Top Tips & Itinerary for a Blue Mountains Weekends Away
With the clear skies, crisp Mountains air, and so much to see and do, and less than 1.5 hours drive from the Sydney CBD, it’s no surprise that the Blue Mountains is such a popular destination for weekends away from the hustle and bustle of city life. With so much on offer in the local area though, how can you choose where to go, what to see, and where to eat? Growing up in the Mountains, I know a secret or two! Here I’ve put together some of my top tips and itinerary for the perfect Blue Mountains getaway from a local’s perspective.
Friday Night – Check in to Glen Isla
Leave the crazy traffic and stresses of city life far behind! If you can, try to leave work a little early to beat the peak hour traffic heading west on the M4 motorway. The drive from the CBD usually takes just over an hour with the new widening of the highway being completed last year. Typically you can check in to Glen Isla from 2.30pm in the afternoon although we are happy to allow guests to check in early if we can so be sure to check with us. The sooner you arrive, the sooner you can start to unwind and enjoy the weekend ahead.
Initially, you might like to relax and enjoy a glass of wine on our bullnose verandah. Or perhaps take a wander through our garden paths and explore what is in bloom in our 150 year old garden. Many people tell us that they feel a sense of calm just stepping into the house and garden which is lovely!
For dinner, you can choose to dine out at one of the many great restaurants – our favourites are the Leura Garage or for something special perhaps, or you can arrange delivery if you’d prefer to stay in and enjoy the house with your friends and family.
Saturday – See the Three Sisters
By far the most popular thing to see in the Blue Mountains is to see the famous Three Sisters rock formation. You can do this in two ways. If you’re on a bit of a budget, or would just like to take a quick photo of them, the quickest way to get a good view is to drive to Echo Point lookout. You can get there via car and park in one of the nearby streets, or if you plan to do more sightseeing in the area, you can take the red Blue Mountains Explorer Bus offers a hop on-hop off service every 30 minutes to all the main attractions in the area. From the lookout you get a lovely view of the valley and the Three Sisters themselves. For a closer look, you can take a 30 minute bushwalk (1km return) which starts near the lookout. You’ll also find the Visitor Information Centre which has a range of tourist information and staff who are happy to help with any questions you may have.
As a less busy and far more scenic option though (and my personal favourite thing to do in the area), is to visit nearby Scenic World. They have a range of experiences which include the Scenic Skyway (a cable car which takes you out into the middle of the valley for a spectacular view), or (my favourite since I was a child!) the Scenic Railway – the steepest passenger railway in the world which takes you through lust rainforest and through tunnels for an incredible view of the Three Sisters. Highly recommended!
After lots of activity in the morning, you’ll be looking for somewhere for lunch. My favourite place is the Blue Mist Cafe in Leura. You can watch the world go by in their dining area with lovely views back towards Katoomba.
After that, why not head back to Glen Isla for a lazy afternoon reading one of our many books in our library, or enjoying a game of pool with the family on our pool table.
Sunday – Morning Walk
They say the early bird catches the worm and that’s certainly true! Early mornings in the Blue Mountains are special with crisp Mountain air, and amazing sunrises. If you’re so inclined, a one hour walk to Wentworth Falls is a great way to start the morning. From Glen Isla, it’s only a short 200m stroll down Falls Road to the beginning of the bushwalk. The bushwalk itself is beautiful with lots of native ferns, pretty streams, and of course a spectacular view out across the valley and of Wentworth Falls itself. If you’re ultra-energetic you can continue the walk around in a loop and back up the other side via the Valley of the Waters walk. Otherwise, I always enjoy a nice walk up Fletcher Street from the house to the Conservation Hut for a hearty breakfast and milkshakes for the kids.
Check out at the house is at 10am, but if we don’t have another group checking in that afternoon we like to give our guests a later checkout so that they can enjoy some more time exploring the house and the local area – be sure to check with us!
‘Glen Isla’ – Self Contained Blue Mountains Accommodation
Of course, the best place to experience all that the Blue Mountains has to offer is from Glen Isla. We offer award winning historic, fully self contained accommodation in the Blue Mountains. Only a short 10 minute drive to all the major local attractions, it’s the ultimate place to stay!
We were thrilled to host Foxtel travel show ‘Eat, Play & Stay’ back in March. They featured our segment a couple of weeks ago on their program. If you missed it, be sure to check it out here on YouTube. We’ve had a huge influx of interest after the screening of this segment which has been great.
