Weekend retreat – travel to the Blue Mountains

Located less than two hours from Sydney is the Blue Mountains, a stunning World-Heritage listed region attracting millions of visitors each year. Not only is it a firm favourite with international visitors but it’s a popular weekend retreat for local Aussie travellers.

With spectacular natural attractions, sights and a relaxed atmosphere – the Blue Mountains is a breath of fresh air after being consumed by Sydney’s hustle bustle lifestyle. Recently I was fortunate to escape to the Mountains for a weekend full of adventure and nature gazing.

Here are my top highlights and recommended things to experience in the Blue Mountains:

Three Sisters

One of the most famous landmarks in the Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters, an unusual rock formation towering high above the Jamison Valley. Standing over 900 metres tall, the Three Sisters is a spectacular sight and offers some beautiful and intense walking tracks. There is one trail ‘The Giant Stairway’ that takes you up close to the Three Sisters and then down to the valley floor via more than 800 steps. Learn from my mistake – be prepared and go early in the day to avoid missing out of the Scenic Railway that takes you back to the top, otherwise it’s a long thigh-burning climb.

Three Sisters (Copy)

Jenolan Caves

Now this will take your breath away. The Jenolan Caves is renowned for its spectacular limestone cave formations. Dating back to at least 340 million years, the Jenolan Caves is the world’s oldest known open cave system. Fascinating thing is the cave network is so vast – it has over 40kms of multi-level passages and it’s still undergoing active exploration today. Over 250,000 tourists visit each year to get a glimpse at the cave’s magnificent limestone formations and underground rivers. There are a number of guided tours running day or night and they even have ghost tours and adventure caving for those thrill-seekers.

Jenolan Caves - inside (Copy)

Wentworth Falls

A great spot for outdoor exploring and waterfall chasing is Wentworth Falls. Suitable for all fitness levels, one of my favourite walking tacks is Fletchers Lookout– this easy graded track takes around an hour to complete (including return) and offers spanning views of Mount Solitary, Kings Tableland and Jamison Valley. During this walk you’ll comes across a lovely spot at the top of Wentworth Falls called Queen’s Cascade Falls. It’s a perfect scenic area to rest, take some photos and soak up the calming sounds of the rainforest and cascading water.

Wentworth Falls (Copy)

Yellow Deli, Katoomba

For a dining experience that makes you feel like you’re on the set of The Hobbit is the Yellow Deli. This venue is perfect for a winter’s lunch serving up hearty soups, burgers, sandwiches, herbal teas and delectable desserts. Inside its extremely cosy decorated with log-carved booths, a stone fireplace, hanging vines and dim lighting. It’s definitely a quirky place packed with diners. Overall my experience was good – the food was delicious and affordable however only downside was the service. It was a little slow but at the same point it was nice not to feel rushed as it was so cosy and relaxed inside.

Only thing to be aware of before visiting is to understand that the Yellow Deli is a religiously run venue.  At the time I didn’t even realise it until doing research afterwards. I suppose my ignorance illustrates that it’s not in your face. If you can get past the religious factor then it’s a pretty cool spot to eat in the Blue Mountains.

Yellow Deli - soups (Copy) 

Have you visited the Blue Mountains? Let us know your favourite attractions?

Queen's Cascade Falls (Copy)

About the author

Danielle Muller (@stuffitgotravel) is a Sydney-based travel blogger and communications professional. Follow her travel adventures, stories and recommendations at www.stuffitgotravelling.com.



The best weekend markets in Sydney

Weekend markets in Sydney are a ritual for many and they’re a great way to experience the city’s culture, food, art and fashion. You’re guaranteed to get a bargain, acquire something unique and best of all each marketplace has its own character and vibe to absorb.

Here are my recommendations for the best weekend markets in Sydney

Glebe Markets

Glebe Markets 2 (Copy) Bohemian-style suburb, Glebe hosts a vibrant marketplace featuring everything from vintage clothing, bric-a-brac, records, arts and crafts and gourmet food. Home to over 200 stalls it’s a never-ending labyrinth of diverse treasures waiting to be discovered. Why not get your bohemian-chic on and sample the multicultural food stalls, enjoy the live music and search for a vintage fashion piece or original artwork. Afterwards you can explore this hip suburb boasting numerous restaurants, cafes and retail outlets on Glebe Point Road. Located: Corner of Derby Place and Glebe Point Road, Glebe Open: 10am to 4pm (Saturdays) glebemarkets.com.au

Sydney Fish Markets

Sydney Fish Markets - inside (Copy) A visit to the Sydney Fish Markets always guarantees a delicious foodie experience. Packed with tourists and locals it’s a must-do attraction being the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Experience what it’s like to be in an authentic working fish market and jump on a tour to see where the seafood buyers battle it out during their morning auctions. Otherwise freely roam and observe the seafood mongers crack open oysters, finely slice tuna and work the crowds. Be sure to grab some fresh seafood for dinner or try the seafood platters featuring moray lobster, deep fried prawns, calamari, oysters and more. Located: Pyrmont Bridge Road, Pyrmont Open: 7am to 4pm (Daily, except Christmas Day) sydneyfishmarket.com.au

The Rocks Markets

The Rocks Markets 2 (Copy)
Where else can you walk through the birthplace of modern-day Australia? The Rocks Markets is undoubtedly a Sydney institution attracting nearly one million visitors each year. With over 200 market stalls you can pick up anything from Australian-designed fashion items and accessories, original artwork and prints, speciality food and one-off jewellery. It’s also a lovely spot to waste the day strolling aimlessly while taking in the views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay. Located: Playfair Street, George Street and Jack Mundey Place, The Rocks Open: 10am to 5pm (Saturdays and Sundays) therocks.com

Kirribilli General Markets

Kirribilli General Markets - Bradfield Park Bowling Green (Copy)
A bustling marketplace with harbour bridge views, Kirribilli Markets is your one-stop-shop for all things ‘new and recycled’ in fashion, homewares, antiques and collectables, bric-a-brac, arts and crafts, produce, plants and gourmet food. Anything is pretty much sold here running through Burton Street Tunnel and Bradfield Park Bowling Green. From emerging designers to savvy fashionistas offloading their wardrobes – you might uncover a classic designer item or handbag. Otherwise check out the random knick-knacks, children’s toys and my favourite vintage typewriters and cameras. Be sure to visit the food stalls sampling such treats as Dutch pancakes, Vietnamese Banh Mi Rolls and Dim Sum. Located: Bradfield Park – Corner of Alfred and Burton Streets, Milsons Point Open: 8.30am to 3pm – Fourth Saturday of the month (January to November) and first and third Saturday (December). kirribillimarkets.com

Paddington Markets

Operating since 1973 the Paddington Markets has become a popular attraction. Originally started to promote emerging fashion designers, craftspeople and artists, this bustling market features around 150 stalls showcasing various Australian-made and designed products. Check out the local fashion, sample handmade chocolates, try on cutting edge jewellery and brighten up your day with some flowers. Also don’t be afraid to bring your four legged-friends, as dogs are welcome and easily roam with their owners. Located: 395 Oxford Street, Paddington Open: 10am to 4pm (Saturdays) paddingtonmarkets.com.au.

Have you visited any of Sydney’s weekend markets? If so, tell us your favourite spots – drop us a line in the comments below.

About the author
Danielle Muller is a Sydney-based travel blogger and communications professional. Follow her travel adventures, stories and recommendations at stuffitgotravelling.com.