A regional tradition since 1980, mid-winter Yulefest is the season for which Australia’s first tourist destination is most famous. A sprinkle of magic, and maybe even a coating of snow, will fall over the Blue Mountain this July.
Bon bons and plum pud among myriad teapots. Belly laughs and classic humour. River cruising, luxury digs and dining accessed by vintage motorcars and modern glitzy wheels. Even a chance of snow flurries around one of the most famous landmarks on the planet.
After the exhilarating zing of a chilly day spent exploring the lookouts and bushwalking tracks of the Blue Mountains, shopping at charming villages and visiting attractions, sojourners are warmly invited indoors for steaming drinks, fireside dining and rousing entertainment.
Numerous hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, cafes and restaurants celebrate the winter festival, enlivened by warming entertainment.
“Yulefest in the Blue Mountains offers the European-style atmosphere people associate with Christmas – a chilly landscape outside and cosiness inside with roaring fires, hot food and drinks, traditional decorations and festive music, but without the stress and frosty relatives. Sometimes there’s even snow.’’Meagan Iervasi, Guest Services Manager of Escarpment Group
Book your Yulefest bed, table and experience early so you’re not left out in the cold. Here are some of the top treats to look out for.
Blue Mountains Limousine & Vintage Cadillacs
Vintage vroom or modern glitz: you choose how you make a grand entrance this Yulefest.
Guests will be collected from and returned to any location between Hazelbrook and Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains. Your local driver, dressed in formal attire, will roll up in a stretch limo or LaSalle model Cadillac.
Arrive the long way round after exploring the breathtaking scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area or cruising upmarket Leura Mall for head-turning effect.
“Whichever car you choose will make for an unforgettable, head-turning experience.”Co-Owner, Robert Spitz
Bookings available between 4pm and midnight any Friday and Saturday during July. Minimum two passengers per trip. Prices start from $59 per person.
Go to bluemountainslimo.com.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Robert on 0400 500 542 or Don on 0455 352 976 for more details and bookings.
Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum & Tearooms, Leura
Dine among one of the world’s largest private collections of teawares, including more than 5,500 teapots from all over the world and spanning five centuries, most of which were collected within Australia.
At the Yulefest luncheon, guests can tuck into a traditional Northern Hemisphere Christmas-style feast with all the trimmings (bon bons, serviettes and table decorations). Begin with a canape platter and soup, followed by a traditional roast with seasonal vegetables. Top it off with a plum pudding or pavlova dessert, tea/coffee and homemade shortbread.
Yulefest luncheon is served at 1.15pm every day. Bookings require a minimum of four people. Prices are $79.50 per person, $69.95 per person for groups of 10-19 people or $66 per person for groups of 20 or more with a complimentary teapot talk. Children under 12 cost $29.95.
To book, call (02) 4784 3117 or email email@example.com. Find more information at bygonebeautys.com.au.
Mountain Whispers, Leura and Katoomba
French champagne on ice, handmade chocolates, and scattered fresh rose petals. A private chef to cook a three-course festive dinner and a personal waiter to serve it. Wait, there’s more. Round out the day with an in-house massage and/or facial in opulent surrounds.
Whether its a romantic getaway, or an escape with great friends, every minor details matters at Mountain Whispers MW Collection.
“While Christmas is about family, Yulefest is a great time to take a mid-year break to focus on romance or time with your friends to indulge and escape the daily grind.’’Owner, Lorraine Allanson
Each of the multi-award winning, self-contained heritage properties promises a luxurious getaway in total privacy and comfort for couples and small groups. Choose between the emaculate Varenna, Leura Rose and Strawberry Patch in Leura and The Gatsby and Chatelaine in Katoomba.
Find more information at mountainwhispers.com.au or call 1300 721 321.
The Goon Show LIVE! Dinner and show
The cult comedy tour de overacting incorporates loads of sound effects, silly voices and a platoon of crazy characters which promise to have audiences belly laughing all evening.