The busy Winter period here in the Blue Mountains is well and truly upon us. The June to August period is by far the most popular time of year for us with our accommodation booking out weeks and sometimes months in advance. There are some great events over the Winter period celebrating the romance of the cooler months, warm fires and toasting marshmallows.
All our weekend dates have now been booked out until September. If you’d like to stay during the school holidays, we only have midweek dates left so please be sure to get in touch with us ASAP to avoid disappointment. We are also starting to receive enquiries and bookings for the Summer holidays so get in early to be able to choose your dates.
Thanks for your ongoing support!
Happy New Year to everyone! We hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and the holiday season. We have been very busy over the past few weeks taking lots of bookings for the coming year. We often find over the summer holidays, families get together to plan out their big get-togethers for the rest of the year resulting in lots of bookings for us at Glen Isla. Glen Isla is a very popular venue for family groups coming together to celebrate a special occasion such as a parent’s milestone birthday. It’s lovely that the house can host so many unforgettable memories for our guests.
Over the break, our next door neighbour’s tree was struck by lightening. It was apparently a most incredible sight!! The tree has virtually exploded and the trunk twisted around from the energy of the strike. Unfortunately it has resulted in lots of debris and branches being strewn in our garden which our wonderful gardener has been working hard to fix. For the time-being, one corner of the garden has been taped off for our guests safety until the large branches can be cut up and removed from the site. We are sorry to our guests for the inconvenience.
Our vacancies are filling fast for the reminder of the year so to secure your preferred dates, please do get in touch with us ASAP!
Best wishes for 2015 everyone!
Next month, we will be celebrating a whole year since we purchased Glen Isla and started offering self contained accommodation in the Blue Mountains. We have been overwhelmed by the support our wonderful guests have given us over the past year and would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who has chosen Glen Isla for their Blue Mountains accommodation. We have recently taken bookings from several of our happy guests who loved staying at Glen Isla so much last year, that they have chosen to stay with us again.
We are constantly striving to make Glen Isla one of the best properties for self contained accommodation in the Blue Mountains. In light of some of the feedback from our guests last year during winter, we have installed a new ducted air conditioning and heating system through the main part of the house. This in addition to the wood fire will help keep the house a little bit cozier during the popular Winter in July.
Speaking of Christmas in July in the Blue Mountains, almost all of our weekend dates over the winter months are almost entirely booked out. If you’re currently considering booking Glen Isla for your self contained accommodation in the Blue Mountains over this popular time of year, we encourage you to book very soon to avoid missing out. If you’re flexible with your dates, you may also like to consider staying mid-week to avoid the popular weekends.
Thanks again for all your support. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re looking to book Glen Isla for your self contained accommodation in the Blue Mountains
Guests to our beautiful Blue Mountains self contained accommodation at Glen Isla always remark on our half acre of private gardens. We love our beautiful cottage garden with many of our plants estimated to be at least 70 years old. Our wonderful gardener Will helps to keep it in tip top shape. He absolutely loves working on the garden and keeping it beautiful for our guests to Glen Isla. Some of our plants are very old indeed and he often points out something new he has found in the garden. At the moment, our blooms are starting to come out. Our recent guests will no doubt have smelt the beautiful Daphne plant which smells so beautiful near our side entrance.
Last week Will and some friends of his climbed some of our large trees on the property to trim some dead branches and let in some more light. Here are some shots of them hard at work!
We’ve received some truly lovely reviews from our recent guests to the house. It is such a pleasure to hear that people have enjoyed staying at Glen Isla. Here are just a couple of our reviews from this month:
“We had an amazing stay at Glen Isla. The property is exquisite and had everything that 3 families needed to keep us comfortable and well entertained. Kitchen has every appliance imaginable and the gardens are beautiful. The owners were only ever a phone call away. We would definitely stay again.”
– Gaby & Steve, August 2013
“Our group of friends stayed at Glen Isla to celebrate Christmas in July. We totally loved our stay. The house itself is beautiful and is really well equipped like a home away from home. My girl friends loved the Kitchenaid mixer and the full sized oven. We baked yummy things and sat by the fireplace in the evening enjoying a game of Trivial Pursuit. The beds are very comfortable and we were all kept toasty with the electric blankets. Glen Isla was fantastic and we highly recommend it.”
– Kara, August 2013
If you’re considering booking Glen Isla for your next Blue Mountains escape, please remember to check our up to date availability calendar for upcoming free dates. Lots of our weekends from now until the end of the year are booked so please get in quick to secure your Blue Mountains accommodation at Glen Isla!
Very best wishes to everyone and thank you for the continued support.
