Okay, houndz -- we all went to Lilianfels and it was fantastic! Party of 8. Following a rather gruelling but rewarding 3 hour hike down Giant Staircase, Valley "floor," up the vertical railway - so cool! - then across the clifftop along the Prince Henry Cliff walk.
Best. hike. ever. Never disappoints.
We went up there on a very hot day, Wed 29th Dec 2010. Katoomba very populated by the masses -- we even saw a drop bear !!! ( LOL - a fellow was hiding behind a rock to scare his family walking behind us - haha)
We also saw an echidna and a brown snake !!! Lots of bell birds etc -- gorgeous.
So, one of the advantages of ending up at Lilianfels afterwards was that you can walk there from the 3 Sisters (same street) so we didn't have to move our cars (And we had been lucky enough to find two good spaces when were arrived around lunchtime.)
What can I say? Fantastic high tea -- more food & cakes that you can handle (we took many home) -- I thought the finger sambos were the best, esp the egg salad.
Good latte (may have cost extra - I don't think it did. Kids "spider" and fancy juice did, I think.)
Scones were plump & fluffy -- there's never enough cream (but I was so full anyway, I couldn't even eat the second scone.)
Cakes & macaroons looked gorgeous. There was a little lemon pannacotta in a shotglass as well.
Service is FIVE STAR. Wonderful staff. Now, bear in mind they did not have a record of my booking, made about 3 weeks previously from LA for a party of 12. I called the day of to pare the rez down to a definite 8 and that's when I got the alarming news. Panic!! Well, they seated the 8 of us in a gorgeous group of lounge chairs -- no problem whatsoever.
The also brought us a complimentary glass of champagne for all the adults. They said at the time it was bc the food was taking so long but I am pretty sure it was bc of the booking stuff-up bc the manager came and spoke to me on our way out to apologise and I raved about the exceptional service.
No one batted an eye that we were all a bit red-faced and sweaty and in hiking togs and shoes. We all washed our faces in the nice bathrooms and made ourselves fairly presentable for a simply divine afternoon tea.
$45 pp; $65 if you want unlimited champagne. Worth every penny.