Obscured by undergrowth on a rock outcrop overlooking Megalong Valley are the vestiges of a flying fox, constructed in 1904 to ferry fresh produce from a farm on the valley floor to the famous hotel perched on the escarpment: the Hydro Majestic.
This ingenious device illustrates arguably the first ‘paddock to plate’ fine dining experience in Australia; and more than 110 years and many trends later, the Blue Mountains culinary scene has come full circle, with fresh, local produce presented with innovation and passion the key to an ever-evolving foodie scene.
Make the most of the region's produce and restaurants on a weekend away timed for Sculpture at Scenic World (Apr 13-May 13), the area's premier annual outdoor art show.
Since 1904 the Hydro Majestic has been an elegant sentinel on Sydney’s Western border, perched on a precipice in the Blue Mountains suburb of Medlow Bath. High tea is served in the Wintergarden, the dining room with banquette-to-ceiling windows that look out over the majesty of the Megalong Valley. The standard tea package ($55) is an afternoon affair on weekdays, but on weekends ($65) they wind it back an hour to fit everyone in; last bookings are always at 3pm. They also do a gluten-free high tea, as well as one specifically designed for children.
Former Vulcan’s chef Joe Campbell has returned home to take over the restaurant where he worked for ten years, creating an exciting Modern Australian menu with Japanese influences – think tofu with smoked eggplant, tea-smoked salmon, and beef slow-braised in the 100-year old Scotch oven. Fumo is only open weekends, with two dinner sittings (6pm and 8pm).
10pm Stay at Old Leura Dairy
Whether you're a party of one, four or 11, the Old Leura Dairy will have a converted shed or new studio to accommodate you. This upmarket, boutique bed and breakfast has taken several heritage buildings and upgraded them with modern amenities like spa baths and fully equipped kitchens.
Blackheath’s newest café doubles as an art space and concept store selling homewares and creative gifts, including whimsical coloured pencils. Food is cooked in an AGA oven, with locally blended coffee made from fairtrade organic Sumatran beans, served with single-origin milk from the Little Big Dairy. For breakfast, go the Spanish eggs, or the Sri Lankan scrambled egg roti with tumeric pickle.
It's the place to get a Devonshire Tea, a slice of sacher torte and a dose of yesteryear glamour, its darkwood interiors decorated with signed eight-by-tens of forgotten TV stars. They have also been selling their own brand of chocolate here since the 1920s. Tragically, after 102 years, the business is closing its doors on May 27. It may reopen in another location, but Katoomba just won't be the same. Get in while you still can.
As their name suggests, Bilpin Fruit Bowl offers a cornucopia of sweet treats for picking, from yellow peaches and nectarines in summer to Granny Smith and Fuji apples in autumn. But they’re one of the few places that also permits you to forage your own veggies too – the bounty they offer, depending on the season, includes zucchini, yellow squash bok choy, lettuce, capsicum and even green kale. Entry is $5 for adults and $3 for kids, after that you simply pay for what you pick.
More Blue Mountains weekend itineraries
Sculpture at Scenic World (Apr 13-May 13) is on again, bringing the works of 38 artists to the rainforest floor in Katoomba, resulting in a spectacular outdoor gallery. Why not make a whole weekend of your visit with the help of Time Out's themed itineraries? Whatever you love about the Blue Mountains, we have where to go, where to eat and where to stay mapped out for you.