Hanging swamps, wildlife and waterfalls for this bushwalk
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Grand Cliff Top Track between Leura and Wentworth Falls, NSW, Australia is a great bush walk for waterfalls, sandstone croppings, rainforest blends and nature at its finest.
Last time I went on the walk there was some damage to Lillian’s Bridge and other branching walks, so check out the latest with National Parks Service before undertaking.
You can begin at Fairmont Resort or the Conservation Hut Cafe for a one way two hour walk of around 3kms. Many of the steps can be a bit steep, but they are relatively easy to negotiate. It is a graded walk of easy to medium.
The greatest feature is the Valley of the Waters. Here you can see Empress Falls, Lodore Falls and Sylvia Falls. There are several outlooks along this track that you can see them, or take a longer walk into the Valley’s trail.
For public transport, bus 695 goes about 800 metres from the car park and the trolley also runs to the resort. At the Hut bus 685 takes you to Fletcher Street next to the cafe to the Wentworth Falls railway station.
Start at level four of the resort parking lot at the eastern side and take the unsignposted track that leads across the edge of the golf course, past tennis courts and into the woods. The 14th tee is the start of Inspiration Point tract.
About 200 metres further there will be a fork, take the left route for the Grand Cliff Top Track. Here you will go across a boardwalk of the hanging swamp with some lookouts along the way you can sidetrack a few metres for a sight. If you go in the morning, there will be lots of birds in this area. Keep your camera ready and ears sharp. Many of the Australian birds have a distinct sound you can pick up. If you get a photo of that black cocky send me a copy, that bugger keeps getting away from me.
Now you begin a descent to Lillian’s Glen and the Bridge. This is a very old bridge that needs repaired; if you get across turn right.
There will be a picnic bench on your left and a simple footbridge that joins with the National Pass through the valley. Go to your left and you will come upon three step metal steps.
Take the Empress Lookout path to see Empress Falls and a few minutes more down the track Queen Victoria Lookout for gorgeous views of the Valley. There will be a lot of steps from this point and lots of beautiful scenery.
At the top of the steps is the Hut. Here there is an open fireplace on crisp cool days and beautiful deck on warm. Take a rest here to revive and enjoy great food and service. The cafe is popular for brekkie and lunch. There are great paintings by the local artist, Michael White, on the walls. There is also lots of signs and sale items for information about the Hut, the Valley and conservation efforts.
Please don’t make your own paths and damage foliage along the way. The hanging swamps are very important to the environment of the mountains, they regulate water. Stick to the paths the Rangers have set out for the least amount of effect on the environment.
If you are into bush walking, then this is the perfect place to go while you are in Sydney. The Blue Mountains is west of Sydney, and best reached by car, but there are buses and trains which can also get you there. There are some magical views everywhere throughout the mountains. Cliffs, escarpments, waterfalls, and lookouts, the Blue Mountains really are something you have to see whilst down under. There is a lot of history here, but I wont bore you with that, just go check it out for yourself. My photos don't really do the place justice, but I will definitely go back there!
Fairway Lodge is a golf retreat paradise
Fairway Lodge Bed and Breakfast lies in Leura, NSW, Australia overlooking the Leura Golf Club’s first tee and some great bush areas. It is a secluded hideaway with lots to offer.
There is an open log fire to warm during those chilly nights and mornings in the lounge. The ceilings are place high for large windows of natural light to flood the rooms. It is open, airy and comfortable place from the owners, Ken and Leonie Berreux. It is a great place for a retreat in writing, painting, or just a few great rounds of golf.
They have several packages available on specials. i.e. Bushwalking package of two night just $280, Deluxe VIP Golf package for two nights with two rounds of golf in the King room with double spa for $430 or the Golf package of three nights with four rounds of gold for $500.
Rooms with breakfast:
Queen room with ensuite $155 a night
Twin room with ensuite $165 a night
King room with double spa bath $185 a night
Self contained units
Twin $145 a night
Queen and twin suite $260 a night
(This is a non smoking venue.)
Fairway Lodge is close to many more attractions to fill you days. It is only minutes from some great bushwalks, Sublime Point Lookout for a view of the Three Sisters and wonderful picnic area, only a kilometre from the village of Leura, down the road from Everglades Gardens and the Toy and Railway Museum.
There are bus stops and trolleys that stop near this Lodge at the York’s Fairmont Resort.
Closest dining would be at the Leura Golf Club or Fairmont’s two restaurants: Eucalypt for fine dining and Jamison for buffet style.
The decor is a bit outdated, but is very comfortable and clean.
Silks is dining with class of Tuscany
Silks Brasserie on the Mall in Leura, NSW, Australia is modern Australian fine dining with French influence. They are an award winning dining experience, receiving rave reviews from as far as London.
The building was built over 100 years ago and a home to many businesses. It was a greengrocer’s shop, taxi office, shoe shop, and antique store. In 1991 it was converted to a restaurant for La Sala, and became Silks in 1994.
They are open seven days a week with lunch starting at 12:00 with last receiving at 2:30, dinner served at 6:00 with last receiving at 9:00. They are a fully licensed restaurant with a famous wine list and exquisite food.
There is a lunch and A la Carte menu with the only change is there is no lunch menu used on Sunday. Entrees from $20.00-$22.00, mains from $29.00-$36.00, side dishes for $8.00 and desserts from $12.00-$15.00.
