Literary Travel / Travel

A book lover’s stay in the beautiful Blue Mountains


Blackheath Artist's Cottage

While there’s undoubtedly something soothing about the sea, when I’m in need of some serious rest and relaxation, the Blue Mountains are my go-to destination. A rugged region a couple of hours west of Sydney, it’s a place where the scenery is dramatic, the bushwalking trails are ample, and the air always seems to have a bite in it, however balmy the temperature is in central Sydney. And while the bulk of tourists head for Katoomba, with its cable cars and look out spots a-plenty, it’s the smaller townships of Leura and Blackheath that are idyllic for a getaway – with their cosy coffee shops, galleries, stylish boutiques and endless old school country charm.

The accommodation options are wide and varied – from plush hotels to cosy guest houses – but it was the beautiful Blackheath Artist’s Cottage, with its bright and breezy artist’s studio, colour coded bookshelves and huge landscaped garden which slopes down towards the national park and boasts views of the cliffs through the trees that really caught my eye, and so I jumped at the chance to visit for a midweek getaway, away from the flutter and the fuss of the city.

Blackheath Artist's CottageThe day we arrived was balmy and blue-skied, and the front garden looked illustrous in all its sun-drenched spring glory. The 1930s two-bed cottage has a pretty gravel driveway that leads to the artists’s studio, and is flanked by trees and bushes, and the entrance alone is full of charm,  with its colourful flowers and serene setting, away from Hat Hill Road that leads to the centre of Blackheath. You walk in to a light-filled sun room, which then leads to a beautiful open plan kitchen and living room, with an emerald green velvet sofa at its centre, a wood-burning fire, and a small but perfectly formed country kitchen complete with large gas oven.

Blackheath Artist's Cottage

The two bedrooms are both good sizes, with walk in wardrobes and antique furnishings, and the pièce de résistance for bookworms, of course, are the colour-coded bookshelves in the front bedroom that frame the doorway. In addition to the prettily stacked piles of books, the bedside table offered a complete collection of Virago Modern Classics, and there were more books scattered around the house, from coffee table tomes in the sun room, to a vintage selection of orange Penguin Classics on the mantle piece.

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After unpacking, I spent a good half hour pouring over the literary offerings in the bedroom, and after finally settling on The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, I boiled the kettle, and meandered out onto the balcony than spans the back of the cottage, for an afternoon spent in the sun, with my nose in the book and tea on tap. The setting is a wonderfully serene one, and there are ample options that offer either sunshine or shade, depending on your inclination. As well as a comfy couch in the artist’s studio, there too are a number of seating options in the garden, that make the most of the nature and beauty of the scenic surrounds.

While there are a number of nearby restaurants, we wanted to spend as much time in the cottage as possible, and so for our first evening we dined in on a feast of Thai takeaway, with the crackling fire and orange glow of the embers the perfect partner to a back-to-back showing of The Haunting of Hill House,

Blackheath Artist's Cottage

The next day brought with it the kind of fresh chill in the air that Sydney rarely gets – even in the depths of winter – and spending the morning on the balcony surrounded by a gentle breeze, birdsong and a book was a dreamy start to the day. We took full advantage of the cottage’s proximity to some of the Blue Mountain’s most scenic – and undisturbed – walks and explored nearby Govet’s Leap after lunching at Blackheath General Store. Our second afternoon was, again, spent reading, and we also decided to spend another night at the cottage, cosy and content as we basked in front of the fire.

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From the fresh chill of the Blue Mountains’ air, to the books, the reading nooks, the unrivalled view from the cascading back garden, the sun dappled spots and ample cosy reading nooks, the smoky fire, the orange flames and the crackling embers of an evening, Blackheath Artist’s Cottage is an idyllic respite  for the arty, the adventure-inclined and the bookish. Offering shade from the summer sun, and warmth in the winter, it’s a place to visit, whatever the season, and one to which I’m sure I will return for many a bookish retreat.

Blackheath Artist's Cottage

Useful information about Blackheath Artist’s Cottage

Book Blackheath Artist’s Cottage on AirBnb.

The Neighbourhood

Blackheath Artist’s Cottage home is located in Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia. Hat Hill Road is filled with classic mountain homes and lovely gardens. Further down the street you can access the stunning Pulpit Rock lookout, as well as Anvil Rock.

More information

The town of Blackheath is less busy than its neighbouring villages, with a local butcher, baker, supermarket and several great cafes and restaurants.

The Victory Antiques Theatre is filled with amazing wonders, and the monthly farmers markets bring together the best of the region.

Getting around

The Blackheath Artist’s Cottage is 20-30 minutes walk from the centre of Blackheath, shops, cafe and the train station. The local bus (number 698) stops near our cottage and can take you to Blackheath and Katoomba.

For ideas on things to do on the way here, check out these Blue Mountains self drive itineraries.

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