As winter sets in in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I’d dig out some photos of the Blue Mountains I haven’t posted yet. We have on puffy coats and leaves are falling and it all looks very autumnal. This is just to serve as a reminder, it does get chilly in Australia. So try to remember that when you get mad at me next week for posting up photos of our recent excursion to Byron Bay and Noosa. It’s late spring here now and all about the beach. Forgive me (unless you live in Florida or Texas).
But, back on our first trip to the Blue Mountains in June, it was cold and we stayed in a charming bed and breakfast called Llandrindod. The two hour train ride into the mountains deposits you into a town called Leura with lovely shops and pretty places to eat. Quiet and quaint, it’s reminiscent of a romantic ride on Metro North into upstate New York.
Of the few attractions not involving spectacular views of the Blue Mountains, there is a Museum of Tea Pots and a Toy and Rail Museum.
But we never made it indoors during daylight hours since there were so many of these types of views to take in.
On our second trip we decided to visit a town called Blackheath, which is a little more off the beaten path than Leura and its more well known counterpart, Katoomba. Since the Blue Mountains go on for ages just west of Sydney, are compared to the Grand Canyon and are one of UNESCO’s protected World Heritage Sites (along with almost everything else in Australia), the surrounding towns draw a large amount of tourism with various ranges of accommodation. We opted for Blackheath as it has a bit more of an understated, local vibe. We found a great house on AirBnB called Magpie Blue with a hostess who gave us wonderful tips on where to go, what to see and when to see it.
in the entryway of Magpie Blue—a handmade light fixture brought back from a trip to Paris.
the back yard for chilly morning tea
our hostess left marked maps of the best views to catch at sunset,
the spots where mountains look their bluest (not that they really do in this photo),
where to find her favorite garden (it’s true, it’s called the everglades gardens),
and how to get to the megalong tea rooms.
an english tradition in an aussie landscape
our tea ‘room’
She also said to us, “Judging by your accents, I assume you are coffee, not tea drinkers.”
This made us roar with laughter, since she was obviously correct.
“Give me the weekend to turn you into tea drinkers,” she said.
With that she showed us her beautiful tea services stowed away in drawers for us to use as we wished.
“Here is an English Service,” she pointed into the drawer.
it looked a bit like this—enjoyingtea.com
“This one is French,” she continued,
and Dutch. We also have a terrific company here called T2. This wooden box,” she closed the drawer and gestured to a medium sized antique wooden box with a golden keyhole, “was used in the Georgian era to store tea since it was so rare.”
The key to unlock it was draped over the side attached to a silky blue tassel. She flipped open the lid to reveal dried black tea leaves mixed with tiny blue flecks of dried flower petals.
“This is the Blue Mountain breakfast tea from T2, it has tiny cornflowers and smells like vanilla, give it a sniff.”
It smelled so lovely, I drank it every morning we were there out of each tea service. Then I went to T2 and bought a whole canister of it, but also discovered they have hundreds of teas including Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Brisbane and even Perth breakfast.
So, she turned me into a tea drinker, and I’ll happily take orders for anyone state-side who’d like to become a tea drinker too. Just put on your comfies and peruse here—>T2Tea