The dramatic escarpments of the Blue Mountains have been frequented as one of Australia’s top tourist destinations for over a century and is also home to our simulated hotel campus. In the late 1800’s, well-heeled holidaymakers would come to stay in luxury hotels and indulge in spa treatments, scenic bush-walks and opulent balls.
This long history of tourism means the Blue Mountains today offer a deliciously broad array of things to do. Whether you want to visit an Art Deco cocktail bar, hike to a waterfall, soak in a hot tub or browse an antique store; there’s something to explore for everyone. As hospitality professionals and Blue Mountains locals, we’d love to share with you a few ideas on how to get the most of your trip away.
Challenge yourself with a scenic outdoor adventure
Each towering escarpment of the Blue Mountains shelters hundreds of canyons and valleys teeming with unique plant and animal life, including some species that don’t exist anywhere else. With many small rivers and creeks winding their way down cliff faces, waterfalls and swimming holes are a common sight.
Because of this incredible World Heritage listed natural environment, the Blue Mountains attract outdoor adventurers all year round.
The Blue Mountains National Park offers hundreds of incredible hikes along the cliff edges and down into the valleys. Here are some of the most popular walks. Rock climbing and abseiling are also common at a number of cliff faces. Regular climbers can take their own gear to these spots, while climbing companies offer guided tours for those who lack equipment.
4WDriving and canyoning are popular outdoor adventure sports in the area, with companies offering half-day and full-day adventures. For those romantics who love the idea of riding a horse into the sunset, there are also lots of horseback tours on offer, in and around the mountains region.
Pamper yourself at one of the many luxurious day spas and wellness retreats
If you’re the type of person who prefers the endurance challenge of ‘how long can I stay in the hot tub,’ the Blue Mountains also has a whole suite of options just for you.
The Japanese Bath House and Spa at Lake Lyell uses naturally mineralised water drawn from underground springs to recreate a traditional onsen, with a delightfully relaxing effect. The Spa Sublime, located in an historic colonial house in Katoomba, offers luxurious spa packages for singles and couples.
The Parklands Day Spa is another popular choice, located in the Parklands Garden and Lodges Hotel, a popular historical resort in Blackheath modelled on a great British garden estate. For those who are in real need of some quiet time, you can also try ten full days of silent meditation among the trees at the Vipassana Meditation Centre in Blackheath.
These are just a small selection of the many different types of wellness and spa retreats on offer in the Blue Mountains.
Spend a day browsing the galleries, antique and vintage stores
When you’ve had enough of being pampered, head for a wander down the village main streets and indulge in some nostalgia as you browse rooms full of dusty objects from eras gone by. The Blue Mountains are positively bursting with antique emporiums, vintage stores and galleries.
The Victory Theatre Antique Store, located in an old Art Deco cinema in Blackheath, is a charming and huge emporium. Memento Vintage and Antiques and the Katoomba Antiques Centre both located in Katoomba are a must-see. The Mountains are also home to an impressive number of regional and commercial art galleries.
Take a trip to the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Cultural Trust, located in Lindsay’s former home and artist studio at Faulconbridge. The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre offers some great exhibitions of work by local artists. For smaller galleries, check out Blackheath Artist Studios, Nolan on Lovel or Rex Livingston Gallery in Katoomba.
Eat and drink your way around lavish historic restaurants, hotels and bars
Because of its long history as a high-class destination the Blue Mountains are home to some opulent Art Deco establishments and a plethora of historic restaurants you simply cannot miss. Get on your suit or gown and make a fabulous vintage night of it.
The Hydro Majestic was one of the first luxury spa-hotel retreats built in the area. Stop in for some high tea with a view at the hotel’s historic Wintergarden restaurant. Darley’s fine-dining restaurant is also an experience not to be missed, located in the heritage listed, original homestead of Sir Frederick Darley, built in 1889.
The historic Carrington Hotel in Katoomba has had its Art Deco ballroom restored, complete with copies of the original furniture and chandeliers. Sit down for dinner in the ballroom and follow it up with a cocktail at the 1920’s Champagne Charlie’s Cocktail Bar.
Explore some of the gorgeous valleys nearby
The whole region cradling the mountains is breathtakingly beautiful. Vast valleys of open fields are framed by trees and sandstone cliffs, each one with something unique to discover.
The Wolgan valley is a short trip down the mountains. This amazing valley offers bushwalks in the Gardens of Stone National Park, horseback tours and even an unforgettable glow worm experience inside an abandoned train tunnel.
Nearby Bilpin is famous for its apples and apple cider. Head out on a tour of the Bilpin Cider and Hillbilly Cider breweries for a fun and delicious day trip around the area.
If you want to get deep into wild nature, head down into the Grose valley. This huge valley contains 50,000 kms of untouched wilderness and some of the most dramatic sandstone escarpments in the region.
If you like to travel and visit new places or you know someone who does, we'd encorage you to study hospitality, a career that can take you not only on beautiful trips to the Blue Mountains, but all over the world. To learn more about the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, click here.