Looming out of the land to the west of Sydney as part of the Great Dividing Range, the Blue Mountains are one of Australia's most distinctive natural features and a beloved tourist destination read more...

Multiple choices

With its dramatic sandstone cliffs, steep tree-lined gorges and quaint hilltop villages, the Blue Mountains can feel like a world away from bustling Sydney. The foot of the mountains lie some 50 kilometres west of the New South Wales state capital, making the Blue Mountains a popular weekend getaway.

From cozy cottages and comfortable country chalets perched atop the hillsides, to environmentally friendly eco-lodges and opulent luxury retreats, there's no shortage of options when it comes to Blue Mountains accommodation. From Springwood near the foot of the mountains to Katoomba high up in the hills, this spectacular natural setting is a must-see destination for visitors from all walks of life.

European ambiance

Whether you're escaping the summer heat or aiming to embrace winter's snow-tinged chill, the Blue Mountains retain a distinctly European air. That's especially the case in the bustling village of Leura, where countless English-style gardens front lovingly-restored mountain cottages. This vibrant hilltop community is a favoured artistic retreat, a fact reflected in its numerous art galleries and workspaces.

Just to the east of Leura is the Blue Mountain's largest town, Katoomba. Founded primarily as a tourist town in the late 19th Century, visitors have enjoyed the stunning splendour of the European-inspired Carrington Hotel since 1882. If you're looking to stay in less extravagant surrounds, Katoomba is renowned for its abundance of restored country houses, one of which is now the majestic Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa.

Climate changes

Sipping red wine by the fireside is a popular activity when the streets are dusted with sprinklings of wintertime snow. Many Blue Mountains hotels make the most of the region's bracing winter climate, with warm drinks, hearty meals and wood-fuelled fires the hallmarks of a mountain stay when the days are short and nights are at their coldest.

The Blue Mountains' cool climate also makes it an ideal summer retreat. Boasting an abundance of nature-based activities – including bush-walking, mountain-biking and canyoning – mountain towns not surprisingly teem with health retreats and environmentally-friendly lodges. The Hydro Majestic Hotel in scenic Medlow Bath is one of the most famous, with this heritage-listed spa retreat looming over the Megalong Valley since 1891.

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