Don’t let the rain put a dampener on your time in the Blue Mountains with these wet weather tips.
You’ve come to see those beautiful Blue Mountains valleys, but you can’t see much beyond your outstretched arm for all the rain and mist. So what do you do?
Whether you’re a local trying to avoid cabin fever or a visitor seeking indoor entertainment ideas, stay dry (and sane) by doing some of the following…
There are six meals in a day – seven including supper – so why not enjoy each at a different café? Grab a newspaper and a good book and snuggle up at Anonymous for breakfast, Cassiopeia for a coffee, Wisteria Place for lunch and Dbl Ristretto for afternoon tea. And if you still have an appetite after that – dinner isn’t far off… Only problem with a café crawl is that pretty much everyone else will have the same idea, so be prepared to bump elbows with other gumboot-wearing folk.
When it’s cold and wet outside, sometimes all you feel like doing is curling up by the fire, reading a book and sipping a coffee or a glass of wine. There are loads of open fireplaces in cafes and restaurants around the Blue Mountains that you’ll find crackling in the cooler months. A few of my favourites are Wisteria Place café in Leura, Yellow Deli in Katoomba and Lochiel House in Kurrajong Heights, which is a 45-minute drive from the Three Sisters side of the Mountains, but it’s worth it.
When the weather turns bad while you’re on holiday it’s license to watch movies, guilt free, because there’s really not a lot else you can do. In the Blue Mountains you can hit the theatre and experience a local institution at the same time at two gorgeous old-school cinemas – Mt Vic Flicks in Mt Victoria or Glenbrook cinema in Glenbrook. Both movie theatres are frozen in a time when choc tops were cheap and cups of tea were served in real mugs. Each screens a mix of art house and big-name films.
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre
Art, coffee and books – three of my favourite things in the one place. Located in the easy-access building above Coles supermarket in Katoomba (park underground and take the elevator up to level one) the Cultural Centre is home to an art gallery exhibiting Australian and international artists; a café with good coffee and excellent toasties, and a library. Plus it has free Wi-Fi and views – bonus! A great place to hang out for an hour or two, and it’s spacious enough for kids to have a run around.
Because it can’t rain in caves! These limestone caverns, located about a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the mid Mountains, make for a fascinating all-day adventure. Tours at Jenolan Caves start from $22.
High tea at the Hydro Majestic
You might not be able to see the stunning Megalong Valley with all the drizzle, but you’ll be too focused on the scones with housemade strawberry jam and double cream to care. The newly renovated Hydro Majestic puts on such a damn good show for its high tea that it’s fast becoming an iconic Blue Mountains experience.
Logan Brae Orchard
Logan Brae apple orchard in Blackheath is open to the public on weekends and operates from January through to July. Cuddle up in the packing shed out of the rain and sip a hot spiced apple juice as you ponder which box of apples to buy (Royal Galas? Pink Ladys? Granny Smiths?), and how many apple pies to take away for tonight’s dessert…
While you’re up Logan Brae way, take a drive down into Megalong Valley to sample the wines at the only winery in the upper Mountains – Dryridge Estate. The rolling paddocks dotted with sheep and cows look beautiful even in the rain, and the cellar door’s cosy tasting room is flanked by a large, sheltered picnic area. Known best for its Riesling, Dryridge also makes a Shiraz, a Cabernet Sauvignon and my favourite of the bunch – a nice, dry Rosé.
It’s a spa, it’s a paradise, and it’s the actual name of a Japanese bath house near Lithgow where you can spend any amount of time soaking in spa baths and receiving massages and other treatments. Prices start from $60 for up to three hours. If Sparadise is fully booked there are also plenty of other day spas in the Blue Mountains to choose from for a pampering experience.
If it’s only drizzling and you really want to get outdoors, a walk is a better option than a lookout when it’s raining in the Blue Mountains because rain here usually comes with a view-obscuring mist. Two of my favourite walks – National Pass in Wentworth Falls and Grand Canyon Loop track in Blackheath – are both fairly sheltered, and Wentworth Falls looks spectacular when it’s raining. They’re both about 2.5–3.5 hours long. If the rain is coming down hard you’d best avoid hikes altogether for safety reasons.
Admire the view from Luxury Bush Escape
While the Three Sisters may be shrouded in fog, one lookout that’s pretty reliable is the view from (promo alert!) my Airbnb accommodation, Luxury Bush Escape. The good thing about being based just that little bit lower down the Mountain, in Bullaburra, is it’s not as misty here (‘Bullaburra’ is actually an Aboriginal word meaning ‘blue sky’… go figure!). Even better is you can enjoy the view whilst soaking in the bath, surrounded by tea-light candles, listening to the rain on the tin roof with a glass of champagne by your side. Book now.
What are your tips for ‘things to do’ when it’s raining in the Blue Mountains?