September 20, 2020 | 6 minute read
Residing in the quaint little village of Mount Victoria, at the top of the Blue Mountains, Kara Cooper is a graphic designer and owner of Mount Vic and Me. We recently caught up with Kara to find out what she loves about living in Mount Vic and some top things you should do when you visit.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Why do you love loving in Mount Victoria?
For me, the Blue Mountains remain unchanged. You pass the endless drab of the highway seeing those mountains rise in the distance. They aren't far now. As you cross the Nepean River, the car clicking over the bridge, there is a sigh of relief. The bush beckons. You drive up and look for those familiar sights, unchanged, old villages and towns, interesting shops and cafes pass by. Everyone has their favourite place to stop for a break.
In winter the mist rolls in over the upper mountains towns and villages. You might not even see the breathtaking valleys as you head towards Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba. But you know they are there.
The promise of good food whether it's devonshire tea, a good cup of coffee, a sumptuous feast, awesome vegan restaurants or the nostalgic Aunty Ed's Katoomba for old fashioned milkshakes.
The sweet smell of the bush after the rain. I love it when it falls gently, softly on the tiny ferns on bushwalks. The sound of the trickle of a waterfall as you convince the kids to 'keep walking, almost there!' Everyone elated when they spot the waterfall. When you step out to a magnificent lookout and breathe that fresh air. Unbeatable views, the black cockatoos moving across the valley in front of you, grand old eucalypts with their history embedded within.
Vintage shops looking for 50's dresses, a funny old hat, cats eye sunglasses, pointy shoes with imprints of old owners. I remember buying myself a set of black porcelain cats from the old terraces in Mount Victoria before desperately needing devonshire tea with my grandparents. How I wish I had those cats now.
So when you come here for a weekend embrace the nostalgia. Bush walk, sight-see, shop, eat, drink, sleep, take photos. We will welcome you with open arms. And if you need a list of things to do - here are some suggestions!
1. We have the most beautiful sandstone railway station (1868) making it a lovely way to arrive here. It's just 2.5 hours by train so sit back and relax. The views on the way up from Sydney are stunning.
2. Did you know that Mount Vic was originally THE place to stay in the Mountains? People would get off the train here and spend the night before travelling by horse n cart, then by jalopy car to the lovely Jenolan Caves. Mt Vic is an historically listed village in a World Heritage national park and a beautiful place to take it slow.
3.We have the best regional cinema (as voted!) Mount Vic Flicks with art house movies, handmade choc tops and $2 cups of tea n coffee. I love the homemade slices and lentil soup (served in the winter months).
4. Coffee, cake, breakfast, lunch n' dinner - we have lots of great cafes and you can eat at our hotels too. Try The Victoria and Albert Guesthouse, Petalura Eatery, Sushi at the General Store & Post Office and good old fashioned hamburgers at the Caltex Service Station.
5. Shop - Well, you'll need to come and visit Mount Vic and Me on the highway of course! You'll find McKeowns Emporium and The Gallery along Station Street with lovely antiques and more. On the highway you will find Cobwebb's Collectables, a sandstone treasure trove to rifle through.
All of our shops are all housed in beautiful historic buildings. If you are looking for incredible photography of our region, Gary P Hayes Photography has a lovely studio you can visit.
6. Mount Victoria Museum is a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours - just by our magnificent train station. It's a bit of a hidden gem but well worth the visit. It's run by incredible volunteers and houses a fabulous eclectic collection including (supposedly but I'm sure someone can clarify), Ned Kelly's sister's bed.
Kate Kelly's possessions were grabbed at Forbes after her drowning and it's believed the bed now resides here. It's said she enjoyed her sleep so perhaps you might hear her gentle snores echoing late at night!
7. Stay - When you stay overnight in the old village of Mt Victoria expect it to be silent. The stars shine brightly outside. The Milky Way floats way above you. At dawn there may be mist hovering or the sun may shoot across as it lifts from the valleys below. Kookaburras, cockatoos and currawongs start their chorus and you might hear some of our resident roosters 'calling the song of their people' from backyards across the village.
The village slowly wakes up and the coffee machines steam up. Some days midweek you might not see much activity at all but that is the beauty of living in a small country-style village. Relax, unwind.
8. Walks and lookouts - There is more than the Three Sisters to see with lookouts in our region. Mount York is a great drive and lookout, and you'll see where the explorers looked out and realised they'd finally crossed the Blue Mountains (well worth a visit and good disabled access).
Mount Piddington has incredible views and walks, I love Bushranger's Cave too for fascinating history and incredible views, stop by to see One Tree Hill which is the HIGHEST point in the city of the Blue Mountains, Sunset Rock is a lovely place to take a bottle of wine and cheese. Soak up the views and the quietness of our beautiful village.
Please note: some of these lookouts may be affected by the bushfires and not open - please check Parks & Wildlife info first. NO fires are presently in the Blue Mountains area of Mount Victoria.
9. Discover- Just wandering around our quiet country lanes, you can take photos, look out for resident kangaroos and birds on the lawns or just explore. There are some beautiful historic homes, original cottages and very pretty gardens. Like the Manor House, which was the summer retreat of newspaper baron, John Fairfax, built in 1876.
In our park just off the highway, discover the old grottos. These were created around the 1920's and originally housed a zoo. There are some lovely murals in the grottos. Look for the Ghost on the Pass/Henry Lawson mural in the park too. Free tennis courts are on offer too.