The Blue Mountains, just a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney, is often a port of call for many visitors wanting to escape the city for a day or two. It’s easy to understand why overseas visitors flock to the mountains in their tight travel schedules as given Australia’s size, it would take a lot of vacation time and money to spend travelling the country, experiencing all the natural wonders there are to offer. If one tires of Sydney’s beautiful beaches, then it is just a short drive away (by Australian standards) to a mountain wilderness, just aching to be explored and admired.
For me, the perfect time to visit is between the months of March through to May when the trees fade from green to orange as the Autumn season sets in. My heart fills with joy as we turn off the highway and before us are tree-lined streets covered with leaves in every shade of red. The most popular attraction of the Blue Mountains is Echo Point in Katoomba. From this vantage point visitors can view the iconic Three Sisters landmark and sprawling views of the mountains. The Three Sisters at Echo Point is a stunning natural feature with significant cultural history to the local indigenous community and truly is a wonder to behold.
However, I feel that the area has changed quite dramatically over the years. I remember taking trips to the Blue Mountains with my family when I was younger. We’d just park the car nearby and walk to a largely uneven, and undeveloped lookout area. Today the area has been significantly redeveloped to accommodate more visitors and updated its safety standards. While having the site’s safety improved and making it more accessible for everyone is definitely a good thing, peak tourist seasons feels over run with coaches and coaches full of people. Free parking around the area is very hard to come by now and visiting at busy times of the day with crowds of people sort of takes away the magic of the place that I once felt years ago. These days I tend to steer clear of the area to avoid the hoards of people. For first time visitors, the Three Sisters is an important part of the itinerary so I’d advise that if you do plan to enter this popular site, it is best to arrive early before the tourist crowds. There is so much to see and do in the Blue Mountains and I really encourage people to venture away from the tourist centres and explore some of the other towns in the region.
My love affair for the Blue Mountains in Autumn continued recently when my partner and I decided to take a day trip for some Devonshire tea. Now I know that travelling for 1.5 hours from home just for some scones may seem strange to some, but the road trip to the Mountains is part of the fun if you have good company and a decent playlist. I was very specific with my research into which cafe I wanted to go to. I wanted it to be away from the town centre, have decent sized scones with real cream, none of this cream in a can garbage, and preferably be surrounded with streets of yellowing trees. With this criteria in mind, my journey took me to the Solitary Cafe in Leura which overlooks the Jamieson Valley. It was a cool and sunny Autumn day and we sat outside to enjoy two large, warm scones with jam, fresh cream and a pot of tea. Our table was the perfect vantage point to admire the view before us and people-watch as a steady stream of bush walkers emerged from the end point of the walking track nearby.
The two ways I love to spend my time in the Blue Mountains is by eating or walking. If its a hiking adventure you are after, a family picnic in the national park, or if you just want to escape for a few hours in a cafe, then the Blue Mountains is your ultimate playground. The Mountains have so much to offer and to find more information to help plan your trip just visit the link here. Whether I decide to take a hike on one of the many walking tracks, or find a place to find the perfect scone, the fact remains that Autumn is my favourite time of the year to visit as my photos below can test to.
Have you travelled to the Blue Mountains? Let me know what you favourite places were in the comments below!