: Everglades

  • Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, 30 Parke St., Katoomba NSW 2780; Tel: +61 2 4780 5410; Website: Blue Mountains Cultural Centre


Spirit of adventure


The Blue Mountains are made for adventure. From gentler pursuits such as cycling and horseback riding to high-adrenaline rock climbing and canyoning, there are a variety of ways to explore this magical terrain. The Jenolan Caves are the oldest discovered caves in the world. Here, you can abseil down the sinkhole of the Elder Cave, then progress to a 6-hour climb on the Mammoth Cave Adventure Tour.


  • Centennial Glen Stables, Kanimbla Valley Drive, via Shipley Rd., Blackheath NSW 2785; Tel: + 61 2 4787 1193; Website: Centennial Glen Stables

  • Jenolan Caves, 4655 Jenolan Caves Rd., Jenolan NSW 2790; Tel: +61 2 6359 3911; Website: Jenolan Caves


Lithgow and Hartley


Lithgow’s industrial roots are seen all over this attractive town. A park now surrounds the remains of the Blast Furnace, the first place in Australia to cast iron and steel. Amid modern buildings, you can see the quaint, bluestone Bowenfels Railway Station, from where coal was transported to the rest of the valley. Nearby, the township of Hartley has an ensemble of perfectly preserved Victorian architecture. You can explore the original courthouse and other sandstone buildings on a guided tour.