Best places to eat / coffee on the way from Sydney.
LAWSON is usually the first stop for a pick-me-up or toilet stop.
Take the exit towards the toilets, that’s where the good eateries are, down on the bottom level.
The Black Cockatoo Bakery is our choice of eateries, although the range is very limited and they can sell out quickly. It’s also takeaway only. Go for the croissants and pain de chocolat if available and their coffee is good too. Grab some Khorasan bread or a cafe sourdough loaf as well.
There is a nice cafe along from Black Cockatoo called the Cortado Cafe. They make a very fine Rueben and the coffee is also very good.
TIP: Although we give you a loaf of our own bread on your first morning, grab another from here for subsequent days.
Yes, another bakery! Schwarzes Patisserie Bakery is a Blue Mountains institution. Their focus is totally German with a few Australian classics included. Our standards are the sausage rolls and jam donuts, but if you’re only going here once in your life, indulge with a few classic German strudels.
TIP 1: The coffee however can be a let down. Grab one from the cafe near the post office.
TIP 2: Stretch your legs with a brisk 1.4km walk to see Wentworth Falls. The walk is relatively easy and the view is fantastic. Turn left just after the village and follow the road to the end. It’s a great place to enjoy your bakery purchases.
No bakery here, but there’s plenty to see and do, although we tend to drive right past it. For the sweet tooth though the lolly shop (The Candy Shop) is a must. The range of boiled sweets will keep your dentist in business for years. There are numerous gift shops etc, but we have them here in Millthorpe too.
TIP: Parking can be difficult, but there is a fair bit in Woolworth’s car park. Also check out Josophans Fine Chocolates if you haven’t had enough sweets.
Once you’ve seen the spectacular Three Sisters and have maybe gone for a quick stroll, just keep on going to your next stop, Medlow Bath. There’s not much else in Katoomba to be honest.
TIP: Parking can be expensive, be aware of the time limit as the parking patrols are frequent.
MEDLOW BATH: The Hydro-Majestic is just that, majestic! There are three parts of the centre and we usually pop into the pavilion part of the centre for lunch or a caffeine hit. The pavilion has great history displays as well as local produce from around the central west.
The high-tea may be luxurious and a real indulgence, however the quality of the cakes we find is a bit lacking, but then we’re bakers ourselves and a bit biased.
TIP: Take a stroll around the interior of the building if you can. The history, architecture and artworks are amazing. As is the view! They offer tours but you should be able to get a good idea from a quick stroll.
BLACKHEATH: Yep, another quirky bakery. The selection at Blackheath Patisserie Bakery may be small, and their hours are annoyingly varied, but if you’re in luck the vegetarian eats are great, the meat products less so. The bread is unusual too and seems to have a bit of rye in it. The cakes are also very rustic and unusual.
Head over to the Victory Theatre Antique Centre to check out the amazing array of independent retailers inside. The range of items are amazing and eclectic.
Also visit the independent bookshop Gleebooks. They have an awesome range of books for such a small shop.
TIP: Take the time to head out to Govett’s Leap Lookout. You can never have too many breathtaking moments.
Once you’ve been through Blackheath you’ll soon start the descent down Victoria Pass. Speed cameras will check you and it’s hard not to gather pace as you go down the hill. The view west is glorious so take care as you drive.
HARTLEY: The historic village of Hartley is one of those places that we often see as we drive back and forth, but have not recently visited. Not since our own school excursions many, many years ago anyway.
TIP: Ignore all the roadside stalls selling produce. It’s usually not local at all and is overpriced.
LITHGOW: Not much here except for probably the worst McDonalds in Australia.
BATHURST: Now we’re talking! Finally you’ve made it past the sandstone curtain that is the Blue Mountains and now you’re in the central west. Welcome.
NOTE: Before you get into Bathurst you’ll find a stone fruits store on the left hand side as you come into town. They have good fruit. Avoid the other larger fruit stall as it’s not as cheap as it seems.
Let’s break this historic town down into separate sections. They deserve it.
MOUNT PANORAMA: Now, before you get all Holden vs Ford, take care when going around the track. The police love city folk opening the throttle on Conrod. A lap is a must for everyone, even people like us who care little about the sport. It is an iconic internationally renowned race track after all.
If you’re a big rev-head you’ll know all about the National Motor Racing Museum and you’ll be keen on checking out the 17 cars and tonnes of memorabilia.
TIP 1: Seriously, don’t speed.
TIP 2: Keep an eye out for locals taking a stroll around the track, ‘a lap of the mount’ is a routine activity for cyclists, joggers and walkers. Also look out for kangaroos.
AUSTRALIAN FOSSIL AND MINERAL MUSEUM:
Featuring Australia’s most complete T-Rex skeleton, the Somerville Collection comes courtesy of Orange collector Warren Somerville who also collected an incredible array of fossils and minerals. The collection is now part of the Australian Museum and includes the Chapman Collection which expands the range of minerals on display.
BATHURST RAIL MUSEUM:
The rail museum is the new kid on the block and we are yet to visit it. By all reports though, it’s incredible. They have the largest permanent BRIO railway set on display and one that’s as large as a tennis court! Impressive.