A weekend on the fly – literally. Skip the crowded views of the Blue Mountains’ peaks in search of what lies (and flies) beneath them, stopping to forage, fish, and wild swim.
There’s no denying the spectacular wilderness of the Blue Mountains. Granted, nobody is really trying to deny it; there are hiking trails and viewing platforms-a-plenty for visitors to take in the captivating breadth of what 1 million hectares of NSW’s best forest, cliffs, waterfalls and valleys. This weekend, however, our destination lies within the valleys, beneath the cliffs and soaring treetops of the mountains, down to ground level as we slip into the unadulterated embrace of the gently flowing Cox’s River.
At just over two hours out of Sydney, the Cox’s River is an easy day trip, and an even better weekender. For this weekend, pack up the tray of the Brand-New Mazda BT-50 with rods, waders and tackle boxes. Do doing things a little differently than the usual ‘hike and view’, this time opting for more of a ‘wade and cast’ experience. Social distancing at its voluntary finest.
The early bird catches the worm, so aim for a 5am start on the road if you’re really keen to up your angling chances
Straight up the guts of the Great Western Highway, it becomes a pleasurable journey the moment you begin the gradual ascent through the picturesque towns at the base of the Blue Mountains. Wake up with a coffee, a breakfast scone or a sandwich once arriving at the charming town of Leura, before continuing through to one of the access points of the 100 kilometre-long Cox’s River. Thankfully, the on and off-road capabilities of the BT-50 allows you to pick almost any preferred casting spot along the river. High and low range four-wheel driving is just a toggle away, and the locking rear differential can help you get out of any tricky spots you might find yourself.
Luckily, during the spring and summer months thanks to the spawning cycle of the trout found in the flowing rivers nearby, the Cox’s River is well and truly open for some exciting fly fishing. If you’re not sure of where to set up shop, the river arm of Lake Lyell is a great spot to grab your gear out of the tray, and head in search of a catch.
With local intel that “you won’t find many fish ‘til you hit high water marks”, walk upstream for a while to find your preferred spot. The rest of the morning and early afternoon is spent blissfully unaware of the outside world, casting, drawing back and casting again, with nothing but the splash of the river and surrounding wildlife as our white noise. It’s atmospheric stuff that can be enjoyed all along the river.
Fresh catches in tow or just a few disappointed souls, whatever the outcome of the day’s expedition might be, a night at the Parklands Blue Mountains in Blackheath will well and truly ensure the day ends on a high note. The European-style estate’s in-house restaurant Darley’s can provide delicious comfort to a couple of bruised egos or host the perfect celebration dinner. Spend the evening in a robe and slippers, or make a last-minute appointment at their private spa. A relaxed aroma massage after a day on the reels is a must.
Kickstart your day at Cassiopeia coffee shop in Katoomba on the 15-minute drive up the road to Echo Point where the Three Sisters are best admired at sunrise. Staying within the Mountains means you’ll be early enough to beat the crowds at this tourist hot-spot.
If you’re keen on exploring a lesser-known side of the mountains, especially if an alternate route home is preferred, loop back around to Lithgow and take Bells Line of Road up and over the far north side of the national park. Pullover at one of the many local roadside markets, chat with locals and tuck into the freshest whole-fruit salad you’ll have had in a while.
Hillbilly Cider Shed near Bilpin is our pick for a lunch stop, offering some delightful wood-fired pizzas and a take-home six-pack for the week ahead. Alternatively, High Hopes Roadhouse is a produce-driven diner run by famed Sydney chef Sean Moran and his partner Michael Robertson. Everything from the toasted sandwiches to the house-made pasta is of the highest quality, and without an air of pretence. Bells Line of Road offers nothing but classic country hospitality in its truest form.
This article is part of a series, proudly presented in partnership with the Brand-New Mazda BT-50. Thank you for supporting the brands who support Boss Hunting.