To make my Blue Mountain trip more relaxing, I stayed overnight so I could go hiking my first day and visit Jenolan Caves the next.  I had heard great things about the Katoomba YHA and while was apprehensive at first since I haven't stayed in a hostel in awhile, it was definitely the best decision for my solo trip to the Blue Mountains.  The hostel is awarded the best YHA in Australia and for good reason. 

It’s in a beautifully restored National Trust building.  Upon entering, you’ll hear classical music throughout the main floor which becomes the soundtrack of your stay.  The interior reminds me of a ski lodge and has a huge living room filled with couches, a pool table, and a fireplace as the centerpiece.  Everything was really clean and spacious, definitely by far the nicest hostel I've ever been to.

I easily met new friends that afternoon, Mark from Vermont and Kate from Hong Kong, and after settling in a bit, we ventured off to explore town.  Katoomba Street is the main drag filled with antique shops, cafes, and sports shops to help you rug up in the cold.  We came across the Katoomba Street Art Walk, went antiquing at Mr. Pickwick's Fine Old Books, wandered around The Carrington Hotel, and finally rested for dinner at the interesting Yellow Deli Katoomba before turning in for the night.  I filled up at the Clean Slate Café the next morning before my long day of caving.

Beverly Place, a little laneway filled with street art as part of Street Arts Murals Australia.

Wander around this antique stores and peek at all the little chotchkes. If you get tired, there's a wood fireplace you can rest your tootsies at.

Globe bookends

Globe bookends

Perfect for a cocktail or nightcap in the lounge.  A classically beautiful, restored 1883 hotel by Sydney hotelier Harry Rowell. Reminds me a bit of the Red Lion Inn in Massachusetts.

The Lounge Room

The Lounge Room

A cute treehouse-like restaurant run by a share community called Twelve Tribes.  It's known for having some of the best food in town where most items are homemade and from vegetables grown in their own garden.  There is tons of interesting literature throughout the restaurant about the community and they are more than happy to help educate or invite you to join them.

Treehouse-like interior  @sipsandnibs

Treehouse-like interior @sipsandnibs

Yummy chili with jalapeno bread.  @sipsandnibs

Yummy chili with jalapeno bread. @sipsandnibs

Your typical mountain café with even a moose etching on the wall. Perfect for filling up before a long day of hiking or cave exploring.

The Blue Mountain Brekky  @sipsandnibs

The Blue Mountain Brekky @sipsandnibs

Visit the Sydney YHA tour agent for help booking any trips the most convenient and cost-effective way. They'll even help book for you at concession prices which always helps.  I was able to travel without the confinement of the specific travel days operated by the Sydney tour groups as she booked my 2 day / 1 night stay to the Blue Mountains & Jenolan Caves through separate local companies that run daily and even helped me book my hostel stay. With student pricing to boot as I am sadly no longer a student.