Springwood New South Wales – An Insiders Guide
Springwood is a delightful town in the Lower Blue Mountains, but some of it’s treasures are a bit hidden. In fact the whole place is a bit hidden, as you have to turn off the Great Western Highway to access it and many people just drive on past, heading straight on to the Upper Blue Mountains. But it is well worth the time to head into town and explore.
History of Springwood
The area we now know as Springwood was home to people of the Dharug nation for many thousands of years before Europeans ventured into the area.
In 1815 the location was named by the great NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie on his famous inspection trip of the road that William Cox had built across the Blue Mountains. Macquarie named the campsite Spring-Wood. There are differing opinions on the location of that spring, but it’s likely to be the one in Birdwood Gully.
A small stockade was built at the campsite which was manned for some years. As well as supervising the convict road gangs, travel across the Mountains was restricted to people with permits and a toll was also charged. Once that was eased and the road works done, the stockade was no longer needed. The Officers Quarters, a small weatherboard building, was converted and became the Springwood Inn, Springwoods first pub.
The inns location at the westerly end of town meant it was easily accessed by both Faulconbridge and Springwood residents and had many of the wealthy residents of the area plus travellers using it’s facilities.
The Springwood & Faulconbridge area had many wealthy and notable residents. As the transport options improved many people moved up to the area to escape the heat and smoke of Sydney in the early days. There are still plenty of wonderful homes to be seen.
Don’t bother trying to see anything at the site, 8 Fergusson Rd, a rather ugly block of units fills it’s former spot. There is also a stone marker on the other side of the railway tracks on the back road between Springwood and Faulconbridge. The stockade had two locations over time. This road is actually quite a nice short drive as it takes you past some lovely homes, a section of bush and then to the famous Corridor of Oaks. (Read all about that on the Faulconbridge page.)
If you want to get a full overview of the history of Springwood, dive into this extensive article, with great photos and a walking tour.
As the largest town in the lower mountains, Springwood has a huge range of shops, cafes and amenities for both locals and tourists alike. As in all our Blue Mountains Villages guides, we have just picked out a few of the best features. While it is a comprehensive guide, it can never hope to be a complete guide as shops, owners, menus etc come and go.
Springwood Food and Drink
Springwood has been going through a bit of a Food & Drink renaissance lately with quite a few new options opening in the last 6 months.
This is a good thing as there was a period when there was little choice after a few places closed down and another got such a dreadful reputation that it wasn’t an option any more. Whether all these new places saw the opportunity at the same moment and launched or it was just a happy coincidence who knows. Let’s hope they all survive.
The other factor you must remember is the demographics of Springwood. Walking down the main street, you’ll be more likely run over by a senior on a mobility scooter, than the hipster on a skateboard that you will probably encounter in Katoomba.
Here’s our picks of the best in town …
Springwood Fine Dining
If you are a lover of fine dining you can’t miss Arrana. Brilliant food from chef Daniel Cabban, delivered by a great team in classy surroundings. Don’t get put off by the fact that it’s located in a slightly run down sterile arcade in the center of the shopping strip. Once you step through the front door you will be impressed. I’ve been twice and look forward to going back. Bookings essential.
There’s plenty of good coffee to be had in Springwood.
If you just want good coffee then Cassiopeia is your best bet. If you want good cafe food and good coffee then Dbl Ristretto is it. Both are smart, friendly and efficient.
Cassiopeia gained such a following that it now also has outlets in Katoomba and Windsor. They roast their own coffee, wholesale to other cafes and sell online. The seating in the arcade outside the tiny shop looks a bit dodgy at first sight but once your coffee arrives you’ll be happy.
2/127 Macquarie Rd https://cassiopeia.com.au/
Dbl Ristretto, opposite the Post Office, have more food options. It can get very busy in their small space, but they are pretty efficient, the food is great, as is the coffee. Seating can be a bit squeezy, but it turns over quite quickly and spreads outside and into the laneway if the weather is nice.
212 Macquarie Rd
For something a bit more substantial head to Finn & Co.
Finn & Co is opposite the Library and I was always put off a bit because it was always packed and the Decor, Signage etc reminded me of some airport franchise food outlet.
However, I’ve grabbed a quick Saturday Brunch there last week and they have a new fan. It was very reasonably priced, huge serves and delicious! I’ll be back.
107 Macquarie Rd, Springwood NSW 2777
Springwood Pub Meals
You have two choices – The Royal, opposite the Train Station or The Oriental Hotel at the other end of town.
Our choice is the Oriental, known by locals as the “Ori. ” It has a great Cafe/Restaurant serving excellent restaurant food as well as cakes and coffee. There is also obviously an excellent wine and beer selection as well. There is inside and pleasant outside dining, but it can get quite busy at lunch time.
The Royal is pretty standard pub fare but they do have an airy deck out the back which is a bit of a bonus. Both pubs have been around a long time! The Royal from 1881 and the Oriental from 1890. Both have been extensively modified and renovated over the years but you still get a feel for what they would have been like in the past. In the back area of the Ori there are some nice old photos on the wall.
There are plenty of other dining options in Springwood as well. There’s a new Burger joint, The Bunker in where the great Razz restaurant used to be, a Juice bar and several Asian outlets. (Two Thai, one Noodle Bar and a Chinese.)
We will be updating this article on a regular basis as we catch up with the new offerings, but feel free to mention your favourite in the comments below.
