As a teen, I found out about the magic of Govetts Leap. I thought I would never see anything like that again. Of course, I have, but it is still one of my most favourite places.
And as an adult, I have made quite a few trips to the mountains to explore everything from the Scenic Railway, The Three Sisters, Little Hartley, the Megalong Valley and my favourite place of all Leura. In fact, I hope to one day make Leura my home, that’s how much I love it.
I love the climate, the bush, the views and the villages. I love to roam antique stores, indulge in a good coffee at one of the many cafés, and I particularly like to explore the quaint shops, mainly the homewares stores.
But there is a different view of the mountains, the artist’s view. Spoilt for choice on subjects to paint, the Blue Mountains lends itself to an artist’s eye and lifestyle. The mountains are dotted with galleries; the landscape beckons to be captured on canvas and the area screams Artist Retreat.
With B&B’s, boutique hotels, an abundance of good café’s and restaurants it is a place that could capture an artist for a weekend, week or more. But what if you had just one day. What then? How could you possibly capture the essence of the Blue Mountains in one day?
But you can, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out. In this article, we are going to give you a guide to exploring the Blue Mountains in one day, from an artist’s point of view that is.
The Blue Mountains
Located west of Sydney and less than a two-hour drive, the Blue Mountains is a rugged area in New South Wales, Australia.
Filled with walking trails, lookouts, villages to explore and jaw-dropping sites to see it is easy to forget time exploring this stunning region.
To help your focus, and more particularly if you are an artist, as you can easily get distracted with everything to see and do I have created the perfect day out.
In fact, we have done it ourselves, and it was a fantastic day out. Travel Charm hosted Art Escape Tours together with artist Kathy Karas, who we were fortunate enough to see do a painting demonstration at the Norman Lindsay Gallery, with one of the lucky ladies winning it at the end of the day.
So strap yourself in and get ready for an excellent Artist’s Day Out in the Blue Mountains.
Oh, by the way, you will need a car to get around, to rely on public transport would be too difficult and far too time-consuming.
This itinerary will allow you enough time to explore each place, some extra time if you want it to investigate anything else that might take your fancy, but most of all there will be so much to see and photography, ready for you to turn a beautiful day into memories on canvas.
Norman Lindsay Gallery
The first stop of the day is the Norman Lindsay Gallery. Start your visit here with a stop at the café before heading up to the gallery and grounds.
From an incredibly talented family, Norman Lindsay was an artist, cartoonist and a writer. He was the creator of the Magic Pudding which is still a favourite classic children’s book. Though not everyone’s cup of tea his artwork was a blend of fantasy and Bohemianism and rejected by many.
Personally, I find his watercolours amazing, executed with perfect control and with the subject that matter that exudes cheekiness and that could certainly never be deemed dull.
Take a tour of his studio, left as if the artist himself just stepped away, and then take your time exploring the grounds and gardens, dotted with Lindsay’s sculptures.
The Norman Lindsay Gallery is located at 14 Norman Lindsay Crescent, Faulconbridge and is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 4 pm including public holidays (except Christmas Day).
Tickets are $36 per family, $15 per adult and $6 for children.
I recommend you check opening times prior to visiting.
Leura is a beautiful Blue Mountains Village. Leura Mall is filled with coffee shops, restaurants, galleries and quaint stores and is a popular place for visitors.
Take in the beauty of Leura by hitting one of the many walking trails, with Sublime Point a great place to start. Sublime Point affords you commanding, breathtaking views, typical of the Blue Mountains.
Explore the National Trust run Everglades Gardens and for the more incredible scenery head to Gordon Falls Reserve with views over the beautiful Jamison Valley.
Allow a couple of hours in Leura for a bite to eat, a wander around the shops, check out a few art galleries and if time allows head out to some of the lookouts to see even more fantastic Blue Mountains views.
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My recommendation is the Red Door Café, great food and the last time we were there the staff could not have been friendlier. The Red Door Café is located at 134 Leura Mall, Leura.
I also liked the Leura Gourmet Café & Deli (159 Leura Mall, Leura), but there are so many other cafes to try, maybe The Leura Garage, which is on our list of places to try next time we visit.
The Leura Garage
Leura Art Galleries
The Blue Mountains are dotted with art galleries, and Leura is no exception. There is a quaint little gallery in Leura Mall, in fact, it’s just up the road from The Leura Garage, maybe take a stroll after lunch.
Lost Bear Gallery
Housed in a beautifully restored building characterised by beautiful period features that create the perfect gallery space. This charming building includes twelve exhibition spaces and houses a wonderful mix of contemporary fine art.
I loved this gallery. It was manageable, interesting and filled with a fantastic combination of artwork. The building itself is gorgeous and is a great space for a modern gallery, yet still, maintains the warmth and feeling of another time.
I highly recommend a visit. Say hello to Gallery Director, Geoff White.
When I was 17 I saw Govett’s Leap for the first time. I was speechless. It was stunning and incredible and mind-boggling. I had not seen (or that I recalled) anything like that view before.
The famous Govett’s Leap Lookout affords panoramic views over the Grose Valley with a waterfall plunging a dramatic 180m down to the base of the cliff.
I highly recommend a visit here. Take photos, do some sketches, or if time allows and plein air painting is your thing, then, by all means, paint away. But even if you do none of that and just simply stand and look and enjoy and immerse yourself in the stunning beauty.
Govett’s Leap Lookout has easy accessibility, is free and has picnic areas.
To get there – turn right off the Great Western Highway, at Blackheath traffic lights, into Govetts Leap Road. From there, simply follow the signs.
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The Carrington Hotel
The Carrington Hotel was once a favourite mountain retreat, opening its doors more than 130 years ago. Although closed in 1985, it was reopened eight years later after extensive restoration work.
The Carrington Hotel is still undergoing restoration, but it is a beautiful example of a bygone era and worth a visit. Walking through the doors feels like stepping back in time, and it is easy to see the grand place it once was. In fact on our visit, there were people dressed in period costume, there for a weekend convention.
Located within the hotel is Champagne Charlies, Katoomba’s only cocktail bar. Champagne Charlies serves traditional and contemporary cocktails as well as boutique beers and has an extensive wine list. And if you would like something light to eat with your cocktail, they do have a menu available for light meals.
It is a lovely way to relax at the end of a long day and take in some history while reminiscing about your day.
Located at 15-47 Katoomba Street, Katoomba. The ‘Carrington Day Menu’ is available seven days a week 11.00 am – 4.30 pm and can be ordered from Champagne Charlies Cocktail Bar.
Add Another Day
Are you heading back or are you going to stay in the mountains for the night? There is so much more to see, and I would strongly suggest you stay at least one night.
If you are looking for a quirky, quaint place to stay, try the Old Dairy Leura, the accommodation is unique.
And to fill the next day, I would suggest you head over to:
Echo Point and the Three Sisters – Katoomba
Scenic World – Katoomba
The Hydro Majestic – Medlow Bath
The Megalong Valley Tea Rooms – Megalong Valley
Have fun and enjoy your stay in the beautiful Blue Mountains.
Do you have any suggestions for the Blue Mountains? Pop them into the comments below and I can share them with our community. Thanks!