Glen Isla is the perfect place for self contained family accommdoation in the Blue Mountains. With 6 large bedrooms, 5 of which having Queen sized beds and one with 4 single beds, historic Glen Isla is well equipped to accommodate large family groups or gatherings.
Glen Isla is one of the few homes in the Blue Mountains which is able to accommodate up to 14 guests comfortably which is why we have been so popular for family get-togethers, girls weekends away, and birthday celebrations.
We love being able to share beautiful Glen Isla and one of Australia’s most beautiful locations – the Blue Mountains – with our guests. We have received some really lovely reviews from our recent guests which we really appreciate.
Winter has been extremely busy in the Blue Mountains again this year, with many of our guests celebrating Christmas in July in style with roast ham, turkey and of course wine! Our toasty fire has been keeping our guests warm and cozy through the winter months.
To find out more about our beautiful Blue Mountains Family Accommodation feel free to contact us to make a booking!
The world famous Blue Mountains brings tourists from all over the world to Australia to marvel at their beauty. A common question from visitors (and locals alike!) is: Why are the Blue Mountains blue? When looking at the Mountains from a distance, they appear blue and take on a strong blue haze. This has baffled visitors since Europeans first settled in Sydney in the late 1700s.
So… why are the Blue Mountains blue?
The Blue Mountains are densely covered by Eucalyptus trees which release fine droplets of oil into the atmosphere. When combined with dust particles and water vapour, the Eucalyptus oil droplets scatter short wavelength rays of light which are mainly blue in colour. This is an optical phenomenon which is called “Rayleigh scattering”.
Blue Mountains Accommodation
Come and see the beautiful Blue Mountains and this amazing phenomenon with your own eyes. Book a stay at historic Glen Isla Blue Mountains Accommodation
Well Winter is officially upon us! And with the cooler months comes one of the busiest times in the year for us at Glen Isla. All weekends (Friday and Saturday nights) are now fully booked between now and the beginning of September. We do however have quite a few mid-week nights available so if you’re able to stay during the week, please do check our Accommodation Availability Calendar
We were thrilled to take part in the recent Bicentennial Flyover. It was an absolutely stunning day and the view from the skies was just superb. We flew from the Hawkesbury Area up following the highway all the way to Bathurst where we stopped for lunch at the Bathurst Airport. The locals in Bathurst were so hospitable and I got to sample the best scones I think I’ve ever eaten. They were amazing!! On the flight back, we took a slight detour and I managed to get a few shots of Glen Isla from the skies which I’ll be adding to the website shortly.
The gardens at Glen Isla have been covered in lots of beautiful Autumn leaves over the past couple of months. Here’s a shot of our 18 month old daughter Chiara enjoying them!
Last weekend we were excited to add yet another feature to the house for our guests – a pool table! We hope that our future guests at Glen Isla will enjoy it!
Thanks again to all our guests for your support. We have been so grateful for all the lovely reviews.
Blue Mountains Accommodation – Historic ‘Glen Isla’
Glen Isla was built in around 1885 by Captain James Somerfield Murray – a key figure in Wentworth Falls over 100 years ago. Murray was a captain of ships which sailed between Britain and Australia. He was also the leader of a small team known as the ‘Irish Brigade’ who worked for two years to construct the National Pass – a spectacular bushwalking track completed in 1908 that descends down a 90 metre cliff face to the middle tier of Wentworth Falls. Captain Murray lowered himself over the ledge in a bosun’s chair to survey and assess the cliff. The Brigade completed the work using dynamite, picks and shovels.
Captain Murray married Elizabeth Lilla Murray (pictured) in 1884. Elizabeth came to Australia in 1882 on a P&O ship commanded by Captain Murray. In that same year she was appointed the first matron of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She continued as matron until 1886. Captain & Mrs Murray acquired property in Wentworth Falls during the 1880s and built several houses both for themselves and for letting. ‘Glen Isla’ was one of these letting houses and was built in circa. 1886. It shared an original timber laundry building with another Murray letting cottage next door – ‘St Cyrus’. This laundry building still exists on the property (the locked timber shed in the northern corner of the property).
Over the years, the original house fell into a state of disrepair. In the late 1980s, a previous owner bought and painstakingly restored Glen Isla and the grounds over a number of years. The original cottage was extended to include the additional main bedroom, en-suite, loft and garage in the early 1990s. The house has been beautifully restored and furnished to offer couples and families visiting the Mountains with beautiful accommodation in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains. We are sure that you’ll enjoy your stay with us and will want to return to Glen Isla again and again.