A recent trip to the village of Leura, an easy one and half hour drive from Sydney had me falling in love with this charming mountain retreat. If you've never had the pleasure of visiting the Blue Mountains, then you simply must plan a visit to this idyllic region.
The weather in May was ideal with warm days for exploring and cool nights to spend in front of the fireplace. There is also plenty of autumn charm left to see. If planning a visit in winter, then you will most certainly need plenty of warm clothes whilst April is the ideal time to witness the glorious autumn colours and spring when everything is in full bloom is just as magnificent to behold.
Back to Leura and what a delightful little town it is; just taking a stroll down Leura's main street "The Mall" it really does paint the ideal small village picture with rows of spring blooming cherry blossom trees making everything look prettier while you explore the town's quirky and quaint stores. From bookstores to home wares to toys and plenty of 'French Chic' boutiques, there is even a Christmas shop that's open all year round.
When you're through with shopping you can relax at one of the many cafes and restaurants Leura has to offer. The coffee at Nikita Espresso Bar is excellent with service to match but this small cafe gets busy and there aren't many tables so you may need to wait a little bit for a table.
If you fancy a pie then the Leura Bakehouse make their own fresh pies, breads and desserts with plenty of space and fast service. Wayzgoose Café is another old favourite. For dinner, there are also quite a few places you can try like Leura Garage or Café Bon Ton. We tried the new "Thai Square" restaurant one night and must say it was pleasantly surprising and unexpected to find such great Thai cuisine outside of Sydney.
Besides food and shopping there is plenty more to see and do at Leura. Leura's Everglades Gardens is absolutely stunning and a must to visit. The Garden encompasses twelve and a half acres with amazing views over the Jamison Valley. With both formal European style gardens as well as native Australian bushland it really is a sight to behold. If you fancy a picnic lunch there are plenty of ideal picnic spots at the garden. There is also a tea room, gift shop and art gallery on site.
If you're after more Leura sightseeing you can also visit the Leura Cascades, Sublime Point or Mt Hay on the north side. When you're through with all the 'proper' sightseeing activities then simply taking a drive through the serene residential streets is a must. Rows upon rows of pretty cottages and tree lined avenues make for an ideal scenic drive.
A spring visit can see you taking in the Leura Village Fair which is held in October on the main street when the town's scenic cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. The Leura Gardens Festival also runs from September to October and is an opportunity to visit some breathtaking gardens which only open to the public during the festival.
When it comes to accommodation, Leura has many charming bed and breakfast establishments to choose from. We stayed at Bethany Manor and it was every bit as charming as it claimed to be. With its neat rooms, parklike grounds, charming but unobtrusive hosts and hearty breakfast, it's everything you can ask for in a B&B.