Three Bridges, Leura review: My mountain kitchen rules

Secluded ... the enormous garden at Three Bridges.
Secluded ... the enormous garden at Three Bridges. Photo: Nikki Marshall

Read our writer's views on this property below

Three Bridges may be walking distance from the restaurants of Leura village, but they remain untried during Nikki Marshall's stay.

I'm sure there must be great restaurants in Leura. Trouble is, I have absolutely no interest in trying them.

I'm at Three Bridges, a holiday-rental house in the heart of the village. Screened from the road by trees, hedges and a blue picket fence, at first glance it appears to be an unassuming weatherboard cottage. But Tardis-like it opens up into a huge home, boasting five bedrooms, three living rooms and an outdoor terrace looking over an enormous rear garden.

And smack in the middle of the property, in the largest, lightest room in the house, I've found my fantasy kitchen - and I'm having trouble tearing myself away.

Three Bridges has five bedrooms.
Three Bridges has five bedrooms. 

Skylights in cathedral ceilings illuminate a vast CaesarStone island bench and a magnificent, 14-seat hardwood dining table.

There's a double fridge, two sinks, a six-burner gas hob (with a wok burner - I've always dreamed of a wok burner ... ) and no fewer than three ovens. We've come up to the Blue Mountains to see the bush and here I am fighting off the urge to begin baking.

I'm fighting the urge to begin baking.

Unfortunately, there's only one guest to cook for. It's just me and my sweetheart ... amid an embarrassment of entertaining areas.

After settling in - we choose a big bedroom on the first floor, charmed by its sloping ceilings - it's time to explore Leura.

It's a pretty, if rather hilly, 15-minute walk to the leafy main street, Leura Mall. This is a village that screams "boutique" and we spend a pleasurable hour checking out galleries, gift shops, furniture stores, a big delicatessen and Josophan's, a "chocolate emporium". At a shop called Mrs Peel, I snap up a 30-year-old pair of handmade English brogues from an artfully edited selection of vintage and new.

There's also a superior bottle shop and, just off the mall, a big supermarket. We grab some plonk and dinner supplies and head home for supper beside the fire.

In the morning it's finally time to hit the bush, so as a start I wander out into the garden.

The yard is full of trees and shrubs and would be paradise for children - as long as they were older, or supervised. It's dissected by a tiny brook, crossed by three footbridges. (It's days before I realise that the house must be named for them.)

We decide that as it's been years since we did the Blue Mountains greatest hits, our first stop must be the Three Sisters.

The view is as breathtaking as I remembered it but we're distracted by the sight of a couple of didgeridoo players posing for photos with throngs of tourists. They're doing a roaring trade.

It's a wet day and we're not equipped for trekking in this weather, so we move on to Scenic World, home of the Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway, Scenic Cableway and Scenic Walkway. For $28 we get a pass that lets us try all four "experiences".

We take the railway - really a roller-coaster - down through the cliff face and into the Jamison Valley, which we "explore" from the safety of a two-kilometre elevated boardwalk. The path is slippery in the wet and the bush looks forbidding, so we're glad we plumped for bushwalking-lite.

After completing the circuit we take the cableway back up to the top and then jump into the skyway. The view is spectacular, especially of Katoomba Falls in full spate, and the kids in the carriage love peering through the glass floor.

I'm not usually a fan of tourist attractions with names ending in "world" but I'm pleasantly surprised by this one. The views speak for themselves but it's the way the staff speak that really impresses - they're friendly, professional and clearly relish addressing visitors in their own languages.

We might not have done a six-hour hike but it's been an action-packed day. So it's back to the kitchen, where I cook up some pasta.

Early the next day there's just enough time to tick off the last sight on our list, Sublime Point, which we've been told offers 270-degree views of the valley.

The Three Sisters are visible from this rocky outcrop but the experience couldn't be more different. As we take the path down to the lookout the only other soul we see is a lone local, out for her daily constitutional.

A light mist is lifting and the ravines below glow green, blue and mauve in the morning light.

It's a magical end to our weekend. This awe-inspiring spot is just as aptly named as Three Bridges.

The writer was a guest of Three Bridges and Destination NSW. visitnsw.com.

Trip notes

Where Three Bridges, Northcote Road, Leura. stayz.com.au.

Getting there From Sydney take the M4 and Great Western Highway to the Blue Mountains. Northcote Road is off Gladstone Road in the heart of the village.

How much $400 a night midweek for up to four people; $700 for up to seven on weekends ($100 an extra adult; $50 an extra child).

Style statement Comfortable/functional with touches of glam.

Perfect for Big groups; with eight beds, the house can sleep up to 10 people.

Don't forget To take in nearby Sublime Point, for a different perspective on the Three Sisters.

Shame about The exterior could do with a tart-up to match the renovations inside.

Kudos There's a huge range of books, magazines, music and DVDs on hand, plus plenty of lounge areas in which to enjoy them.

Take the kids? Definitely.