A short insider’s guide to the Blue Mountains Bookshop Trail

A couple of weeks ago, Jessica Mudditt of Hembury Books and I did just that – or as much as we could cram into half a day.

April is the perfect month to visit the Blue Mountains, on Dharug and Gundungurra Country. It’s not too cold, not too hot. Native lillypillies are fruiting, their bright pink berries everywhere, with sulphur crested cockatoos swooping in to collect their bounty. Other trees are beginning to flush red along the Great Western Highway that winds through the eight villages that are home to the Blue Mountains Bookshop Trail’s 11 bookshops. The trail technically includes Lithgow, but we didn’t aim to get that far.

The official map of the Blue Mountains Bookshop Trail

Glenbrook

Glenbrook is the first village you’ll reach on the roughly 90-minute drive from Sydney. Turn left after the Visitor Centre to find Blue Dragon Books in a little arcade off Ross Street. The small shop sells quality second-hand books. If you don’t see what you want on the shelves, ask the staff to check their database as not everything in stock is on display.

Springwood

Then head on up to Springwood, about a 15 minute drive. The Turning Page is on the main street. It only stocks new books, and has a selection of books recommended by its lovely friendly staff. As well as a great range of titles across most categories, you’ll find books by locals and books about the Blue Mountains that are hard to find elsewhere. There’s a great kids section with toys, chairs and great reads for all ages. The shop also stocks unique greeting cards, beautiful journals and stationery and a great range of gift books.

Two people in The Turning Page Bookshop. The person on the right is the writer, Alison Hill

The Turning Page, Springwood. That’s me!

Springwood Book Lounge, which appears on the trail map, has closed.

Faulconbridge

Chapters and Leaves, five minutes up the Great Western Highway in St George’s Crescent, Faulconbridge, was closed on the day of our visit, but a peek through the window showed a small selection of second-hand books and a large space for drinking tea. It’s more about the leaves than the chapters, from what we could tell.

Lawson

The next stop is Lawson, another 15 minute drive up the hill. RoseyRavelston Books is across the railway line to the right, with plenty of parking. The mostly preloved bookshop has grown from a tiny shop the size of a walk-in wardrobe to this delightful retro-themed labyrinth. But “bookshop” is a misnomer; it’s also a coffee and cake shop, community meeting spot and weekly product market. It has an outdoor garden area, art, chocolate, jigsaw puzzles and gnocchi. There are cosy corners to leaf through the selection of well-priced books that include fiction, fantasy, plays, poetry and a vast non-fiction collection. The lovely owners donate half their profits to refugee charities and it’s all overseen by Echo, the golden Labrador. Pat him goodbye and head on up to Wentworth Falls.

Interior of RoseyRavelston bookshop with a shelf of Penguin Classics and two armchairs.

A classic cosy corner at RoseyRavelston Books

Wentworth Falls

Good Earth Bookshop is located on a square off Station Street, Wentworth Falls. The large, welcoming space is stocked with both new titles and preloved books. There’s a spacious kids area with tables and chairs for little ones and the friendly owner is there to help. Good Earth Bookshop is home to the local zine club, and has a rack of zines on a range of eclectic topics. There are signed books by Blue Mountains authors and a busy program of events that include book clubs, story time for children and writer’s events. Check out what’s on before you visit.

The bookshop owner holding a copy of Once Around the Sun by Jessica Mudditt

Good Earth Bookshop’s Mary Coin with Jess’s new book, Once Around the Sun

Just a few steps away you’ll find Wyrd Books, which stocks fantasy, science fiction and horror. If this is your niche or you’re buying for a fan the genre, you’ll be lost in a world of knights, blood and witches. There are some beautiful collector’s items, from Bram Stoker to Terry Dowling and Neil Gaiman, and a range of signed copies. 

Leura

Then head on up to Leura and the wonderful Megalong Books on Leura Mall. Its carefully curated selection of new fiction, non-fiction and children’s books will have you browsing for hours. It’s particularly strong on Australian novels and books from and about the Blue Mountains. Everything is beautifully displayed, with children’s books in a delightful corner of their own and a special shelf of classics. Staff are ready to help you with anything you may be looking for and there is a great range of greeting cards too.

A view of Megalong Books with and arch stacked with books over a doorway

Megalong Books

Katoomba

Katoomba is just five or ten minutes drive away, and you’ll be happy to find The Little Lost Bookshop tucked into Ha’penny Lane, just off Katoomba Street. It’s a tiny space full of treasures, including a huge range of games for both adults and children. Dungeons and Dragons features prominently. The Little Lost Bookshop describes itself as “A place full of old thoughts, strange ideas and beautiful books”. Sustainability and emotional wellbeing feature prominently. Climb the staircase to discover a small selection of second-hand books and a great view over the shop.

The Little Lost Bookshop as seen from the top floor of the shop in Katoomba

Little Lost Bookshop, Katoomba

Further up the street is Mr Pickwick’s Fine Old Books. This Blue Mountains institution is facing an uncertain future as its owners retire after 25 years of selling second-hand books. It’s up for sale, so watch this space.

Blackheath

Finally, there’s Gleebooks in Blackheath, a lovely, winding  15-minute drive. Turn right at the traffic lights into Govetts Leap Road and you’ll find it at the entrance to Collier Arcade. If you know the original Gleebooks in Glebe, you’ll get the vibe: well-curated indie bookseller with great staff and plenty going on. It has a decent size preloved section as well as new books, and a great selection of Blue Mountains titles and authors. Kids are well catered for.

Painting from the wall of Megalong Books in Leura. It says "Between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be'.

Seen at Megalong Books, Leura

  • You can download a map and information about the trail. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s walkable. Be warned: the distance from the first to the last village is just over 50 km.
  • Check the weather before you leave – it can be considerably colder than Sydney, and Blackheath is a lot cooler than Glenbrook.
  • There are lots of good cafes for coffee and casual dining. Local guide Ask Roz ran a poll to find the favourite café in each village, which is a good place to start.
  • Bookshop owners and employees are wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable. Don’t hold back with any questions or comments – we found everybody willing to chat.
  • Take some time to check out the views or even take a short walk. Visit Blue Mountains and Ask Ros both have plenty of suggestions.
  • Follow the trail on Instagram and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “A short insider’s guide to the Blue Mountains Bookshop Trail

  1. Great article about our local bookshops. They all have their own unique character and are all run by booklovers who cherish what they do.

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