The menu changes from time to time but to give an idea of the selections:
Entree: Tasmanian smoked salmon on warm potato cake with caviar and chive cream
Main: Oven roasted lamb loin on baked polenta with baba gan ouj, Ligurian olives and jus Nicoise
Dessert: caramelised warm banana tart served with coconut ice cream
They will cater to groups and weddings, even booking out the entire restaurant for up to 60 people.
There are highchairs available and colouring for entertainment of your little ones. They will also negotiate with them to find a dish they will like, tailored to their taste.
The decor is sophisticated and atmosphere warm with high ceilings and a touch of Tuscany. The way it lights up at nights is mesmorizing. The light’s gold glow resembles torches against the gold wall. The tables are always crisp and set up to the perfect arrangement. They are very particular with all details.
Bookings are essential on weekends and always recommended. Parking along the street or in the town’s lot, only minutes from the train station and on the bus line.
Let the Goose scone you with a flower pot
Wayzgoose Cafe on The Mall in Leura, NSW, Australia is a great place for brekkie or lunch. They are home to the famous “flower pot” scones. They make the scones in flower pots and serve with cream and jelly, they are absolutely to die for wonderful.
They have a patio terrace behind the cafe with several tables and overlooking the Leura mural. The inside is a long layout dining area with bench seat tables and singles. There are also sidewalk cafe tables to enjoy. There is a coffee motif and checkerboard floor tiles that add to the atmosphere richness.
This building was once the Federal printing works until 1980. The name of the cafe is a printing term, they have the meaning of it placed on the cafe wall, or ask the waitress what it means. You can just imagine the printing presses lined up in that long inside dining area.
Entrees run $4.90 to $13.90, mains $9.90 to $18.00, desserts $1.90 to $8.90. Specials are always listed on the board. The kid’s menu is a wide selection for $9.00 for lunch with healthy choices of fruit juice or milk, and brekkie runs $3.00 to $6.50. There are vegetarian choices, and they cater for allergies of patrons. i.e. gluten free items and arrange meals for others.
There are highchairs for the little ones, plenty of room for prams inside and out, there are changing facilities and they have colouring pages for entertainment. There is one step down to the inside dining area and two steps to get into the place, unless you come around from the back patio with your wheelchair.
They are open seven days a week for brekkie running 9:00-11.30 and lunch from 11:30-4:30. They accept credit cards and epftos and are licensed BYO.
I highly recommend for brekkie meal with scones the highlight of the menu, and their chargrilled vegetables and cheese on Turkish toasted bread and salad is great for lunch.
I love to go here with a book and have coffee and relax. They get pretty busy at times, but they are so worth coming back to later when it is clearing out or waiting for a table.
Town of Leura
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Leura is 109 kms west of Sydney at an elevation of 985 metres. The village centre is divided by Leura Mall with a wide median planted with trees. Many of the visitors and locals sit on the greens here for lunch, snack or just enjoying the atmosphere. It is beautiful during Autumn with the leaves turning golds, reds and touches of green.
This is a shopper’s paradise town. All along the mall are specialty shops, cafes, restaurants, and galleries. Cuisine is available from the fine dining to cafe style, Australian to French. The galleries are paintings, jewellery, wood and homemade gifts. There are antiques, quilting supplies, homeware, rare books, new books, Christmas shoppe, Lolly shop, giftware, clothing, chemist, butcher, groceries, and stationary.
There are accommodations available is a variety of comforts through the town, from resorts to Bed and Breakfasts.
There are trails, waterfalls and many scenic lookouts: Leura Cascades, Bridal Veil Falls, Gordon Falls, Cascades Park, Prince Henry Cliff Walk, and Sublime Point with a 300 degree view of Jamison Valley.
NSW Toy and Railway Museum is housed here. Leura Golf Club has excellent 18 hole course and restaurant.
There is a market on the street beside Leura Mall with all kinds of homemade goods food and clothing on the weekends.
There is history abounds with wonderful historic buildings and gardens.
Everglades Gardens is a masterpiece in landscaping by the Dane, Sorensen. They have a lot of events from outdoor plays to teas here. Many houses have formal, English-style cool climate gardens.
The Leura Gardens Festival in October draws many visitors and artists to the area to behold the beauty of those gardens.
There is a train station and it is on the bus and trolley line. The main source of income in this town is tourism and they gather in droves. It is hard to drive down the main street for the herds of them trying to cross to the median or other side. They are in tourist mode and don’t realize to look where they are going, so watch out if you are driving through the town.
Sweet shops, cafes and boutiques in Leura
Just one stop before the famous Katoomba, an hour and a half out of Sydney is the picturesque mountain town Leura. Just a short stroll from the train station is the gorgeous Leura mall, which is the main street of the town. This tree lined strip houses a bundle of cute little shops, lovely cafes and restaurants. On a weekend the street is usually bustling but not overcrowded with visitors from the greater Sydney area on day trips for some fresh mountain air, retail exploration, home-style eating and art viewing.
There a a number of little shops including second hand books, boutique clothes, crafts, arts, music, toys but the sweetest is the wonderful little candy store which makes your teeth ache as you walk in. It's an old fashioned place which sells both newer and older fashioned sweets by weight.
Overall the street has a rather old fashioned feel and some of the cafes decor reflects the architecture well. It's an interesting look into what Australia looked like in the first half of the 20th Century.