Spring is starting to bring new life to the mountains. I love the distinct seasons here. Each day I watch as pink blossoms emerge on bare trees across the gully from my house. Bright green specks of new growth unfold on the naked branches on the tree outside my kitchen window. It’s an amazing show.
Everything is coming to life before my eyes. The wattle glows bright yellow and small purple flowers have sprung up in the middle of the yard when I wasn’t looking and glisten in the morning frost.
What a show!
I will admit gardens, or should I clarify, public gardens are not usually my thing. Yes, I find them pretty but I do find them rather boring, particularly formal gardens.
But when I became aware of the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens my interest was piqued. I am a fan of the Australian Botanic Gardens in Mt Annan and wondered what the Blue Mountains would have to offer. It is also a part of the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust and as such, I wondered if the quality and facilities would be similar.
Dan and I have run Business Workshops at the Australian Botanic Gardens in Mt Annan, hiring rooms in the Seed Bank Complex. The rooms are amazing, with nature right at your window and the incredible Seed Bank just a few doors down. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it.
But back to the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens.
Dare I say, I loved it even more. We had the best time there. I was so surprised. I thought I would be bored after half an hour but that certainly wasn’t the case, and I am already wondering when we can go back to explore more areas.
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Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens
Upon arrival make your way to the Visitor’s Centre and grab a map and other information. Talk to the staff at the desk and find out about the areas they recommend you explore.
The Garden occupies 252 hectares of land with 28 hectares open to the public. It is the only botanic garden within a World Heritage Area.
From Formal Gardens to Forest Walks to Rock Gardens and Woodland the park is extensive and I urge you to spend as much time here as possible.
Visiting in each of the seasons will again bring a defined change to the Gardens. Being the beginning of spring there was only a promise of the colour yet to emerge. I am looking forward to going back once Spring has fully come alive to see the Rhododendrons in full bloom.
We found ourselves walking through the Forest Walk (shock us walking!), alive with fauna that we could hear rustling away in the vegetation and then finally come across a bush Turkey (or at least that’s what we thought it was), beautiful tiny finches flitting about, a shy Lyrebird and all manner of other birds. It really was magical and we were lucky enough to have it to ourselves.
Exploring the Gardens
There are many areas to explore and we only touched the surface. On this visit, however, we explored:
The Forest Walk
The Plant Explorers Walk
North American Woodland
Our Next Visit
Next time we will try and see:
Heath and Heather Garden
Southern Hemisphere Woodland
I am also keen to take a walk in the Jungle where we will follow the Lady Fairfax Walk through the Blue Mountains Basalt Cap Forest, an endangered conservation area.
Eating at the Gardens
A picnic was our preference for the day. We didn’t know what the restaurant would be like so we opted to take a picnic. And for those that know us and our love of food, we are the masters of the gourmet picnic. We even managed to get a board into the backpack so that we could lay all our goodies out in styled fashion.
And it didn’t disappoint. We found a picnic table under a huge tree in the Brunet Meadow amongst the daffodils and with some locals for company (magpies everywhere in the Blue Mountains).
There are plenty of park benches dotted around the garden as well as some picnic benches and of course plenty of places to throw down a picnic blanket. I think we will choose this option again when we go back.
It was so peaceful.
The restaurant looked amazing. I cannot comment on the food, but the menu looked great, a little expensive maybe. But with those views, I could see us coming back here for a special occasion and indulging.
It looked like a beautiful place to enjoy a good meal and relax and enjoy the atmosphere on the deck.
I am a little unsure about the Kiosk. It was closed when we arrived around 10 am, but open briefly when Dan headed back to the car for our water bottles. Then it was closed again when we were leaving.
It will take you approximately 40 minutes from Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. Simply follow the Great Western Highway to Mount Victoria and turn right at the lights. You can’t miss it, it is well signposted.
The drive out is glorious with a number of picnic areas along the way. It is a bit of a drive into each one, but the views are amazing.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is located at:
Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah
The garden is open 9 am – 5.30 pm during the week and 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Saturday, Sunday & Public holidays.
The Visitor Centre and toilets are open 9 am – 4.30 pm
They are closed on Christmas Day.
On the way home to Blackheath, we detoured to Mt Banks Picnic Area. It was approximately at 10 minutes drive on a dirt road, but easy enough to navigate that brought us down to a picnic area and the start of a number of bush walks.
As with everything in the Blue Mountains the views were stunning, and we have just taken to driving down random road just to see where they take us. Exploring here in the mountains has become a fun pastime.
Cindy Reid is the founder of Travel Charm. Cindy has travelled extensively both personally and with her groups. She has now combined her love of art, food and travel and hosts Painting Trips to Europe and continues to explore and roam in Australia.