Swirling, otherworldly mists, steep streets lined with art deco buildings, astonishing valley views, and a quirky miscellany of restaurants, buskers, artists, bawdy pubs and classy hotels – Katoomba, the biggest town in the mountains, manages to be bohemian and bourgeois, embracing and distant all at once.
Leura is the Blue Mountains' prettiest town, fashioned around undulating streets, well-tended gardens and sweeping Victorian verandahs. Leura Mall, the tree-lined main street, offers rows of country craft stores and cafes for the daily tourist influx. Leura adjoins Katoomba, slightly higher into the range.
The crowds and commercial frenzy fizzle considerably 10km north of Katoomba in neat, petite Blackheath. The town measures up in the scenery stakes, and it’s an excellent base for visiting the Grose and Megalong Valleys. There are several memorable lookouts around town, and trailheads for some top hikes.