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10° & RAINY ON THURSDAY 27 JUNE IN SYDNEY
TRAVEL & LEISURE

How to Spend a Cosy Weekend Away with Your Loved One in the Blue Mountains This Winter

Walk through ancient rainforest then rug up by a roaring fire.
By Jasmine Crittenden
June 12, 2019
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How to Spend a Cosy Weekend Away with Your Loved One in the Blue Mountains This Winter

Walk through ancient rainforest then rug up by a roaring fire.
By Jasmine Crittenden
June 12, 2019
  shares

in partnership with

Cute cabins overlooking misty valleys, good coffee shops set in landscaped gardens, hatted restaurants with cracking fireplaces and invigorating walks through wild bushland. You get the picture — winter is the time for getting cosy. And, the Blue Mountains is just the place to do so. A 90-minute drive from Sydney, it makes a weekender — or even an overnighter — with your favourite person easily doable. And, while there are plenty of places to get snug and have a hearty meal, the rugged landscape, ancient rainforests and crisp blue skies make for an even better getaway.

The Blue Mountains makes for a great winter escape for those wanting some awe-inspiring vistas as well as cosy creature comforts. So, put on those winter woollies, pack the car and beeline for the Mountains. Here's our guide to a toasty and romantic weekend away.

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FRIDAY EVENING (AFTER WORK)

Drive 90 minutes from Sydney CBD and you'll first hit Lawson. Here, you'll find the warm and inviting Mesa Barrio, an all-day eatery inspired by Greek tavernas and Italian wine bars. Head chef Will Cowan-Lunn (ex-Rockpool) serves up seasonal dishes using local produce, including veggies from nearby Blackheath Vegie Patch, seafood from Katoomba's Fish & Fowl and free-range meats from Oberon's Crack Willow Farm. The lamb backstrap with a side of cumin and fennel roasted pumpkin is sure to warm you up.

Push on another 15 minutes and you'll end up in Leura, where there are a bunch of cosy stays. To have a magical valley all to yourself, book this blissful studio, with large north-facing windows that let the morning sun in. Or, immerse yourself in trees at this bush cabin, which comes with a loft-style bed, private deck and heating. It's also tiny, so you'll have no choice but to cosy up. If you're after something grander, The Shed is kitted out with a fireplace and claw foot bath.

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SATURDAY MORNING

For your morning cup of joe, head to Sorensen's Glasshouse. Set in eight acres of landscaped gardens, Sorensen serves up Reuben Hills coffee and some beautiful morning views to boot (and you don't even have to go outside to see them). Then, make tracks to Lily's Pad Cafe for breakfast and sit in the heated courtyard while you munch on a bacon and egg roll or a house-baked treat, like the pear, apple, walnut and fig bread.

By now, you're ready to dive into the bush, so jump onto the hop-on-hop-off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus and head to Katoomba's Scenic World to take a ride on the Scenic Railway. This feat of engineering, which hurtles into the gorge at a physics-defying 52-degree incline, is the steepest passenger railway in the world. You can ride downwards or upwards — or both. Should you choose a one-way trip, then return via the 1,000-strong Furber Steps, which pass through the rainforest and by waterfalls and offer breathtaking vistas of Mount Solitary. If you've ascended the steps, stroll along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, which follows the cliff edge to Echo Point, home of the famous Three Sisters.cp-line

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Now, having worked up an appetite, jump back on the bus and head into Katoomba town centre. It's time to visit 8 Things — a light-filled, small restaurant. There are just eight items on the menu, with each dish representing a country. Right now, offerings include Tokyo ramen, Brussel mussels cooked in white wine and butter and Mexican tacos with lamb shoulder. Plus, it's BYO (so, it's lucky you're catching the bus).

Once you've refuelled, it's back into the great outdoors to conquer the Scenic Walkway. This 2.4-kilometre adventure plunges you into an ancient rainforest, dotted with towering trees, giant ferns and lyrebirds. Should you work up a thirst along the way, then try the crystal-clear mountain water at Marrangaroo Spring.

Afterward, see the Mountains from a different perspective aboard the Scenic Skyway. Built in 1958, this cable car travels across a 720-metre wide gorge, overlooking 360-degree views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley, from a 270-metre height. In 2004, the original car was replaced by a high-tech vessel with a glass floor. Once you've reached the other side, you can return the way you came or keep exploring.cp-line

SATURDAY EVENING

After your day of adventuring, head to Blackheath and prepare for a feast at Fumo. It opened in 2017 and scored its first chef's hat this year. Owner and head chef Joe Campbell creates Asian-inspired dishes, like kangaroo tataki with koji mayonnaise, yuzu kosho, ice plant, pickled pine mushroom and onsen egg and red-cooked duck with green papaya salad, tomato candlenut relish, turmeric and kaffir lime sauce. There are just 35 seats, so count on feeling nice and warm here.

After dinner, head to Mount Victoria to see a movie at Mount Vic Flicks. Run by local couple Kirsten Mulholland and Adam Cousins, this 1930s-style cinema used to house the town hall and still keeps the same convivial vibe. The program ranges from classics to new releases and the choc tops are homemade. If you want to stay close by, check into Bank House, a stunning Victorian terrace that's had a $1 million restoration, complete with an open fireplace, gorgeous antique furnishings and heavenly gardens.

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SUNDAY MORNING

Make a late, leisurely start before stopping in at Anonymous Cafe in Blackheath. For tea lovers, there's a massive selection, including fancy drops like single estate Chinese peony white tea. Oh, and coffee drinkers — they serve Campos here. The all-day breakfast menu features hearty, comforting dishes, like brioche french toast with honey-baked pear, buttered almonds, fig syrup and mascarpone and a brekkie burrito packed with braised beans, black rice, grilled corn and chickpeas, salsa, sour cream and a fried egg.

Or, if in Lawson, stop by Black Cockatoo Bakery for some freshly baked treats. Owner and head chef Alex Rivière (ex-Sean's Panorama) whips up organic, naturally leavened sourdough, as well as focaccia, pastries and more. Stay and sip a filtered coffee or fill your bag to keep you fuelled as you walk around town or do any last-minute sightseeing.

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SUNDAY AFTERNOON

It's time to wind your way home. But, it's Sunday, so be sure to take things slowly. On your way back through Katoomba, swing by Australia's first dedicated feminist gallery — Platform Gallery in Katoomba. The space is dedicated to emerging artists, with a new exhibition every three weeks in the main gallery. Plus, there's a monthly feminist book club and a bunch of events, including talks and workshops. Then, swing by Carrington Cellars and Deli to stock up on some goodies to take back home. Then, before you head back to the big smoke, be sure to catch a last peek of the Three Sisters at sunset.

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Top image: The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains. 

Published on June 12, 2019 by Jasmine Crittenden

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