Bells Line of Road starts at the Hawkesbury River at North Richmond, 67 kilometres north of Sydney. Travel by car via Windsor or Richmond roads to Windsor and Richmond. Richmond is also the terminus for the Western train line from Sydney’s Central Station, with buses operating in peak hours to Kurrajong. From the west travel by road or train to Lithgow then join the Bells Line of Road at Bell.
BEST TIMES TO VISIT
To enjoy local parks and gardens at their peak, visit in spring or autumn. Buy fresh local fruit at its peak in summer when many roadside stalls are open in Bilpin.
WHERE TO STAY
Bells Line of Road from Kurrajong to Bilpin has a long tradition of guesthouses offering fresh air and food. Today there are many small businesses offering bed and breakfast accommodation from rustic to high end as well as hotels.
CROWNE PLAZA HAWKESBURY VALLEY This upmarket hotel is adjacent to Windsor Golf Course. 61 Hawkesbury Valley Way, Windsor. (02) 4577 4222; ihg.com
LOXLEY ON BELLBIRD HILL This wedding and events venue also has luxury chalet-style accommodation. 993 Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong Hills. (02) 4567 7711; loxleyonbellbirdhill.com.au
WHERE TO EAT
SASSAFRAS CREEK CAFÉ For delicious food seek out this café’s sunny courtyard or opt for a seat inside the gallery with the fire and views. Brunch or lunch daily and dinner Friday and Saturday nights. Gifts, jazz and local artworks, too. 83 Old Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong. (02) 4573 0988; sassafrascreek.com.au
LOCHIEL HOUSE This restaurant in a historic cottage dating from 1825 specialises in local seasonal produce. Sit by the fire in winter or outside in the garden when it’s fine. Open for lunch and teas Sunday and Wednesday, lunch and dinner Thursday to Saturday, breakfast on weekends. 1259 Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong Heights. (02) 4567 7754; lochielhouse.com.au
TUTTI FRUTTI A rustic café beside an orchard for a coffee, ice-cream or lunch. Also sells house-made jams and preserves. There’s a kids’ playground with outside tables if the family needs a break. 1917 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 8436; tuttifruitti.com.au
BILPIN AFIRE Lots of locals and regular visitors drop in to the busy Afire (formerly Apple Bar) for a drink or wood-fired pizza. Open for lunch and dinner from Friday to Monday. 2488 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 0335; afire.net.au
PIE IN THE SKY ROADHOUSE A roadside café serving tasty homemade pies. Great for a quick snack on the road or to buy one of the area’s famous apple pies. 1858 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 8921; pieintheskybilpin.com
Bilpin abounds in roadside stalls selling freshly picked apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, cherries and raspberries in season. Some offer pick-your-own. Many also sell locally made apple pies. Discover them as you travel.
BILPIN FRUIT BOWL A popular stop with fruit for sale year-round, pick-your-own opportunities and a busy café. 2093 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 1152; bilpinfruitbowl.com.au
THE PINES ORCHARD Drop in for a snack or a bag of fresh apples. 2070 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 1195.
SHIELDS ORCHARD and HILLBILLY CIDER SHED This family-owned roadside stall sells apples grown in the orchard while award-winning local cider is available at the Hillbilly Cider Shed. 2270 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 2662; hillbillycider.com.au
BILPIN SPRINGS ORCHARD Drop in between January and May for a chance to pick your own seasonal fruit. 2550 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 1294; bilpinspringsorchard.com.au
WOODGREEN This beautifully designed garden and small nursery (Town and Country Nursery) is open by appointment from October to April for groups of 10 or more. 25 Powells Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 2026; petatraharnursery.com.au
WILDWOOD GARDEN A large private garden open in spring and autumn. Highlights include a waterfall, lake and a cherry walk. There’s also a café, nursery and gift shop. Check the website for opening times. 29 Powells Road, Bilpin. (02) 4567 2194; wildwoodgarden.com.au
BLUE MOUNTAINS BOTANIC GARDEN, MOUNT TOMAH Once a cut flower farm, this mountain site now showcases cool-climate native and exotic plants. It’s open daily with plenty of space for barbecues and picnics. There’s also a gift shop and restaurant. It’s a steep site so if you don’t want to walk, take the motorised guided tour. Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah. (02) 4567 3000; blue mountainsbotanicgarden.com.au
MOUNT WILSON GARDENS Many private gardens open at Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine, including Nooroo, Breenhold, Windyridge, Bebeah, Merry Garth and Yengo. Some open year-round, others only in spring and autumn. The beautiful Cathedral Reserve is worth a visit any time of year to enjoy soaring trees. Local walnuts and chestnuts are sold in the village in autumn. mtwilson.com.au
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
BILPIN FLOWER SHOW An old-fashioned spring flower show with rare cool climate blooms on display. Enjoy tea and coffee with homemade cakes. Held on the first weekend in October. Bilpin Hall, 2596 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin. 0413 759 282; facebook.com/bilpinflower Show and spring fair
THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS Join in the 30th birthday celebrations at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah on November 11–12, with performances, artworks, garden games and food. Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah. (02) 4567 3000; bluemountainsbotanicgarden.com.au
There are gift shops with local craft and art throughout the region. CRAZY BEAUTIFUL LIFE uniqu home ware ss hop for unique HOME WAR ES gifts and homewares. 332 Windsor Street, Richmond. (02) 4578 8008; facebook.com/crazy beautiful life home war es
JUAN & ME BOUTIQUE With a careful edit of Australian designer labels, this fashion boutique is a local favourite. 1/295 Windsor Street, Richmond. juanandmeboutique.com.au
POINTS OF INTEREST
HAWKESBURY REGIONAL MUSEUM Captures the area’s rich agricultural, historical, social and indigenous heritage. 8 Baker Street, Windsor, (02) 4560 4655; hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au
MOUNT BANKS Drive off Bells Line of Road between Mount Tomah and Mount Wilson for a pleasant bushland picnic spot or to tackle the 2.4 kilometres return walk to the summit for views across the Blue Mountains National Park. nationalparks.nsw.gov.au
ZIG ZAG RAILWAY A historic rail line and engineering masterpiece with steam trains. The line is currently closed for repairs after bushfire damage but is on track to reopen in late 2017. Chifley Road, Clarence. 1300 944 924; zigzagrailway.com.au
HAWKESBURY TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE 328 Hawkesbury Valley Way, Richmond. (02) 4560 4620; discoverthehawkesbury.com.au
Many private gardens open at Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine.
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT The spectacular sandstone cliffs of the Blue Mountains National Park; Clarence Station on the Zig Zag Railway; looking east over the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden towards Kurrajong Heights; a glimpse of a Mount Wilson garden; an imprint of Wollemi pine foliage on bread at chef Sean Moran’s Tomah Gardens Restaurant at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden; the district is famous for roadside stalls selling fresh apples and apple pies.