Start: Blue Mountains Botanical Gardens car park (free)
End: Blue Mountains Botanical Gardens (cafe)
Time taken: 1 hour
USP: Great look out, Autumn colours, Flowering plants
Distance: 1-2km depending on route you take
While day dreaming at my desk one morning I was reading through various hiking and travel blogs for New South Wales, when I saw someone asking where the best place in the Sydney area was to see some Autumn colours. The reply was the Bilpin and Mount Wilson areas of the Blue Mountains.
A bit more research, a quick pack of the van and the following weekend we were on our way! The few deciduous trees around our apartment were still clinging onto their brown and yellow leaves, so we were hopeful we would be just in time. Maybe the last weekend before the wind blew them all loose.
The Bilpin and Bells Line of Road area is beautiful. Winding roads wrap around sleepy orchards selling bags of apples for $3 and stands of locally brewed cider at the side of the road. The Blue Mountains stretch away on either side and the colour of the woods was amazing. Vibrant reds, bright yellows and rich browns. We weren’t too late!
Our first stop was the Blue Mountains Botanical Gardens sitting 1,000m above sea level on the top of Mount Tomah. It’s 28 hectares of managed garden, containing 6,000+ species of trees and plants arranged into a number of different areas; a rock garden with a babbling stream running down to a large pond, a large lawn sloping into the distance, dotted with tall conifers and a more natural feeling Acer woodland.
It was the Acer woodland that was putting on the best show. Thanks to the huge range of plants, there was a good variety of birds to match. Whip Birds, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Spinebill and Thornbill were making most of the sun’s warmth.
It doesn’t take long to walk around the gardens and there are plenty of opportunities to sit on a bench and take it all in. There is also a great restaurant overlooking the foot hills of the Blueies and out towards Sydney and the ocean.
If you’re in the area it’s a great pit stop. No matter the time of year, something is guaranteed to be in flower.