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New Independent Blue Mountains Guidebook to the Unexpected

After a lockdown idea, my dream book is now out in the world! The Blue Mountains region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia, and for good reason. With world-renowned walking tracks, spectacular views, and plenty of activities to keep you busy, it's easy to see why people flock here. But what many people don't know is that the Blue Mountains are full of surprises. From hidden gems and local favourites throughout the charming villages, there's always something to explore. So if you're planning a trip to the Blue Mountains, be sure to read OUT OF THE BLUE!


Accidental Innkeeper

Photo: Accidental Inkeeper montage, OUT OF THE BLUE

As a born & bred Sydneysider, I had been to the Blue Mountains many times since I was a kid; but had barely scratched the surface of what was on offer (like most visitors).

Becoming an innkeeper through complete serendipity, my husband Gavin and I, made the tree change from Sydney to the beautiful Blue Mountains. We are now the proud owners of the unique hostel and guesthouse, No.14 Lovel St, in Katoomba. Despite the worst bushfires in recent history, floods and a global pandemic, we have never looked back!

Now, having totally fallen in love with the Blue Mountains lifestyle, I relish sharing my local knowledge and hidden gems with guests.

The World Heritage listed Blue Mountains are well known for the awesome natural beauty..and I will show you the many other reasons I love living here, and don't miss Sydney. OUT OF THE BLUE captures my curated local gems, for everyone from solo travellers to family holidays, whatever your budget.

“ We booked to stay one night and eventually stayed four and even then we were slow to leave this amazing place. Annette is a superb host, very knowledgeable about the local area ...I am already planning a return visit.”

Photo montage: Blue Mountains Stargazing, Blue Mountains Climbing School, Fusion Boutique presents Dave Graney at Palais Royale, Centennial Glen Stables

Many believe the Blue Mountains is just a day trip from Sydney - it's so much more than a day trip! I saw this time and time again when I worked on the 'front line' in a Visitor Information Centre in Katoomba, I saw time and time again that people do not realise the Blue Mountains is not just the Three Sisters. Equally, that you cannot do what they think they could in one day and be back in Sydney by 6pm.

If it's all you have, then come for a day trip. I know myself, as a traveller, I sometimes have squeezed in a day somewhere. I know it's not enough, but I'll take what I can get because holidays are never long enough.

I've included over 250 local businesses. There are still many more businesses that you'll find and enjoy while checking out those included. Within parameters that I won't bore you with, I prioritised what I thought would be most useful, to showcase the variety of villages to explore - and finally had to draw a line to get this book into your hands!

I hope this guide will help you plan more time in the Blue Mountains. I know that it will show you how to make the most of whatever time you have. For those lucky enough to live within a regular getaway, there's lots for you to see & do across multiple visits. Plan ahead. Each season has its own appeal, and (thankfully, in the COVID new normal) the calendar of special events is refilling across the year.


“Annette was super helpful, providing so much information”

Lapstone to Mount Irvine

Photo: OUT OF THE BLUE map

The biggest misconception about the Blue Mountains, is that it is basically Katoomba and the Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls and probably Blackheath's Grand Canyon walk and Hanging Rock. Thankfully, this is changing, and the day trip mentality will change with it. OUT OF THE BLUE covers Lapstone to Mount Irvine in detail, and some tasters of even more wonderful destinations beyond these borders. Many people drive up from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, which gives you great freedom to explore along the way as well. Make the most of your visit by coming up in the evening, stop off for dinner along the way, check in to your accommodation and wake up in the beautiful Blue Mountains. No.14 Lovel St has contactless self check-in to give our guests maximum flexibility for late check ins.

Finding what you need is easy

Photo: Easy reference tables, OUT OF THE BLUE

When it comes to dining out, this book is the ultimate cheat sheet. I often heard the same questions and frustration from guests - "I can't eat gluten, but where can I go for a nice dinner?" Or, "It's Sunday night and everything is closed!" With OUT OF THE BLUE, those concerns are a thing of the past. Each entry not only lists dietary options like gluten free and vegan, but also important details like accessibility, good for kids, and pet-friendliness. Just whip out the handy guide to see which restaurants are open on any given day of the week. No more frantic Googling - OUT OF THE BLUE has got you covered when it comes to easy reference options.

“Annette knows a lot about the area!”

With so many interesting businesses included from cafes and tours to events and unique local makers, OUT OF THE BLUE is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to explore the Blue Mountains. It's easy to read layout also makes it a great gift for someone who loves the area or is planning a visit. So what are you waiting for? Buy your copy now!


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