The Blue Mountains were amazing. I booked my hostel here for two days, and ended up staying for five. It wasn’t just the mountains that did it – peaceful and breathtaking that they were, with loads of fantastic walks in quiet, secluded forest, especially in the week – I barely saw anyone else! It was the lovely little towns in the mountains with lots of little shops to look through (I have a love of old souvenir spoons and tea towels for different places in Australia – very retro and cool… No really 😀 – so I was happy) and a surprising abundance of veggie cafes. I was really surprised.
Within Katoomba itself, which tends to be the main stop off for mountain exploring due to the presence of the formidable Three Sisters Rocks, there are a couple of great places to grab a bite to eat. On the first day I popped into Up Beet Juice & Espresso. Having ordered a vegan quesadilla, I got chatting to another fellow vegan from England, Becky. She works in the UK as a personal branding photographer – you can find out more about that here. I seem very lucky at meeting nice people at veggie cafes these days, particularly people on great adventures like myself! I finished my lunch and had made a new friend. The quesadilla was satisfying with a veggie filling washed down with a healthy green smoothie. One other day that week I grabbed a roasted new potato and chilli lime sambal toastie made with Turkish bread. Spicy and full flavoured, it hit the spot.
Unbelievably there was also an Italian restaurant, Papadino’s in Katoomba with a really huge omni menu with loads of vegan options. Soups, pizza with vegan cheese, breads, pasta dishes and all sorts. I had been walking for miles and after that wanted to continue the good work by eating something healthy so a delicious bowl of minestrone and garlic flatbread was on the cards. It was just the ticket. A hug in a bowl.
Another night after another huuuge walk, I ordered pizza. It was quite nice but I kind of regretted the vegan cheese overload afterwards. I don’t dislike vegan cheese but it does often feel a bit artificial. But it’s pretty amazing I could get a vegan pizza at all really that wasn’t just a tomato sauce base with veg on top which would be my usual choice from a pizza joint. This place offers vegan pizza without having to have the conversation where they can’t believe you don’t want cheese! A huge bonus. Leura was totally the place to eat in The Blue Mountains though. Rubyfruit is a cute all vegan bakery and cafe found in the upstairs of a small mall there. There was a menu with all the favourites like burgers and salads but also a large board full of specials. The counter had lots of the delicious salads, quiches, cakes and treats on sale that day. I went there for lunch one day alone and ordered a burger full of veggies, sauces and vegan mayo with a herby potato salad and crunchy slaw. Also the coffee here was fab and I had an iced one complete with ice cream.
The next day Becky and I took a lovely walk to check out Wentworth Falls and had planned to go for lunch afterwards together. There was obviously no contest so back to Rubyfruit we went! I ordered an incredible pumpkin and spinach quiche with salad and chutney. God it was out of this world. I reckon chickpea flour based and just packed full of veggies. I can even remember what it tastes like now! Becky ordered a burrito bowl because she wanted a light meal but this ended up being a plentiful and generous plateful with everything you’d ever want from a Mexican lunch. Amazing.
We also had to get dessert really as it was a celebration for new friendship, so Becky ordered a cherry coconut slice I think and I had the mocha cheesecake. If in doubt I feel like coffee or without saying, peanut butter is always a foolproof choice, and I was not disappointed with this creamy, rich cheesecake. Poor little vegans have it so hard huh?
That night we went to the Three Sisters again, tried to spot the stars in between the gathering clouds whilst lying on the viewing platform floor and spoke about what our travelling had taught us, and the hopes we had for the future beyond our trips. Yeah, maybe cheesy (vegan irony there) but it felt appropriate somehow!
The Blue Mountains is a really special place. You should go if you ever get the chance. 💙