Sydney in July isn’t complete without a trip to the Blue Mountains, so you can wrap up warm, breathe in the crisp mountain air and enjoy the magic of winter.
I’ve visited Leura a few times before so this time we ventured to the chief town of Katoomba. Accommodation is quite expensive here, but we found an affordable Airbnb which I couldn’t love more. Em’s Retreat is a self-contained flat at the back of the owner’s property. It’s tucked away in their garden, but it’s a large space and we had our own entry down the side so it doesn’t feel too awkward.
Inside is quaint, comfortable, and filled with lots of thoughtful touches. From the cosy gas fire, bubble bath treats, the visitor information table and free breakfast supplies, you feel very well looked after for the price. Sadly, we learnt that Em’s Retreat is named after their daughter Emily who passed away from cancer when she was 20, so this space has been created in her memory.
First on the agenda was a visit to Little Paris Cafe – ‘‘A little slice of Paris in the Blue Mountains” – found down an arcade in Katoomba’s town centre. We just stopped in for a coffee and scone, but they were good! There’s plenty of Parisian decor on the walls and a little French music in the background for ambience. All ideas are noted for when I have my own cafe one day 🙃.
At this point of the afternoon, it’s 3° and windy, but Joe insists he wants to go fishing at Wentworth Falls Lake. I lasted about 3 minutes before I couldn’t feel my face and returned to the car with my Kindle, but 10 points for his perseverance!
That evening, we went out for dinner at the Old City Bank Brasserie, a traditional British pub down below with a homely dining room up above. I had their famous Beef and Guinness Pie, which was more of a hot pot, but delicious nevertheless. Great vibe and live music after 9pm.
After a freezing night sleep with a storm outside (I had about 6 blankets on and still couldn’t get warm!), we headed out to the Katoomba Falls Round Walk, a beautiful segmented waterfall located between Echo Point and Scenic World. With panoramic views across Jamison Valley and The Three Sisters, this is a fantastic 1-2 hour walk in the Blue Mountains if you’re short on time.
Last but not least, we popped into The Gingerbread House cafe, which I had big expectations for. Set in a beautifully restored 100-year-old former church, it really is a gorgeous space with fairy-tale theme decor (Hansel and Gretal toilets), plenty of sweet treats on the menu and even a sweet store. However, it was SO busy (felt chaotic) and our pulled-pork sandwiches were terrible – the whole thing just fell apart instantly (I had to eat it with a fork). Lesson learnt, always go with the sweet treat.
It’s a real shame there wasn’t any snow as it was definitely cold enough, but nevermind! 24 hours later, we were back on the road again for the 90 minutes drive back to Sydney. Although we only stayed for one night, I returned home feeling completely rejuvenated. I find that longer trips burn me out quickly so I particularly love this style of travelling.