Library, Blue Mountains Community Hub & Theatre, Braemar Gallery
This community precinct at the east end of town works really well and is something the Council got right in their planning.
It includes – Braemar House, Springwood Library, the Community Centre and the Blue Mountains Theatre. There is also quite a large courtyard outside area that is used for Markets like the regular Growers Market and Artisan Market.
Parking is available behind the complex and is quite extensive, which is great for visiting anything at that end of the town.
Braemar House & Gallery
This delightful Victorian building has a fascinating history dating back to 1892. Check out the plans on display just inside the door.
Here’s a great article and photos about it
And here is their webpage that should tell you what exhibition is on.
The Gallery that takes up three large rooms is an arm of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, who also run the City Art Gallery in Katoomba. Run as a Community Gallery it has monthly exhibitions featuring the work of local and regional artists. This can include – Paintings, Photography, Prints, Sculpture and other forms.
It also houses the library of the Local History Studies group, who wrote the informative blog post linked above.
The Gallery is only open Thursday – Sunday | 10am – 4pm
104 Macquarie Road, Springwood, NSW 2777
Next door is The Library, which is quite large and part of the chain of Libraries right through the mountains, all linked by a common catalogue. It’s a busy place and they run quite a few activities. There is internet access, so it’s well used by locals and travellers.
Connected to the library is the Blue Mountains Theatre. This is a state of the art modern space which is very busy. Touring shows of Music, Theatre, Comedy etc, plus local events.
Also in the Hub complex are offices of the Neighbourhood Centre, Disability Support, Food Services, Veterans Support and a Blue Mountains City Council Customer Service office.
And right next door to all of that is the Oriental Hotel, mentioned above.
Other Springwood buildings of interest.
If you are wandering the main street, keep an eye out for the gothic styled Railway Station that dates from 1884 and the old Police station and Lockup in the small Manners Park.
Next door is the old Post Office Building. This has been in operation since 1901, though the building has changed a bit over time.
On the other side of Macquarie road is a small town square area which has a display board outlining the History Walk around town. It needs some work as it is a bit hard to read. It is the same walk as outlined in the History of Springwood article outlined above.
The Presbyterian Church is also a nice building and dates back to 1895. It also has some great trees around it, adding shade and a splash of colour to the main street.
Springwood Op Shops
There are several Op Shops in Springwood that are worth checking out.
63 Macquarie Rd,
272 Macquarie Rd,
Red Cross Springwood
Opposite the Library
We give full details about every Blue Mountains Op Shop in this article HERE
People often think you have to get to the Upper Mountains before you can get any good Bush Walks, but they are very wrong. There are some excellent walks around Springwood.
Two easy walks that you might consider are Birdwood Gully on the North side and Fairy Dell on the South side. Both good for children.
As with all our Village Guides, we don’t provide full directions or maps to the walks suggested. There are far better resources out there for this, both online and in print.
Birdwood Gully is a circular track that has some great bush and usually plenty of birds. At 2.6k it’s a fairly easy walk but quite steep in a couple of places. It starts out in open forest and then drops down into a wetter forest area along a creek line. You can access the start of the track from Bednal Road or Borland Avenue.
Fairy Dell is a shorter walk, probably about 1k but has some nice spots and plenty to explore. Access from Springwood Avenue.
If you have children, they will love these 2 map/information sheets.
There are a number of walks based around the Sassafrass Gully on the South side of Springwood.
For the more adventurous, leave your car at Springwood Station, catch the next train up to Faulconbridge and walk back to it via the Eucalypts, Rainforest and Waterfalls.
Faulconbridge to Springwood via the Sassafrass Gully is about 6.6k
There’s a good description and directions for this walk in Veechi Stuart book
Springwood is blessed by several great bookshops.
For new books head to the excellent Turning page Bookshop, arguably the best bookshop in the Mountains.
At the other end of town opposite the Railway Station the smaller but still excellent Springwood Book Lounge.
Sadly our favourite Brown Book has recently closed. We give much more details about books in the Blue Mountains in these 2 articles.
Honey Dew Nursery
Now this is a hidden little Garden Nursery selling plants, seedlings and gardening supplies. We’ve been going there for years, but if you didn’t know where to go, you would probably walk straight past. Access from the main Macquarie Street is down a tiny lane between an Optometrist and Hunters Shoe Shop. You can also get to it from the carpark that can be accessed behind the shops.
151 Macquarie Rd, Springwood NSW 2777
A Word about Vegetables.
What is it with Springwood and Vegetables? They have just about everything else you would ever need like – Optometrists, a Tattoo Parlour, Banks, RMS/Service NSW, Office Supplies, a Men’s Shed, endless Cafe’s, several Op Shops and Bookshops …. but no dedicated Fruit and Veg outlet! The IGA is your best bet.
This place is worth a mention as they have been in the printing business for decades and do a great job. We have had countless items printed there over the years and always had good service and more importantly good advice. They have also moved with the times and now do both digital and more traditional work.
Tip 1- They often have wooden pallets out the front that are free if you want to build something from them.
Tip 2 – They often sell off cuts and end of run card stock etc in a bin inside, which is great for notepads, craft projects etc.
Note – They are called Springwood Printing as they were in the town for many years but are now located in Faulconbridge, right on the Highway. 465 Great Western Hwy, Faulconbridge NSW 2776.