... a dreamer, freelance writer, massage therapist, naturopath, mother & drop-out social work student living, working and writing in the Blue Mountains. When not occupied with the real world, she writes fantasy.
Published November 2nd 2012
Entrancing combination of catnip and wisteria at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden.
The Blue Mountains is a popular and accessible site for Sydney-siders to enjoy all that nature has to offer. While many tourists arrive on a blitzkrieg of sightseeing, exploration of the local gardens allows time to slow the pace, relax and smell the roses so to speak.
Below you will find a list of some of the best gardens to visit in the Blue Mountains. Although there are many private gardens and public parks in the Blue Mountains, those I've suggested below are based on their year round accessibility, unique Mountains' flavour and fame. Perhaps you know of others which could join this list.
These stress-free zones of nature, provide opportunity to while away the hours amongst the bliss of blossom or the shade of greenery.
Lie on a picnic blanket, soak up the sun or just meander at a leisurely pace through these oases of beauty.
Wood benches and grassy picnic spots abound at people friendly Mount Tomah.
Mount Tomah Botanic Garden is a botanical showcase on a large scale where you can picnic on grassy banks, walk amongst developed trees and water features and linger within smaller feature gardens with themes.
Rose arbors - in bloom around late October to early November.
Covering an extensive 252 hectares, a walk throughout this garden will give you a workout. According to one of the lovely gardeners there, the plantings at Mount Tomah are designed so that there is something to see all year round.
For instance, in spring you can see flowering cherry, bulbs including drifts of daffodils, beddings of ranunculus and tulips and native spring flowers such as waratahs and wattle. Other plants of note include rose and wisteria arbors which usually peak around the end of October to November, rhododendrons, daisies and herbs. But that is only a fraction of what's available at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden.
Running water and stone enhance the peacefulness of Mount Tomah garden
As you wander throughout the meandering paths, each vista opens to a new theme such as the bog garden, conifer sections, heath and heather gardens, rainforest, ponds, Eurasian woodland and a formal European garden - just to give you a small idea of the variation that exists at Mount Tomah. There are plants from locales as exotic as Chile, Peru and Africa.
Mount Tomah - filled with the sound of running water and bird song.
Amazingly, this exceptionally people friendly garden has free entry and is open almost every day of the year from 9am to 5.30pm. On weekends and public holidays, the garden opens slightly later at 9.30am.
Mount Tomah Botanic Garden is wheelchair and kid-friendly. It has a free shuttle bus around the garden for the elderly or disabled. There's also a restaurant onsite. Another option is to bring your own picnic and blanket.
Mount Tomah Botanic Garden - located at 1000 metres above sea-level it has an otherworldly atmosphere.
This National Trust operated, Paul Sorensen designed European style garden is also open all year, but does its best show in spring. Set on over twelve acres and surrounded by natural bush, the garden also has views towards the Jamison valley.
Visit in the heights of spring and you can see drifts of azaleas, daffodils, tulips and bluebells and the fragile beauty of flowering fruit trees. In Autumn the garden is also stunning, as the picture below tells you, but in any season you can find greenery and serenity here.
Located in Leura, it's easy to get to if you are visiting the upper mountains villages of Katoomba, Leura, Wentworth Falls, Medlow Bath or Blackheath. If you're in the vicinity and want some garden downtime, squeeze this one in.
While the entry fees (as below) might seem a bit steep, you can stay all day and take a picnic lunch.
Admission prices to the Everglades Garden are:
The Rhodo Garden (as it's unofficially called) at Bacchante Street, Blackheath is known for its massive collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
The 45 acre garden consists of rhododendrons, azaleas, maples and other deciduous trees planted amongst native bushland. Though open all year, its beauty peaks in October and early November - the prime blooming season for rhododendrons and azaleas.
There is no formal admission fee to this garden, however a gold coin donation is requested and throwing them a buck or two won't kill you. The garden receives no government funding and is maintained wholly by its amazing volunteers. Throw your Gold Coin donation into the donation box in the Information Kiosk adjacent to the Car Park in the Gardens.
The opening hours of the garden are between 9am and 4pm. Be aware that the gates are closed after 4pm, so be careful to move your car prior to that or you'll find yourself locked in. It's okay to stay on after 4pm - or indeed walk there at any time - just make sure your car is parked outside the gate.
Blackheath is two towns west of Katoomba or 10-15 minutes drive from thence. For full directions of how to get to the gardens by foot, public transport or car, please see the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens website.
Blackheath Rhodo Garden is spectacular in spring, but loses its magic in winter.