With its mountainside charm and rich community feel, Leura is an idyllic location for an easy minibreak. Should you care to drag yourself away from the fire, there’s plenty to fill a weekend itinerary here.
An all-seasons escape, Leura is the cottage town of your dreams with heritage abodes fringed with bloom-filled gardens and high-country beauty that unfurls into the dramatic landscape of the Blue Mountains National Park. A skip and hop from Sydney, Leura is an alluring accessible getaway that enables utter relaxation, whether it’s cosying up in a cottage come winter, hiking the many bush trails in summer, or sipping a cuppa or cocktail in the village.
1. Picnic at Leura Cascades
Spread your picnic rug with locally acquired provisions and stretch out under the lush bushland canopy as your snack to the sounds of tinkling waterfalls and native birdsong. Festooned with ferns and with views of the attention-seeking Jamison Valley, this is a popular spot to while away some lazy hours.
Leura Cascades is a popular spot to while away some lazy hours. (Image: David Ireland/Tourism Australia)
But if you’re after a bit of action, there are plenty of tracks to meander deeper into the forest leading from the grassy picnic area. Follow the stream for a gentle stroll to Bridal Veil Falls or the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, for a more robust endeavour, the Fern Bower Circuit will work up a sweat.
Bridal Veil Falls is a sight to behold. (Image: Destination NSW)
2. Take a hike in Leura
Particularly incredible during spring when the wildflowers are in full flourish, the Lockleys Pylon Walking Track lays out some of the region’s most spectacular views. While the Grose Valley vistas are the headline act, Mount Hay and Mount Banks also jostle for admiration on this seven-kilometre return track. Twitchers will need binoculars at the ready to spot endemic species and there’s plenty of ground-dwelling wildlife to keep an eye out for, too.
Watch the sun majestically set over the Grose Valley. (Image: Destination NSW)
3. Steam and sweat in a sauna
Soothe limbs after a bushwalk at Blue Mountains Sauna, a Finnish-style sauna and cold plunge, where you can let the 90 degrees Celsius heat melt away tensions. For the brave, take a cold dip and enliven all your senses at once.
Spend a self-care day at Blue Mountains Sauna. (Image: Declan Blackall Photography)
There are silent sauna sessions for those keen to enter a more meditative state and also clothing-optional sessions for those keen to feel entirely liberated, so check the session when you book so you’re not caught out.
Treat yourself to a relaxing day at Blue Mountains Sauna. (Image: Declan Blackall Photography)
4. Go on a cultural crawl through Leura’s galleries
With the beauty of the Blue Mountains serving as a muse for many artists and makers, it’s little wonder there are loads of galleries in the region showcasing thought-provoking and interesting works.
Begin a gallery trail at Lost Bear Gallery, where exhibitions centre on contemporary Australian artists, then make your way to Hart Ceramics to admire Lyn Hart’s creations and take a workshop, and pick up a unique treasure at The Nook, a collective space of artisans. Finish your tour with a quirky stop at Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum, where, of course, you can enjoy a high tea.
Admire several artworks inside the Lost Bear Gallery. (Image: Time Out)
5. Get a sugar rush at The Candy Store
Live out your Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fantasies at The Candy Store. With a range of popular international sweets on offer, including British and American, sugar fiends will find their Mecca. From the curious to the questionable, there’s a novelty lolly to please every sweet tooth.
6. Cosy up in a Leura cottage stay
When the weather is brisk and bracing, there are few nicer things than returning to a cosy mountain cottage to curl up by the fire and open a bottle of red.
Spend a luxe countryside stay at Orchard Cottage.
Orchard Cottage is your Pinterest board come to life with soothing white-washed tones, exquisite textural details and all the amenities you could ever need in a luxe stay. Of course, Leura is not short on inviting abodes; take your pick from the top Leura accommodation for a perfect weekend.
Check into the cosy Orchard Cottage in Leura.
7. Indulge at Ubika Day Spa
As you inhale the fresh mountain air a sense of rejuvenation fills your being, so lean into that feeling of restoration and book yourself a thoroughly enlivening spa day at Ubika Day Spa at Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains.
Now a salon as well as a spa, you can pep up with a pampering session from hair to toe with everything from foils to facials. You can also book a social spa session with friends that, naturally, because it’s the mountains, ends with a high tea.
Get a well-deserved massage at Ubika Day Spa. (Image: Destination NSW)
8. Enjoy cocktail hour at a bar in Leura
End the day with an evening tipple in a warmly lit bar where the drinks are well-stirred, and the ambience is on point. The Polar Bear of Leura welcomes with dark wood tones and an extensive drinks list. If one becomes many, stay put and migrate into the dinner menu that features pizza and a range of other classic dishes. For casual drinks to cap off a good day, head to Leura’s The Bunker and settle in for aperitivo hour.
9. Wander the Everglades
With Leura’s proliferation of grand estates and heritage houses, a visit to wander the grounds of Everglades House and Garden is a must for home horticulturalists and architecture appreciators alike. The stunning Art Deco house and carefully manicured gardens conjure glimpses of the past and feel at once European and wildly Australian.
Wander the grounds and take in the sweeping views across Jamison Valley, sit by the grotto pool and enjoy a Devonshire tea in the tea rooms.
Take in the sweeping views across Jamison Valley. (Image: Destination NSW)
10. Hightail it to high tea in Leura
There is a proliferation of high teas to enjoy in the Blue Mountains and Leura is no exception. For tea accompanied by views and bubbles, however, the pick of the bunch has to be the Sparkling High Tea at The Restaurant at Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains.
Dine at The Restaurant inside the Fairmont Resort & Spa. (Image: Destination NSW)
Poured to the backdrop of the Jamison Valley, this experience of finger sandwiches and sweet treats is one to remember long after the fizz has fizzled and the tea leaves have settled.
Stare in awe at the wondrous backdrop of the Jamison Valley. (Image: Tourism Australia)
11. Breakfast at a Leura cafe
This main street institution can’t be missed on account of its literal namesake, Red Door Café. Behind that eponymous entrance, you’ll find well-put-together café classics, good coffee and a lively buzz. Perch at the window to watch the world roll by or take a seat outside in the sunlit courtyard – it’s a Leura mainstay worth a visit on any mountain vacay. And if you’re visiting for longer, there’s a hit list of cafes in Leura to explore.
Stop by for brunch at Red Door Cafe. (Image: James Horan Destination NSW)