... 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 June 11th 2012
A stroll down the lane - such an 18th century thing to do.
The romantic 18th Century writers Jane Austen and Lord Byron would have felt at home here. Gardeners will love the place, but fans of fast-paced action, and most teenage boys will not. That tells you most of what you need to know. For this is a place, which like a good red wine, needs to be sipped slowly and savoured.
Mount Wilson is a tiny, picturesque English heritage style village of about two hundred citizens or so. After a brief drive through jungle style rainforest you come to its' broad avenue of deciduous trees and stately gardens, as if to a surprise or a dream. For this patch of England seems unlikely, sequestered as it is within rainforest gums and tree ferns.
The Avenue, Mount Wilson
This is a place to park the car, slow down and loiter. Stroll through the corridors of elms, beeches and linden trees, horse chestnuts, beech and plane trees, planted so long ago by the early settlers. Fantasize about buying one of the grand estates. Contemplate your life. Make quality conversation with your partner or friends. Pash your lover, then wildly propose (as my man did). Mount Wilson is far from the conveniences of modern life. It's a place to dream, escape the hustle and bustle, and touch place with another part of oneself.
Mount Wilson - elegance
Mount Wilson is a great spot for weddings and lovers. Photographers, picnic lovers, gardening fanatics and bushwalkers will love it here, as will anyone who craves an escape from stress.
The beautiful back lanes of Mount Wilson provide opportunity to meander and muse.
Things to do in Mount Wilson
After you've perved at the trees and gardens and walked through the length of the miniature town, it's easy to wonder what else there is to do. Well, that is up to your imagination, but here are just a few tips to kick-start you.
The main activities in Mount Wilson are strolling, picnicking, exploring the gardens (the town's main claim to fame) and bush-walking.
Regular fans of the area arrive with an arsenal of gear picnic rugs, stocked up picnic baskets, fold-out chairs, sun hats and wine. I recommend you do the same.
Wind down time easy to find at Mount Wilson
Bring food if you want to eat and water to drink while at Mount Wilson. Supermarkets and shops don't exist in this neck of the woods. So come prepared or you might end up having to leave early with a low blood sugar attack and grumbling stomach, as I did. There are also no petrol stations here, so fill up before you come.
While there is nothing to stop you from setting up your picnic wherever a well-placed bench or grassy spot beckons, there are several designated picnicking spots in the area including the corner ground at the end of the The Avenue (basically the main road). Here you will find public loo's here and a few wooden tables, but I have found this spot a bit prone to noise from passing cars and also heavily populated by mosquitoes.
The grounds of the local church (St Georges Anglican) are also a popular picnic spot with a nice balance of sun and shade, pretty trees to look at, and this area doesn't seem to harbours those pesky mossies praise God.
There are also picnicking spots at Waterfall Reserve and Cathedral Reserve. The two reserves generally attract large amounts of people on the weekends during the tourist seasons, so are more suitable for family groups than lovers and recluses.
The Church grounds hijacked by picnickers.
Cathedral Reserve is also a great (unofficial) camping spot replete with BBQ's, tap (town) water, weather sheds, picnic tables and public toilets. There are no showers, however. For the more affluent or creature comfort loving, there are several cute accommodation options including the Loft, Chimney Cottage and Bebeah Cottage. For a full list see the ever helpful Mount Wilson website.
Cathedral Reserve in Autumn prime camping and picnic spot
A walk to The Waterfalls (the unimaginative name given for the walk that starts at Waterfall Reserve) is essential for anyone who has legs to carry them. This magical place would be more aptly titled "The Fairy Queen's private boudoir". Titania's soul surely lingers here. Despite it's relative obscurity amongst the more famed walks of the Blue Mountains, the Waterfalls seems to be known to serious photographers. On all my visits, men with hard core photography gear and dating couples, have been the only other inhabitants of the walk.
No, not the Daintree this waterfall is at Mount Wilson.
To get to Waterfall Reserve, turn right at the end of The Avenue. You will see the reserve on your left opposite Chimney Cottage. Be sure to take the entire round trip as there are two views of the waterfall; the second, lower view even prettier than the first.
