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Rolling Stone’s Roadies: A Guide to the Blue Mountains

Planning a weekend roadie for your next trip out of the city? The Blue Mountains region is not just your parent’s favourite weekend getaway anymore

Chalets at Blackheath

Chalets at Blackheath


The Blue Mountains region has enjoyed a resurgence since the pandemic.

A string of new eateries and accommodations have opened up, and impressive new walking tracks were constructed after the devastating effects of La Niña and bushfires. The town of Blackheath is a hub of creativity and eclecticism, featuring a mix of stellar restaurants, curated boutiques, and galleries that reflect its vibrant artistic community.

The region is surrounded by spectacular World Heritage wilderness, and visitors will be captivated by extensive hiking trails and stunning vistas that define the area. The accommodation options are equally varied and impressive, catering to different tastes and styles. Whether you prefer a super luxe design-led chalet, a romantic cabin amidst nature, or a Palm Springs-inspired retro stay, the Blue Mountains has something to suit your preference.

Read on for inspiration to create a memorable and rejuvenating escape in the Blue Mountains. 


If you’re making tracks from Sydney, your first stop should be Megalong Restaurant, Lot 101. The drive alone is enough to reset your nervous system through dense, shady rainforest and bushland, which opens up into bright, golden rolling hills dotted with pastures of grazing sheep. When you arrive, you’ll be treated to a three-hour long six-course dégustation menu that is the perfect antidote to the afflictions of city living. With each meticulously executed dish, head chef Colin Barker (formerly of The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay) tells a story of the land.

Eating at Megalong offers diners a profound connection to their food through an authentic farm-to-plate experience. Dining here is a sensory experience; as you feel the warmth of the crackling fire invigorate your bones, there is plenty to observe around you between courses. The kitchen is open, so you are free to watch the chefs prepare your meal, or you can look out through the elegant French doors, where you’ll see sweeping expanses of bushland framed by enchanting sandstone cliffs. The converted farmhouse is elegant and refined yet still maintains elements of its former structure, such as polished wooden floorboards and high ceilings that give the space a lofty and bright feel.

The menu is sourced almost entirely from the 242-hectare property, which is home to flocks of sheep and cattle, 70 egg-laying hens, and an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables. The menu changes seasonally and keeps produce front of mind. Expect to try dishes like crispy and golden morsels of pine mushroom and Andean-sunrise potato croquettes or small pinchos layered with Fushimi, heritage pig and Paris silverskin onions.

Our standout was a delicious Jerusalem artichoke mouse that was punctuated by the flavours of mushroom and tarragon. It was topped with trout and fish roe, then drizzled with ponzu sauce and bursting bubbles of finger lime that cut through the richness of the fish.

For the main affair, a sophisticated version of a classic family favourite, jacket potatoes, this time with spigarello dutch cream spuds, sour onions, and crème fraîche beside fatty slices of roast lamb seasoned with quince and rosemary that contained magnitudes of flavour. The eagerness and passion of the staff shine through and make the fine-dining experience more approachable as they skilfully use the food’s origin as a talking point with guests. Even the most seasoned foodies will be sure to have an experience that is as educational as it is delicious.  

Image: Megalong Restaurant at Lot 101 Credit: Supplied

Ates, which has been awarded a chef’s hat for the second year in a row, is the perfect warm retreat after a long day exploring nature. The restaurant proudly centres its identity around a colossal wood-fired oven and is named Ates after the Turkish Ottoman word for fire. The restaurant is nestled in the historic fabric of Blackheath and has a warm and cheerful atmosphere. As you peer through the French windows with a glass of red in hand, you’ll see a following of faithful locals and tourists alike appearing in droves with smiles as they greet their friends and unpeel endless winter layers.

The W.J Amos wood-fired oven, originally installed when the space was a bakehouse back in the 1870s, is now under the helm of Chef Will Cowan-Lunn (formerly of Tetsuya’s and Rockpool Bar & Grill), who lets the oven continue its legacy by infusing the earthy terracotta-hued dining space with the aroma of iron-bark wood and setting the stage for a menu that is both refined and easily enjoyed. Generous family-style share plates like wood-roasted free-range duck with grilled mango and white balsamic are a nice contrast to delicate small bites like tartlet of comté and caramelised onion or fried potato bonbon with anchovy and parmesan. The wine list has some great natural drops, as well as some local heroes like Megalong Valley’s Darragh Wines and even a bottle of red, specially crafted for Ates by Frankly This Wine Was Made By Bob in Blackheath. 

