... a dreamer, freelance writer, massage therapist, naturopath, mother & drop-out social work student living, working and writing in the Blue Mountains. When not occupied with the real world, she writes fantasy.
Published October 3rd 2013
Experience the charm of popular Blue Mountains village
Hailed as the 'jewel in the crown' of the Blue Mountains, classy, vintage style Leura Village is now as popular as neighbouring iconic tourist town Katoomba.
Less hippy and more North Shore than Katoomba, Leura is renowned for stunning bush-walks, small town village appeal, tree-lined streets, nineteenth century cottages and gorgeous cold climate gardens, with the annual Leura Garden Festival a key Blue Mountains calendar event.
Located 985 metres above sea level, Leura has four distinct seasons and many escarpment views. Check out some of the top attractions of this cute little mountains village.
1. Leura Mall
Leura Mall is the main street of the village, consisting of a cherry tree lined median strip with shops either side. Here you will find day spa's, boutiques, old world toy shops, candle shops, gift stores, local arts and crafts, homeware shops, a book store, chocolate shop, cafe's and more. Be warned, this ain't bargainsville. Ultimately, it's the vibe and not the shopping that draws the crowds.
In spring, sit beneath the cherry blossoms and scoff a snack, take photos and meander this quaint and highly popular little street. Take a step back in time exploring old-fashioned toys, vintage clothes or enjoying home-made chocolates. Take a peek at the little market near the roundabout.
For more on the shops of Leura Mall, go to the Leura Village website.
It's free to explore and all that fresh air and a stretch of the legs can only do you good. This isn't Parramatta Road but someplace quainter, greener and prettier. The back-streets of the town, consisting of wooden cottages (ranging from grand to humble) and cold climate gardens are one of the special features of the area.
Spring yields lots of blossoms to accompany your walk, summer is abundant with shady greenery and the beauty of autumn will send a chill down your spine.
Park the car or head out from the station and simply walk. Think chill time. Ahh ... breath!
Admission to this 1930's heritage National Trust operated garden costs $10 for adults and $4 for children, but you can stay all day and picnic on the grounds.
Designed by Paul Sorenson, the cold climate garden features cherry trees, wisteria, hellebores, lilacs, spring-time bulbs, a bluebell walk, conifers, azalea's, rhododendrons, maples, oaks, a grotto pool and more. There's also an on-site tea-house with toilets.
For all you need to know about the Everglades garden, see their website here.
Everglades garden - looks out over the Jamison Valley
Leura has many great walks and views on its doorstep. These include Leura Cascades, Gordon Falls, Leura Forest, Sublime Point, Dardanelles Pass, Leura Falls, Jamison Lookout, the Pool of Siloam and Fortress Rock. Details about these walks and more can be viewed at the Wild Walks website and Blue Mountains Australia website.
Fortress Rock, Leura - one of many walks in the area.
As a tourist town, Leura has eating experiences aplenty, from cosy cafe's and bakeries to upmarket dining and snacks served on verandah's. After all that walking, this is the place to head and ease a few tummy grumbles and sore calves.
Tucked away out of sight, something not so usual is offered at Ruby Fruit cafe. Here you will find vegan cheesecake and ice-cream as delicious and creamy as the cow version. This 'cruelty free' eatery serves up cakes and light meals like pies, salads, wraps, vegan breakfast and more. The 2012 Blue Mountains Business People's Choice winner is also a fave spot for allergy sufferer's, with not only dairy and meat free fare but many gluten free options on the menu.
Part tea-house, museum and antique shop, there's certainly plenty to look at here. This includes proprietor Maurice Cooper, who considers himself and some of the staff among the Bygone Beautys to be seen here.
Bygone Beautys is home to the world's largest private collection of teapots. In addition to the Teapot Museum, there's jewellery, antiques and collectibles (the largest collection in the Blue Mountains) and interesting gifts to gawk at.
For a refined snack, enjoy a devonshire tea with scones, high tea and various beverages in the tea-house.
My advice: don't bring very young children here. Little ones and hoards of delicate china aren't a good mix for the nerves.
For more on Bygone Beautys including their address and trading hours, click on this link to the Bygone Beautys website.
This annual garden festival features a spring extravaganza of blossom with several local gardens on exhibit for the public to peruse for a small fee.
This year (2013), Leura Garden Festival dates and basic information are as below:
When: Saturday 5 October to Sunday 13 October 2013
Time: 9.30am to 4.30pm daily.
Cost: $20 per person all gardens or $5 single garden entry.
Tickets: Festival ticketing in Leura Mall (near Leura station) and at Festival headquarters in Fitzroy Street and at all gardens.
The village remains a top choice for a weekend getaway with a plethora of accommodation options ranging from cute B&B's and historic houses to modern establishments such as the Fairmont Hotel (pictured below).
With its greenery, trees, blossoms and views, Leura is a choice spot for picnickers. Pleasant spots include the Gordon Falls reserve, Leura Falls Picnic Area (Chelmsford Drive (branching off Cliff Drive), around Sublime Point and Leuralla (Olympian Drive). The latter has an entrance fee to access the grounds.
My personal fave is the Everglades Garden (pictured below).
Picnicker at the Everglades Garden - ultimate chill-out.
Just out of town in Mount Hay road, Leura, one can escape the stress of city life and learn how to meditate. The centre offers courses in meditation and spiritual learning, based on the perspective of Raj Yoga.
Located on 132 acres of beautiful rugged bushland, the centre offers vegetarian food and weekend retreats based around a spiritual learning theme.
Leura village is located 100 kilometres from Sydney via the M4. From Sydney it takes approximately 90 mins by car or just under two hours by train from Central station. Leura Mall is a convenient one minute walk from the Leura rail station.