The wealthy neighbour to tourist-cluttered Katoomba, perched on a vast ridge in the Heritage-Listed Blue Mountains two hours west of Sydney, Leura is leafy and lovely, hitting our Top 100 for its winning combination of regal gardens, toys in a mansion, sweet shop delights and impressive arts and crafts stores.

The Cats Meow nicely sums up Leura’s appeal. Unique semi-abstract artworks, craftworks, furniture and trinkets, sophisticated and cute, populate the four rooms and a rickety stairwell of this glorious store. There are many more and, wedged between, cosy little coffee shops provide tasty meals and coffee-downing, paper-reading relaxation.

But kids, both of the outer and inner variety, tend to love Leura the most. There’s a great toyshop and a famously antiquated Candy Store in which rows of tantalisingly transparent jars loaded with traditional candies, liquorice and chocolates generate a constant flow of giddy clientele.

Leuralla, a bright white 19th Century mansion ringed by gardens and overlooking the Jamison Valley, is jam-packed with fabulous toys from the last century. A visit to Leura isn’t complete without a bushwalk (Leura Cascades is an idyllic starting point) or visit to the expansive 1930s designed Everglades Historic House and Gardens.

Where? // 100km (1hr 45mins) west of Sydney.

Did you know? // Leuralla mansion (now the toy and railway museum) was once the home of Dr Herbert Evatt, one of Australia’s most distinguished political leaders. After WWII, Evatt played a significant role in the establishment of the UN General Assembly. In 1948 he was elected its president and in this role witnessed the passing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document he himself had worked very hard to create.


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