Image: Ates Credit: Supplied

The same crew owns Zoe’s Pizzeria and Ates, and they sit side by side, adding liveliness to a town whose inhabitants have historically been home and in bed by 9pm. The venue offers weekend gigs, open mic nights, and a cocktail bar with a vibrant atmosphere. The bustling pizzeria is casual yet chic with traditional red chequered tablecloths and has a fun, anything-goes vibe. Zoe’s is known to serve blistered, puffy Neapolitan-style pizzas that are about as authentic as they come. Pasta dishes change seasonally but expect to see dishes like tagliolini with prawn, saffron sofrito and bottarga and pappardelle with white lamb ragu and pecorino on the menu.

Image: Zoe’s Pizzeria Credit: Supplied

Blaq restaurant, which is set in the stylish boutique Kyah Hotel, is a sophisticated and highly regarded modern addition to the dining scene of the Blue Mountains. Blaq, which is guided by local award-winning chef Mate Herceg, is a culinary ode to the local region. The menu, which is designed for communal eating, showcases the bounty of the Greater Blue Mountains and Central Ranges regions, as well as some of what grows in their very own garden.

Their motto of letting local shine sings on the plate with dishes such as brined kangaroo with broad beans and goat curd, or why not try something from the charred and grilled section of the menu like the Berkshire pork saddle and taste the brilliance of primal, elemental cooking. The beverage menu harmonises perfectly with their local ethos; cocktails shine with spirits from Karu Distillery, which is nestled at the mountain’s base, while sommelier Andres Aragon showcases wines exclusively from the NSW region.  

Image: Blaq Credit: Supplied


Chalets at Blackheath is perched at the highest point of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed national park and is located within a stone’s throw of the charming town of Blackheath. The new retreat is luxurious, with four private freestanding chalets standing on 17 acres of dense eucalyptus-filled bushland. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by staff who exude friendliness and warmth so typical of the region. As they hand you a glass on Moet, you’ll wonder if you’ve arrived in heaven. 

The chalets were created with biophilic design in mind, a form of architecture that aims to seamlessly blend a structure into the natural environment that surrounds it. Clay sourced from the property is used in the textural wall behind the bed, with inlaid stones and pebbles visible to the naked eye; there is a feature wall made of stone and a giant slab of black marble that the luminous wood-burning fireplace sits upon; the twin rain showers were made to emulate you pass under that cascade down the canyon on the famous Grand Canyon walk; hemp has been used to construct the external walls; the space is roomy and flooded with light with high ceilings and windows that extend from the floor to the ceilings, creating an indoor-outdoor effect and the lavish king-sized beds are draped with luxurious Frette linen; and sitting within the limestone bathroom of your dreams lies and extra deep bathtub with calming views out into the bush.

Sliding doors open out onto the sundeck where there is an outdoor table, comfortable sunbeds and trusty Weber to cook up your very own ‘Great Australian Barbeque’, the contents of which can be delivered to your door upon request. The sub-zero fridge is stacked with some serious bottles of champagne and fine wines, and the drawers are filled with pre-mixed cocktails by Maybe Sammy. There’s a garden where you can pick some native herbs to add to your g & t, so why not grab a book from the onsite library to create the perfect recipe to spend an hour in the bathtub warming the winter cold away?

A delicious continental breakfast is served in the library room next to a scorching fire. Fresh pastries and sourdough from the celebrated Black Cockatoo bakery are delivered every morning along with cereals, fruit, cold-pressed juices and your daily dose of coffee. 

Image: Chalets at Blackheath Credit: Supplied

The Woodland Cabin at Logan Brae Retreats is just so romantic; it’s hard to pinpoint what makes the cabin so swoon-worthy because there are just so many elements that add to its charm. The space sleeps two and is so wonderfully private and secluded that it offers the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your partner or celebrate a special milestone. Unsurprisingly, this endearing cabin is rated in the top three of Airbnb’s “most wish-listed” in Australia, along with The Hilltop Cabin, which also sits on the same spectacular property. The holistic design of the interior keeps the focus on the environment just outside the window, epitomising the tranquillity and connection to the wilderness we seek.

