With COVID-19 changing the way we live and work- with office hours becoming a lot more flexible, shifting to an outdoor lifestyle evolving to become the norm, and the option of remote work being more common than ever before, many people are choosing to move away from the city and to locations where nature is a lot more abundant.
In New South Wales, this has seen a huge rise in people looking to move out of Sydney and towards the mountains. In particular, the Blue Mountains, home of one of Australia’s most magnificent National Park.
If you are one of those people seeking a new home away from the hustle and bustle, the Blue Mountains is a highly sought-after area to live in, and this post will detail why it is a great place to move to.
We will dive into what it is like to live in the Blue Mountains, if it is a safe place to live, the best areas to live in the Blue Mountains, housing prices, and the top things to do in each area.
Where are the Blue Mountains Located?
Despite being a drastic change from the usual Sydney hustle and bustle, the Blue Mountains are actually situated right on the border of Sydney’s metropolitan area. The foothills of the Blue Mountains start at approximately 60 kilometres west of the city, but with an abundance of rail and bus public transport leading you all the way up the Blue Mountains, it feels as though it is just a heartbeat away from city life.
The area is sectioned into the upper mountains (the areas we are focusing on in this post) and the lower mountains (The Western Foothills, Penrith, Hawkesbury, etc.)
When you live here, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: relaxing nature walks with no one else in sight and easy access to city life and all this has to offer.
What is it like to live in the Blue Mountains?
Living in the Blue Mountains is a unique experience that most can only dream of. It’s a place that you visit for healing and rest, and very quickly, you’ll fall in love with everything it offers.
And why wouldn’t it? With such natural beauty, the energy is constantly calm and peaceful. This is an energy that slips into your bones and makes you feel well and truly at home, even if you are just visiting for a little while.
There’s no denying that the Blue Mountains is magical. It’s one of Australia’s top destinations to discover iconic lookouts and waterfalls, historic walking tracks, mountain biking, Aboriginal culture, adventure sports, historic buildings, and adventure- right on Sydney's doorstep.
The landscape is a kaleidoscope of colour with leaves on the trees ranging from green to red, amber, yellow and earthy brown depending on the season.
In winter, it is not uncommon for snow and frost to bless the ground and coat it in a sheet of white. The air is crisp and cold, with smells of wood and pine.
Summer, like many other areas in Australia, is hot and dry.
You could easily make the Blue Mountains home if the fluctuating weather does not turn you off.
Is the Blue Mountains a safe place to live?
Like most places, the degree of safety in an area varies depending on where you live.
The Blue Mountains are no different.
Although it is generally considered a safer place to live than the rest of Sydney, that doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely without crime.
The demographic of those living in the Blue Mountains tend to be families and older couples. The median age is approximately mid-40s.
Best areas to live in the Blue Mountains
Leura is perhaps one of the most glamorous townships in the Blue Mountains. It is one of the leading destinations to live and visit on holidays due to its natural local attractions and greenery.
Leura is often called the ‘garden town’ for its abundant gardens. Although many of the gardens are privately owned, they are open to the public at selected times of the year, making this a popular place for garden lovers to visit. Leura Garden Festival and Leura Village Fair are two popular events held in October that bring a lot of tourism to the area.
On top of the gardens, Leura is also home to some beautiful walking trails, boutique stores, gorgeous cafes and fine restaurants.
A great place to start your exploration when you get to the area is Sublime Point Road. Here you will find one of the world’s most spectacular golf courses and the popular Fairmont Resort.
Then, head over to the Historic Everglades. You can explore the gardens of Everglades and discover sandstone terraces, cool climate trees and shrubs, views of the Jamison Valley, as well as fabulous picnic areas.
Along Cliff Drive, bush walks can lead you to the Pool of Siloam and Lyrebird Dell, while the famous Prince Henry Cliff Walk will take you to the spectacular Katoomba Falls. Check out Bridal Veil Lookout, Gordon Falls Lookout, Leura Cascades, Linda falls, Lila falls, Copelands Lookout, and Flying Fox Lookout for more spectacular views and walking trails.
Wentworth Falls is the perfect place for tourists to go when Leura and Katoomba feel a little too hectic. It’s a great spot to live, where those looking for a quieter life like to retreat.
The area is surrounded by World Heritage-listed wilderness, with walking trails being what the area is so famous for.
