Retro Road Trip

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By Ellen Hill

Once upon a time, when life was simpler, slower and savoured…

Convoys of station wagons piled high with kids, pets and bicycles laboured up the old two-lane Great Western Hwy, shiny Viscount caravans bumping along behind.

Ansett Clipper buses trundled the highways and byways.

Further back in time, people bedecked in Victorian-era garb trekked through the rugged bush to ‘take the air’.

Today, as we seek to slow the frenetic pace of our modern lives and recapture the best bits of times gone by, we look back with nostalgic fondness at cool cat cars, vintage clothing, retro furnishings, heritage hotels and food and beverage trends from bygone eras.

Forget musty and fusty.

The Blue Mountains of 2022-23 is retrospectively on-trend.

Here, you can relive carefree childhood holidays, rediscover long lost family hideaways and rekindle the romance you experienced as young lovers.

Make new memories and update your sepia photo album with fresh Insta-worthy pictures along the way.

Take to the road (in period threads if you wish) for a Blue Mountains retro road trip, wending your way through our 26 towns and villages, each with their own unique charm and heritage era in the spotlight.

Sidestep the highway at Warrimoo to take a gander around Robyn’s Nest and Whimsical Notions Antiques.

Delve back in time at Mid-Mountains Vintage at Woodford, The Old Bank Bazaar at Wentworth Falls, Bygone Beautys at Leura and Mr Pickwicks Katoomba.

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Time your sepia sojourn with an event for an even deeper immersive experience.

The popular Lady Luck Festival will be held at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, on Saturday, January 21.

Started in 2009 as a festival for rockabilly and vintage enthusiasts, the fun-filled event is chocked with vintage wares, `50s fashion and makeovers, hot rods and rat rods, dancing, a pageant and more.

Continue further up the highway to Blackheath.

Step inside the famous art deco Victory Theatre building (with the vibrant Jenny Key artwork on the exterior side wall) and discover an Aladdin’s cave of vintage and retro treasures within numerous themed spaces, each one more fascinating than the last.

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Pic: David Hill

After a day retro rediscovery, retire in the era of your choosing at one of the plethora of hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses in the region – Mark Foy’s 1904 party palace, the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath; the 1927 Royal visit-themed refurb at The Carrington Hotel; the Metropole Guesthouse; or a chic 1940s apartment in Katoomba.

Sporting retro-style fittings with the mod cons as well (streaming services, WiFi, smart TV), the Katoomba Getaways ground floor apartment is part of historic The Poplars and perfect for a romantic getaway or family road trip.

Stretch your legs at Kingsford Smith Memorial Park next door through the natural gully amphitheatre on land originally granted to James Henry Neal in 1877-78.

Wander through time at Mt Victoria Memorial Park just off the highway in Station St, where you can see the old grottos that once housed a zoo belonging to the Imperial Hotel across the road, the first War Memorial in the Blue Mountains and a great old bandstand.

Then continue down Mitchell’s Pass to Hartley Historic Site to roam the clutch of colonial-era buildings.

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Meet the Chef: Jason Lee Cole, Tempus Katoomba
Riding High

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