Sydney / Destinations / A Weekend in the Blue Mountains: The Solo Traveller’s Guide

A Weekend in the Blue Mountains: The Solo Traveller’s Guide

Boasting dense landscapes of beautiful bushland, tumbling waterfalls, rugged rainforest and craggy sandstone cliffs, the Blue Mountains are a magnificent sight to behold. A natural wonder dotted with picturesque villages, each more charming than the next. Colonial homes sit next to boutique shops, art galleries and paddock-to-plate eateries, whilst the surrounding bushwalks beckon hikers from afar.

There’s plenty to keep you occupied. And the best thing about travelling solo is that you can take your time with all of it. Embrace your wild side, savour the natural surroundings and revel in the peace and quiet. This how to enjoy the Blue Mountains solo-style. 

On a solo trip to the Blue Mountains, be sure to….

WHERE TO EAT

Enjoy a pastry from Patisserie Schwarz in Wentworth Falls

This quaint patisserie is a local institution – and for good reason. Whatever pastry you’re craving, you’re bound to find it here.

Tuck into breakfast at  Lily’s Pad Café

Known for its excellent coffee, homemade jams and chutneys, and breakfast classics, this Leura gem is a must. If you can, nab a seat in the sunny courtyard.

Fuel up with coffee at Cassiopeia in Katoomba

Coffee snobs welcome: this espresso bar roasts its beans on-site. In Springwood, Dbl Ristretto features a new single origin roaster each week. And in Blackheath, the bohemian Anonymous is a local favourite. Be sure to get a homemade brownie on your way out.

Dig into the all-day breakfast at Red Door Café

This charming café serves gourmet breakfast plates all day, plus wholesome smoothies, tea and coffee.

Satisfy your inner interior designer at  Yellow Deli

Stepping into this café is like stepping into a treehouse – imagine tables made from slabs of timber, stone benches and a log fireplace. It’s quirky and cosy, and the menu is full of American classics – think Reubens on rye, Australian beef hot dogs and smoked chicken sandwiches served with hot pepper cheese.

Prepare to get messy with one of the Mountains’ best pies

Pop into Bakehouse on Wentworth for the juicy beef and Guinness pie, or Mountain High Pies  for something a little spicier. Sausage rolls more your thing? Head to Blackheath Bakery Patisserie.

Treat yourself to a long lunch at  Solitary

Tucked in a heritage-listed cottage, this restaurant is famous for its panoramic views of the Mountains, along with its flavoursome modern Australian menu.

Shop for handmade sweets at Josophan’s Fine Chocolates

The staff sport white coats and gloves, and carefully box up your chocolates with a bow. Since you’re travelling solo, you may as well sign up for the truffle-making workshop and learn their tricks of the trade…

Challenge yourself to finish the six-cheese pizza at  Leura Garage

The buzzing tapas bar has a share plate for every palate, but it’s most famous for its six-cheese pizza.

Feast on woodfired delights at Bilpin Afire

Sit by the crackling fireplace, then dig into pizzas and fresh produce cooked to perfection over a smoky woodfired grill.

Speaking of woodfired, book a table at Fumo

Open on weekends, Fumo has a 120-year-old woodfired oven, which was once hidden behind a false wall. Foodies travel near and far to try Chef Joe Campbell’s Australian-Japanese fusion fare. 

Boost your eco cred at Palette Dining

This Katoomba icon is a sustainability star. The ingredients are either grown in the restaurant’s garden or sourced from local farmers.

Savour high tea at Wintergarden at the Hydro Majestic

Bring a book and nibble your way through tiers of petit sandwiches, pastries and scones, or mix it up with the Eastern High Tea. Then, sit back and soak up the spectacular views over Megalong Valley.

Pair a pizza with a glass of vino at Alchemy

This restaurant tops its wholewheat bases with locally-grown ingredients. In Katoomba, Station Bar + Woodfired Pizzaserves up pizza with a side of live music, while La Famiglia Bar & Pizzeria in Wentworth Falls is lively yet relaxed, perfect for a solo traveller.

WHERE TO DRINK

Settle in for a beer at Harp & Fiddle

Part of The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, it’s the oldest Irish pub in the area, and it’s a hoot. You can strike up a conversation over a Guinness, or people-watch until your heart’s content.

Sip on colourful cocktails at Champagne Charlies

Chic and lively, Champagne Charlies is the Blue Mountains’ only true cocktail bar, so it’s worth a visit. On balmy nights, head to Leura and take advantage of Flemish Flavours’ outdoor garden.

WHAT TO DO

Set aside a few hours to wander the  Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Perched on the peak of a mountain (Mount Tomah), it’s Australia’s highest botanic garden. There are 28 hectares to explore, and they’re full of cool-climate plants and native fauna. Midway, stop for lunch at Tomah Gardens Restaurant.