A walk into the Blue Mountains National Park from this point will take you to many spectacular natural attractions, including Breakfast Point Lookout, Princes Rock Lookout, the Wentworth Falls, Queens Cascades and Rocket Point Lookouts. You will also find the entrance to walking trails that lead to Empress Falls, Sylvia Falls, Lodore Falls, Valley of the Waters Picnic Area, Queen Victoria Lookout, Lyre Bird Lookout, Vera Falls, and Lincoln's Rock (previously known as Flat Rock).
Living here is not for everyone, but those who move here tend to stay for a while. The environment is full of nature lovers and peaceful people who want to sit back and enjoy a picnic with a view regularly.
Katoomba is likely the township you have heard of the most because it is very much the hub of the Blue Mountains. Here is the only place to find larger supermarkets, cafes, shopping, and excellent public transport in the mountains.
The reason for Katoomba’s reputation is because it is a popular tourist spot, and Scenic World is one of the most popular places in the area that draws a lot of tourism each year.
At Scenic World, there is the scenic railway, the steepest railway incline in the world. The ride takes you down the steep descent past Orphan Rock, through a tunnel and the beautiful fern-damp cliff face in a valley deep within the Blue Mountains. There is also the scenic cableway- the steepest aerial cable car in Australia. The scenic cableway takes you on a 545-metre ride into the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area rainforest of the Jamison valley.
There’s the spectacular scenic walkway, a walkway at the base of the Jamison Valley, where you can walk under the canopy of an extraordinary temperate rainforest. And, there is the spectacular scenic skyway, an impressive 270-metre high journey over ancient ravines with breathtaking views of the rainforest canopy, the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, and the greater Jamison Valley area that are revealed through a glass cabin floor.
The lookouts and walking trails in Katoomba are also impressive attractions that are a huge drawcard for visitors and locals. There’s Eaglehawk Lookout and Landslide Lookout, Narrow Neck lookout, Cahills Lookout overlooking the magnificent Megalong Valley, the Cascades, Katoomba Falls, Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Cliff View Lookout, Wollumai Lookout, Allambie Lookout and Lady Darley Lookout.
On top of all this, the famous Three Sisters at Echo Point is also located in Katoomba, which also has access to the famous Giant Stairway, where, if you are brave enough, you can descend the 800 steps down to the floor of the valley.
Blackheath is a little further up the road from Leura, Katoomba, and Wentworth Falls, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering if you are looking to move to the mountains.
In fact, Blackheath might be the perfect destination to call home. A little quieter than the other towns because of its location, the Blackheath still has an abundance of things to do.
The town’s shopping centre has an extremely relaxed atmosphere. Of particular interest are the Victory Theatre and many art galleries and historical monuments.
Blackheath is also famous for its annual ‘Rhododendron Festival’, held in November each year. The festival weekend includes some unusual activities such as the Chainsaw Competition. However, the Rhododendrons are the major drawcard as they are absolutely amazing to see in person.
Like the other nearby towns, Blackheath is also filled with natural beauty and breathtaking views. Govetts Leap, Pulpit Point, and Evans Lookout provide views of the Grose Valley, the 608-metre drop of Govetts Leap Falls, as well as the starting point for the popular Grand Canyon Walk.
Lawson is a lesser-known, quieter area of the Blue Mountains, situated just before Wentworth Falls around Hazelbrook if you are coming from the direction of Sydney.
The smaller town is less of a tourist hot spot and more of a place families call home. It has its own shopping centre, schools, sports ovals, and has recently undergone significant changes to upgrade a highway from two to four lanes.
The area is full of beautiful walking trails, including various tracks that will lead you to some of Lawson’s natural beauty including Dantes Glen, Fairy Falls, St. Michaels Falls, Empire Pass, Echo Bluff and Frederica Falls within North Lawson Park. Not to mention the popular South Lawson Waterfall Circular Walking Track which is around 3km long and is located approximately 1km from Lawson railway station, leading to Adelina Falls, Junction Falls, Cataract Falls, Federal Falls and Leslie Falls. It’s a great place to call home with a lot to see and do.
In the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Glenbrook has often been overshadowed by the more popular Blue Mountain towns of Leura, Katoomba, and Blackheath. But, with its proximity to both Sydney (Penrith) and the upper Blue Mountains, so many unique things to do, and the houses available, Glenbrook has recently received a spotlight that makes it worth considering if you are thinking about a move to the mountains.
