THE FACTS

Country Style - - BLUE MOUNTAINS NSW JOURNEY -

GET­TING THERE

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

LO­CAL PRO­DUCE

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

OPEN GAR­DENS

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

SHOP­PING

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.

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