It regales the stories of Neddie Seagoon, a good-natured and hairy sort, albeit short and rotund and the victim of a terrible weakness – greed. Coupled with his innate gullibility, Neddie’s covetous nature makes him easy prey to confidence schemes courtesy of the conniving cads Grytpype-Thynne and Moriarty.
Peppered with one-liners, the high energy show will feature characters including the world’s most famous idiot Eccles (yes, even more infamous than Neddie), the squeaky-voiced boy-scout Bluebottle (who reads his stage-directions out loud), Major Dennis Bloodnok a devout coward, and Miss Minnie Bannister the sexy senior citizen who lives in sin with crumbling, fumbling old man Henry Crun.
The dinner and show will be held in le Salon Grand at the Palais Royale, Katoomba, each Saturday night from June 29 to July 20. A a special afternoon tea on will be held on July 14. Tickets cost $135 for Saturdays, $80 for Sundays. Afternoon tea, seniors and group discounts available. For bookings and details, visit www.goons.com.au.
Nepean Belle river luncheon cruise, Jamisontown
`Tis the season to cruise the tranquil waters of the Nepean River aboard the regional aquatic icon on your way to or from the Blue Mountains.
The heritage-style Nepean Belle paddlewheeler will be festooned with decorations. Guests will board to the strains of popular carols against the picturesque backdrop of the Blue Mountains escarpment.
Tuck into a two-course Yulefest fare with all the trimmings. Begin with a shared platter of succulent roast turkey with fruit seasoning, a tender roast pork with apple sauce and gravy, garnished with honey-roasted vine tomatoes and accompanied by creamy sautéed potato; a selection of hot seasonal vegetables; steamed broccoli, carrots and peas; and a Greek salad with feta.
A dessert platter of festive favourites will follow, with White Christmas, chocolate rum balls, fruit cake, chocolate mud cake and rich butter shortbread biscuits, washed down with your choice of freshly brewed tea or coffee.
“We love Christmas so much that we’re holding it again in July – but without the in-laws, expensive pressies and weather that matches the heat of the roast dinner.’’Nepean Belle owner, Carol Bennett
On weekdays, tickets cost $59 per adult, $53 per senior, $39 per teen (13-16 years), and $20 per child (3-12 years). On weekends, $65 per adult, $58 for seniors, $39 for teens, $25 for children. To make a booking, visit nepeanbelle.com.au or call (02) 4733 1274.
Hydro Majestic Hotel, Medlow Bath
A night in Vienna: In the lead-up to Yulefest, relish the romance of Austria’s operatic golden age against the magnificent backdrop of the Megalong Valley. On June 22, enjoy an unforgettable evening of entertainment, led by Opera Australia, Oper Köln, Opéra Comique & Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris and English National Opera tenor, Brad Cooper. The Wintergarden Restaurant performance will be matched with a five-course degustation dinner. Tickets cost $135 per person. Bookings can be made by calling (02) 4782 6885.
Diesel Live@theHydro: One of Australia’s favourite adopted sons, Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel) will entertain fans on July 20. This comes three decades after he stepped off a bus with his band, Johnny Diesel and the Injectors, and set off on a chart-topping 15-album career. Tickets cost $150 per person for dinner and show, or $40 for show only. Bookings can be made at hydromajestic.com.au/events/diesel.
Traditional high tea: This elegant three-tier serving will feature nostalgic flavours such as ginger, cranberry and roast pork in the elegant Wintergarden Restaurant overlooking the Megalong Valley. Accompany your repast with a delicate blossom tea, freshly brewed coffee or a glass of sparkling wine.
Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Katoomba
Sink into the refined 5-star surrounds to nibble on delicate finger sandwiches, fluffy scones with homemade jam and fresh clotted cream, and a selection of Yulefest sweet treats beside a cosy fire place.
Darley’s Restaurant, Katoomba
For the ultimate Yulefest decadence, the hatted restaurant in the historic home of former Chief Justice of NSW Sir Frederick Darley will serve five and seven-course degustation dinners each Friday and Saturday throughout July with special winter flavours.
Can’t decide which events to attend? We can help craft customised itineraries for Yulefest travellers, including flights, accommodation and attractions. Get in touch today on 1300 404 606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org