The town has reinvented itself recently as a trendy space with a little bit of everything. There are pretty views, cosy cafes, great bushwalks – without the hustle and bustle of all the tourism of its neighbours higher up.
Glenbrook is abundant with natural swimming spots (Jelly Bean Pool, Euroka Clearing, and Blue Pool), spectacular bush walks, and great rock climbing. Some of the most magnificent views can be seen when travelling by train between Lapstone and Glenbrook.
By foot, you can visit Tunnel View Lookout, Nepean Lookout or Pisgah Rock. Lennox Bridge is the oldest stone bridge in mainland Australia and is situated in Glenbrook, which is part of the reason it has grown in popularity in the last few years. There is also easy access to Red Hands Cave, a cave that reflects the Aboriginal dreaming containing red and white ochre stencils that can be viewed from a viewing platform.
Best businesses in the Blue Mountains
Restaurants, cafes and bars
The wildly popular Leura Garage is a cafe by day and buzzing tapas bar by night. The menu features crowd classics and shared plates, and they are all delicious. Casual and chic, the mechanic workshop turned restaurant has an eco-focus with everything from its local and organic menu to its award-winning sustainable fit-out.
With spectacular views over the Megalong Valley, this fine dining restaurant is a place you’ll want to make regular visits to if you call the Blue Mountains home. Its high tea is famous. Nibble on petit sandwiches, pastries and scones, or go for the popular Eastern High Tea. Even if you don’t feel like a meal, you can always pop in and check out the impressive building and view. It’s well worth visiting if you are ever on your way to Blackheath as it is right off the highway.
A local secret that deserves to be shared, Red Door Cafe boasts some of the best coffee in the Blue Mountains. If you’re looking for a great coffee and a bite to eat before a day of adventure or a busy workday, this is the spot!
The Blue Mist Cafe is owned by an Englishman named Alan and is a prime breakfast spot for locals who travel from around the area for a serve of scones or a hearty big breakfast. The coffee is great, and the location is even better!
Mountain High Pies is arguably the best pie shop in Australia. The pies- both savoury and sweet- are absolutely incredible. It is conveniently located on the right of the Great Western Highway, 1 km past Wentworth Falls Village when you are coming up the mountain and this is perhaps why it is so popular. It is the number one spot to go to pick up a bite to eat before heading off on a day of adventurous activities. Their coffee is also pretty great.
Local shops/ markets/ honey stalls, etc.
Markets are a huge part of the Blue Mountains culture. With so much local produce being pumped out each year, markets are a great way to support small and local businesses, as well as try some delicious, authentic products such as local honey.
One of our most popular Blue Mountains Markets, Glenbrook Rotary Markets, host two markets a month. Both have over 70 stalls, plus the famous Book Fair store. Fashion, homewares, giftware, food, fresh produce, flowers and live entertainment are just a few of the things you’ll find at the markets.
Leura Handmade and Produce Market is hosted every month on the 1st Sunday, 2nd Saturday and Sunday, and 4th Saturday and Sunday. Here, you’ll find a boutique collection of arts, crafts, jewellery, fruit, vegetables, bread and much more.
Mountain Marketeers is a community based and not-for-profit Blue Mountains markets co-op organisation. They provide opportunities for local art, craft and handmade producers to introduce and market their products to the local community.
Blackheath Growers Market has been going for over 17 years. This Blue Mountains growers market supports local and regional farmers and producers.
Private, secluded and exquisitely beautiful is the backdrop to your home when you live in the Blue Mountains, and the multi-award-winning Spa Sublime is the ultimate Day Spa experience if you need relaxation. The Spa is situated within the grounds of The Mountain Heritage Hotel and only a short stroll from the centre of Katoomba, offering face and beauty treatments, massages, and spa rituals for singles and couples.
Beautique by Ella is a Katoomba-based skin expert, qualified beauty therapist and makeup artist which an exceptional reputation.
Final Thoughts on Living in the Blue Mountains: why it’s a great place to move to
The Blue Mountains is home to some of Australia’s top attractions. With walking trails, lookouts, scenic activities, historic buildings, gardens, and incredible waterfalls all around, it is a place you will never want to leave.
The Blue Mountains is situated within a World Heritage area, offering a unique, relaxing environment for that perfect lifestyle if a change is what you are seeking. The region features a thriving, diverse professional business community, families, and retirees that will make you feel safe and at home wherever you choose to move.
And with so many diverse towns to choose from, why wouldn’t you make the move?