A new book titled This Ain’t the City: Explorers Guide to the Blue Mountains is the bible of a local in the region. It shows some of the little joys of the Blue Mountains – waterholes you should know, hidden caves to explore, places to eat, drink, and shop, and even recommendations for hiking gear. The book is a collaborative effort of a group of 12 explorers, ultra-athletes and longtime residents of the Blue Mountains known as the Lostmtns. Since 2016, they have been sharing their stories and building a strong online presence via the Instagram bluemtns_explore, and following a triumvirate of disasters that hit the region last year (bushfires, floods and Covid-19), they have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help create their first guide. The group also organizes guided tours of the region, in partnership with local adventure companies.
Here are five locations from the guide to check out on your next visit to the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains.
Coxs Cave, Mount Victoria
Mount Victoria is the westernmost town in the Blue Mountains, approximately 120 kilometers from the Sydney CBD. It’s a part of the range that is much less crowded than spots like Katoomba, but no less stunning. Take a moderate hike through Coxs Cave (a loop of about three miles), with lush rainforest, old fallen mossy trees, and hidden caves dotted along the trail.
Upon reaching the main cave, a ladder leads to a large cave where you will feel like you have been transported to Jurassic times. Take the time to explore here and revel in the ancient scenery.
Estimated distance: five kilometers round trip
Start the walk from the Fairy Bower Preserve
Lockleys Pylon – Mont Hay, Leura
Not far from the famous Govetts Leap and Grand Canyon hiking trails of the Blue Mountains is the under-explored Lockleys Pylon. Take the trail from Mount Hay Road, which follows relatively flat moorland to a small peak with spectacular views of Grose Valley. Once you reach the base of the pylon, it will take you about 15 minutes to climb to the top.
If you have enough time, follow one of the different trails starting in different directions from the pylon – some offer other views over the valley, others over the vast Blue Gum Forest.
Lostmtns recommends the hike in the late afternoon, just in time to watch the sun set over the vast eucalyptus forests and sandstone cliffs. âIt’s really mind-blowing. Don’t forget to bring a headlamp as well, in case it gets dark on the way back, âsaid co-author George Kaplan.
Distance: seven kilometers round trip
More information here.
What can appear from cliff tops as hot, dry, rocky terrain actually descends into lush, mossy canyons and valleys, where waterfalls leap between crystal-clear pools and fern-laden brush.
You can explore the dense eucalyptus forests of the mountains in a more vertical way, taking a guided canyon tour with the Lstmtns team. With experiences rated from easy to extreme, you can learn to rappelling the Grand Canyon, feel the showers of waterfalls and slides in Empress Canyon, or tackle the epic Claustral Canyon – which is also wild. and exotic as it sounds.
There are thousands of possible canyoning routes in the Blue Mountains, so Lostmtns have picked their top five for you to try. Book a visit here.
The charming village of Leura is always worth a stopover, with its many charming accommodations, pretty household items shops and famous waterfall walks.
There’s a decent bakery, Bakehouse on Wentworth, rustic dinners at Leura Garage, and a myriad of cafes – although Lstmtns recommends heading to CafÃ© Leura for your caffeine fix. Owners Andrew and Dora have served the area for 14 years. To eat, these are classic breakfast items such as bagels, scrambled eggs with crushed avos or chili, beef or chicken burgers, and generously portioned lasagna for lunch.
Find out how to get to Leura here.
Mountain Culture Beer Co, Katoomba
There is nothing better than ending a day of adventure with a cold day. Mountain Culture Brewery is Blue Mountains only, located in a heritage listed building in Katoomba. Led by husband-and-wife duo DJ and Harriet McCready, the ever-evolving range of beers are inspired by the owners’ environment and are made with local ingredients and a special reverse osmosis water filter, this which means it is unlike anything you would find in Sydney.
They can their own beer in small quantities on site and serve a simple menu of burgers and American-style snacks to be enjoyed on the back deck.
Learn more about Mountain Culture Beer Co here.
This is not the city is available to order here.