The cabin embodies the essence of mountain life, where the beauty of nature serves as both an inspiration and a sanctuary. The cabin is spacious, yet the wooden interior gives the space a cosy feel; there are warm-hued fairy lights dotted around the place, there’s a luxurious deep stone tub to soak in while you watch kangaroos, and if you’re lucky like us, a wombat against the backdrop of a wondrous sweeping view. You’ll arrive at a ready-made fire in the hearth with plenty of kindling and logs to keep you warm throughout your stay. There’s a plunge pool outside with sunbeds for lounging, and down a path through the bush, you’ll see a hammock suspended amongst the trees.

The kitchen is well equipped for cooking, but if you don’t feel like it, you can get catering from Lavender Hill Graze or even a picnic basket with sparkling and a rug delivered to your doorstep. There’s an espresso machine and an outdoor breakfast bar gesturing to your morning coffee. Logan Brae Retreats is a testament to the power of thoughtful design to create spaces that inspire awe and nurture the soul. 

Image: Logan Brae Retreats Credit: Supplied

The Kyah Boutique Hotel in the Blue Mountains offers a stylish retreat, blending Art Deco charm with modern luxury. Once the Redleaf Resort, it’s been beautifully revamped by Sydney-based MKD Architects. With 46 rooms named after the Three Sisters, the hotel is a Palm Springs-inspired retro stay that boasts pastel hues, elegant archways, and serene interiors. Amenities include a tennis court, steam room, and a stunning 100-year-old cherry blossom tree. The onsite Blaq restaurant, led by Mate Herceg, serves hyperlocal dishes sourced within an 80-kilometre radius. The bar features cocktails infused with indigenous ingredients, adding a unique twist. It’s a delightful escape for those seeking relaxation and culinary delights amidst the mountains’ beauty.

Image: Kyah Boutique Hotel Credit: Supplied


For the adventurous traveller, the 19km Grand Cliff Top Walk, which cost the state government a whopping 10m to construct, has opened after years of tracking closures after the area was hit hard by bushfires and La Nina. On Gundungurra country, the track connects to the Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba areas, with different options for shorter walks. The walking track, which is constructed from durable sandstone, symbolises both resilience and sustainability. Take advantage of this breathtaking walk through the vast expanses of the Blue Mountains National Park.

For those looking for a shorter walk, the Grand Canyon Walk is a renowned hiking trail that offers explorers an astonishing journey through lush rainforests, dramatic cliffs and serene creeks. Located near Blackheath, this approximately 6.3km loop takes hikers deep into the heart of the canyon, providing a unique perspective on the region’s diverse flora and fauna.

The path, originally constructed in 1907, is meticulously maintained, featuring stone steps, handrails, and carefully placed bridges to enhance safety while preserving the natural beauty of the environment. As hikers navigate the winding trail, they are treated to breathtaking views and the soothing sounds of cascading waterfalls, making the Grand Canyon Walk a quintessential Blue Mountains experience that captivates nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Image: Grand Cliff Top Walk Credit: Supplied

Be sure to visit Wentworth Falls for staggering views of cascading waterfalls and lush, eucalyptus-filled valleys. The Wentworth Falls Track leads to impressive lookout points and the majestic three-tiered waterfall itself. Whether you’re enjoying a picnic by the tranquil Jamison Creek or hiking the scenic trails, Wentworth Falls provides a perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. 

When visiting the mountains, several towns stand out for their unique attractions and charm. Blackheath is where you’ll find most of the outstanding eateries mentioned earlier. The town is a creative hub that also has a range of hiking trails nearby and spectacular viewpoints like Govetts Leap. Leura is also a must-visit and is famous for its beautiful gardens, boutique shopping and lovely cafes.

While you’re there, be sure to visit The Blue Mountains Sauna. The authentic Finnish-style communal, gender-mixed sauna is sure to give your body a warm hug. Sit, sweat, chill and repeat in a 90C infrared sauna, then into one of the cold plunge pools to revitalise mind, body and spirit. Katoomba is known for the iconic Three Sisters rock formations and Scenic World, which offers cable car rides and scenic walks. The town also has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, street art and cultural events. 

Image: Leura Credit: Supplied