Exploring the Blue Mountains – Blackheath

This village in the Blue Mountains is often missed out by tourists who do the usual day trip from Sydney. If you do have time to stay a few days in the Blue Mountains, you should try to make a visit to Blackheath.

Most visitors will stop at Katoomba, the main town in the Blue Mountains or Leura which is just next to it. With the main attractions of the 3 Sisters, Scenic World and several waterfalls located in or near Katoomba, coupled with the numerous lodgings and restaurants, there isn’t any reason to venture further out. Especially so if you are on a day trip.

If you just want to read about Katoomba and Leura, then click here for my previous visit, which also includes how you can travel to the Blue Mountains using public transport.

At an altitude of 1,065m above sea level, Blackheath is on the highest point in the Blue Mountains. Compared to Katoomba, Blackheath is really small by comparison. With a population of less than 5,000 residents, you won’t feel overly crowded here. The Great Western Highway runs through the Blackheath and most of the village’s amenities are clustered around the junction of the highway and Govetts Leap Road.

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This is more or less the main street in Blackheath with a small number of shops and cafes. Definitely not the place for shopaholic types.
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The most prominent building is this art deco styled former theatre that was built in 1915. These days it’s a huge antique center (it claims to be the largest antiques center west of Sydney). There is also a café at the entrance, and that’s where we decided to have our lunch.
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The side of the Victory Theatre is covered in a large mural painted by a local artist, Jenny Kee.
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The inside is chockful of antiques of all kinds over 2 floors. If you are an antiques hunter, this place would be a treasure trove.

While Katoomba has the impressive looking 3 Sisters rock formation, the scenery at Blackheath’s Govetts Leap is equally impressive, if not underrated.

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From The Victory Theatre, we drove along Govetts Leap Road to the end of the road. There is a public carpark and a short walk to Govetts Leap lookout point.
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The view from Govetts Leap lookout point is quite stunning. Overlooking the Grose Valley, it reminded me of the Grand Canyon in USA. This place was named after William Govett, a surveyor and the first European settler to visit this area.
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There are nearby waterfalls like the Bridal Veil Falls. The drop is more than 600m from the top to the bottom of the valley. Govett’s Leap actually refers to this waterfall, as the word Leap means waterfall in old Scottish dialect.
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There’s also lots of wildlife around Blackheath although on this hot summer’s day, I only spotted this brown goshawk that was making a big ruckus trying to impress a mate.

Blackheath does offer some amazing bush walks and if you love hiking and nature, this would be a great place to start, mainly because it gets less visitors compared to Katoomba. We literally had the whole place to ourselves when we were there. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to do any hikes this time, but this would be on my to-do list should I come by here again.

 

Getting There

Blackheath is served by the Blue Mountains Line and is just 2 stops down from Katoomba. If you are staying in Katoomba or Leura, the train is the most convenient and direct way to get here.

From Blackheath train station to Govetts Leap is another story. The distance is around 3km (almost 2 miles) and you can walk if you are game for it. Otherwise, there is the Blue Mountains Bus #698 that runs from Katoomba to Blackheath, and all the way to Govett’s Leap. You can check out the bus time table here.

For ourselves, we rented a car as our plan was to explore more of the Blue Mountains besides just Blackheath. If you plan to drive, it’s only a 15 minutes drive from Katoomba to Blackheath.

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