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!
Blue Mountains National Park
Blue Mountains National Park is a world famous 662,000 acre national park located 80 kilometres west of Sydney. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 in recognition of its cultural and geographic significance.
The Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia. Most tourists visiting Sydney make the journey west to see the park from one of the scenic lookouts between Wentworth Falls and Blackheath.
The most popular destination in the national park is the Three Sisters – a spectacular rock formation of three “sisters”, each being several hundred metres tall.
Things to do in the Blue Mountains National Park
The Blue Mountains are also famous for short walks, waterfalls, overnight and longer walks and activities such as canyoning, abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking. Here is a list of our top recommended things to do in the Blue Mountains
- Get your adrenaline pumping by experiencing some of the great adventure activities on offer in the Blue Mountains National Park. Some of the activities on offer include horseriding, mountain biking, caving, rock climbing, abseiling and canoeing. You can do these on your own or as part of a tour.
- Experience all the beauty of the region by going on a short (or long!) bushwalk. There are lots of tracks to explore ranging from easy and accessible paths, to long and difficult treks taking several days. You can also find lots of lakes, swimming holes, waterfalls, caves and much more.
- Scenic World in Katoomba is an historic icon in the region (and one of my most favourite places to visit as a child!). The Scenic Railway (the steepest railway in the world), Cableway, Skyway and Walkway offer wonderful ways to experience the unique beauty of the region.
If you’re visiting Blue Mountains National Park, the best place to stay for groups of up to 12 is Glen Isla! Glen Isla is located in Wentworth Falls, only 200 metres from the escarpment and the beginning of some of the best walking tracks in the region. We are also only a short 10 minute drive from the Three Sisters, Katoomba and Leura. Be sure to check out our availability calendar and book in early as our dates (particularly during the peak Winter months) are very popular!