Chase waterfalls (pack your cossies!)

The Blue Mountains boast some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country. Wentworth Fallsis the most dramatic, and Leura Cascades and Minnehaha Falls are just as beautiful. Wear proper shoes in case you want to try one of the surrounding hiking trails.

Immerse yourself in the Mountains’ art scene

Gallery-hop your way through the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Norman Lindsay Gallery and the Toy and Railway Museum – which isn’t just for kids!

Stroll the shops of Leura Village

The picturesque town is a shopper’s dream, with a string of boutiques selling everything from clothing and jewellery to homewares and antiques. We love Megalong Books,an independent bookstore, Teddy Sinclair, Mrs Peel, Ainsley Fine Jewellery and The French Shoppe.

Go for a ride at the  Megalong Australian Heritage Centre

Love riding horses? Saddle up and trot around the 2000-acre farm, soaking up the wilderness scenes along the way. If you’re staying in Oberon, High Country Trail Rides  offers a similar experience (plus quad biking!).

Tackle the Blue Mountains’ best hikes

A hiker’s paradise, the Blue Mountains boast stunning trails of varying lengths and difficulties, so lace up your runners and choose one you’re comfortable with. The Round Walking Track and Govett’s Leap Lookout will take you 1-2 hours, while the Grand Canyon Walk and National Pass are a little more challenging.

Admire the Insta-worthy views at Echo Point

Whether it’s your first visit or your 10th, no trip is complete without stopping at Echo Point to see The Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls in all their breathtaking glory. If you’re feeling good, take the Giant Stairway (it’s 8-800 steps) down to the bottom of the valley.

Curl up with a cuppa and a book at  Blue Mist Café

Located in Wentworth Falls, this café is as cosy as it gets. The best seats in the house are upstairs, in the bookstore. Order the ricotta pancakes – they’re delicious.

Take a cheeky detour to Mount Wilson

It’s a little bit off the beaten track, but this heritage garden village is a postcard vision. Think bushland and rainforest, historic houses, grand gardens, canyons and hiking trails. While you’re there, stroll the Wynnes Rocks Trail and the Yengo Sculpture Gardens.

Stock up on fresh produce at the local farmers markets

Thanks to its fresh, bountiful produce, the Blue Mountains is a hotspot for foodies. Taste-test your way through Blackheath Growers Market, Leura First Sunday Markets and Bilpin Farmers Market, and pick up honey, jams and preserves to bring home.

WHERE TO STAY

Echoes Boutique Hotel

Perched on the fringe of Jamison Valley, this boutique hotel has incredible views of the wilderness below. With just 14 rooms, it’s intimate, and it has an on-site spa and restaurant.

Lilianfels Resort & Spa

A short stroll from the Three Sisters, Lilianfels is basically a big country house, with a Victorian lounge, library, day spa, swimming pool, and Darley’s, a hatted restaurant. You’ll have plenty to keep you busy!

Turon Gates

Set on 6000 acres of bushland, this is the perfect place to bond with nature and relish in the peace and quiet. The accommodation is made up of private cottages.

Hydro Majestic

This iconic hotel hints at a bygone era, thanks to its grand ballrooms, tea salon and heritage-style rooms. It’s conveniently located and everything you need is at your fingertips, which is handy for a solo traveller.

Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges

With a lake, 28 acres of immaculate gardens, and a Hamptons-style décor, Parklands ticks all the right boxes. Then there are the suites, which feature soft beds, gas fireplaces and rainforest showers. 

MAKE TIME TO VISIT

Nutwood Farm

Addicted to nuts? You’ll love this farm. Its twenty hectares of land are dotted with chestnut and walnut trees, which are ripe for the picking during March and April.

Jenolan Caves

If you have time, day trip to this network of limestone caves. They formed 400 million years ago and were discovered by explorers in 1813.

Australian School of Mountaineering

For thrill-seekers, this Katoomba-based company offers abseiling, canyoning and rock climbing trips.

Eureka Homestead

Opt for the cellar door ride, and you’ll get the best of both worlds: guided trail ride through the Blue Mountains’ bushland, and a wine tasting.

Megalong Valley Tearooms

In the ‘20s and ‘30s, the Megalong Valley was home to nine tearooms, but this is the only one left. Sip on Devonshire Tea and munch on scones with jam and freshly clotted cream while you admire the rugged mountain views.

Melt into a massage at  Lilianfels Resort & Spa

Go on, you’ve earned it – especially with all this exploring! Inside this luxe hotel, you’ll find an award-winning day spa offering pampering facials, wraps and luxurious body treatments.

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