Chocolate-box Blue Mountains village Leura is graced with perhaps the most eclectic assortment of boutiques within a stone’s throw of Sydney.
Here, a bagful of beautiful shops to spend time in after you’ve finished with all that outdoorsy stuff.
Mrs Peel – vintage appeals
Mrs Peel reflects Leura’s personality; she likes to do things (and look) in a certain, distinct style.
This vintage clothes shop sells curated, one-of-a-kind outfits (for men and women) and funky new jewellery and accessories.
The windows are full of pleated outfits, pastel tennis dresses and the like, that give you the perfect excuse to break out your cat’s eye 50’s sunglasses and bright red lipstick.
The prices are pretty fair, although don’t expect any bargain basement price tags on the modern pieces from the likes of Portobello Market veterans Emily and Fin. Shop 7/166 Leura Mall.
Josophan’s – old-worldly Belgian chocolate
Josophan’s exudes an old world, Continental feel and its chocolates are fine by name and nature.
The preservative-free confectionary is handcrafted in house using fair trade-certified Callebaut Belgian couverture chocolate.
The classic flavours are masterful across the spectrum. The smooth soft-centre selection is recommended, as is the orange rocky road.
Feel free to experiment with some of the left-field flavours too: lime and basil anyone?
Away from the cocoa selection, the intensely rosy Turkish delight is well worth a sample too. 132 Leura Mall.
Teddy Sinclair – manicured man cave
Teddy Sinclair has a very cool selection of women’s scarves, jewellery and briefcases, but make no mistake, we like it here for its pure man cave-ness.
Also make no mistake; this is not necessarily a cheap place to shop, but you’re paying for some totally off-the-rack (read hipster) paraphernalia.
Outfit yourself (or your partner) with a gallant café-racer-style leather jacket or classic double-breasted pea coat. Accessorise with vintage bags, belts and cuff-links.
For the beardophiles there are plenty of old skool shaving products, including self-help books such as The Moustache Grower’s Guide. 177 The Mall.
Moontree – for the candle fiends
It’s all about that scent. Candle and homeware addicts have struggled to walk past Moontree without having their curiosity piqued since 1997.
The artfully arranged shop has a relaxing vibe and stocks locally made, sustainable candles and tea lights of most conceivable sizes, colours and perfumes; Blue Mountains Air to Kakadu Water Garden our faves.
The entire experience is charming, from the low-key service to the beautiful art and homewares there. Don’t forget to wander downstairs. 157 Leura Mall.
The Nook – for crafty gift giving
This arts and crafts cooperative, run by local artists and designers is about the farthest thing you can imagine from a mall chain store.
Thirty-five producers, some of whom you can watch at work, produce jewellery, dolls, pottery, knitted scarves and hand-made children’s clothing.
Each visit to The Nook will be different from the last because the artworks on offer change at the artist’s whim. You’ll spot this hidden gem by its turquoise-coloured door. 133a Leura Mall.
Leura Fine Woodworks – for exquisite craftsmanship
Leura Fine Woodworks speaks of hand-crafted quality and attention to detail in a mass-produced world.
Exquisitely turned bowls, chopping boards, boxes, and book holders all emanate a natural Australian style.
The handmade furniture in the shop, simple and elegant chairs, stools and tables, will make you want to totally refurnish your house.
But realistically you’ll probably have to hand-pick one piece at a time since quality Australian timber and craftsmanship this good come at a premium. 130 Leura Mall.
Peponi Home – for an exotic touch
The words ‘African Homewares’ sometimes paint a picture of mass-produced masks and ugly giraffe statues, but Peponi is nothing like this.
Think beautiful yet practical southern African-style homewares, from woven baskets from Zambia to cheeseboards made from recycled wine barrels hailing from South Africa’s vineyard belt.
Proprietor Lisa Wright stocks up on her trips to Africa, but among the imported runners, throws and handbags are Australian brands such as Palm Beach Candles and Bedouin Societe. Shop 14, Skiptons Arcade.
Leura Garage – coffee and a graze
Time for coffee and/or feed? Perhaps your best bet is the groovy space inside Leura Garage; its industrial space a homage to its heritage-listed eponymous roots.
It does good hearty ‘slow’ Italian-style food, salads and pizzas, with consistent coffee. The slow-roasted lamb and the generous servings of calamari are both melt-in-the-mouth moments.
The Garage claims that all its fresh produce is sourced from within 160 kilometres, reason enough to try one of its cocktails (with a sprig of fresh herb, of course).
It can get busy, particularly on weekends, so book ahead. 84 Railway Parade.