The rainforest walk, which features sassafras, giant coachwood, corkwood, treeferns and two waterfalls, supposedly takes half an hour as a round trip, but in truth is at least an hour. Add an extra half hour or more for photography and waterfall gazing. Beware the ravage of opportunistic mosquitoes while your attention is engaged by the falls.
Named The Waterfall by some dullard
The Mount Wilson website contains a comprehensive list of walks in the area.
Other things to do in Mount Wilson include checking out The Turkish Bath Museum, picking your own walnuts or chestnuts or for the more adventurous, canyoning.
The Turkish Bath Museum is a heritage listed building that operates as a museum and example of late Victorian style architecture. It is open at limited times to the public, usually on Sundays. The Turkish Bath Museum is located on the grounds of Wynstay Estate at the end of The Avenue. See the Mount Wilson website for details
Chestnut and walnut picking is an activity offered by some of the properties/ estates in Autumn. If you happen to be there during this time, look out for signs outside properties or go to the Mount Wilson website for more specific information.
Chestnut picking is offered in Autumn
For those who are fit and experienced, there are several canyons in the area ranging in difficulty. These include the Secret Gobsmacker, Whungee Whengee, Joel's Canyon, Serendipity and the Wollangambe River. For more information on these canyons, see the Mount Wilson website.
Please note, canyoning is a potentially dangerous activity and should not be engaged in without the proper precautions, knowledge and skills.
After the trees have lost their leaves, Mount Wilson loses the majority of its glamour, however, the peaceful atmosphere of the village and the beauty of the rainforest walks remain as consistent as ever. Autumn is the peak season for Mount Wilson visiting. Then, the trees ignite and flame into brilliant colours.
Summer is pleasant and inviting, but Spring more colourful and showy. In Spring and Autumn, the two star seasons, many of the private gardens are open to the public with a small fee payable upon entry.
Mount Wilson in Autumn - sensational
Make sure you order good weather for your day at Mount Wilson. There are no indoor public venues here and if it's raining you'll end up stuck in your car doing a drive by. An umbrella walk through the town isn't cheerful, but it's not too bad.
Winter temperatures in Mount Wilson range from 0 to about 9 degrees Celsius, so for winter visits rug up well, but with its elevation of 1040 metres above sea level, it can still be crisp in autumn and spring. Bring warm clothes. Chances are, that jacket will make all the difference between a chilly power-walk and a pleasant amble. When that chill wind blows or the mists the area is prone to, roll in, you might thank me.
Mount Wilson is for nature lovers
Getting to Mount Wilson
Mount Wilson can only be accessed by car. Another alternative is to join a TCP Garden Tour. These minibus tours of Blue Mountains gardens, depart from Katoomba Railway Station on Saturdays. For more information contact (02) 4759 3040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Nyla Thomas, Owner/Manager of TCP Garden Tours on 0424 188 779.
If coming from Sydney in your own vehicle, take the M2 and M7 taking the Richmond Road Exit till you get to Richmond. From there follow the signs towards Lithgow passing through the townships of Kurrajong Heights, Bilpin and Mt Tomah along the Bells Line of Road. Between Mt Tomah and Bell take the Mt Wilson turnoff.
If coming via Katoomba, head West towards Mount Victoria, a 20 minute drive. Turn right at the towns lights into Station Street. This road changes into the Darling Causeway which leads you to the Bell's Line of Road. Follow the signs.
It's easy enough to drive through the small village in five minutes. Slow down or you might miss what Mount Wilson is all about.
Mount Wilson is for romantics - but watch out, he might propose.
Thanks for posting the info. I drove to Mt Wilson on my day off and loved it. Been looking for a place with Autumn Leaves.The Autumn colours were worth the drive out there. Beautiful and peaceful atmosphere. Also found a sign at Cathedral Reserve to say they were filming some scenes from The Great Gatsby there. Great choice.
TCP Garden Tours have a FaceBook page where you can see more wonderful photos of Autumn in Mt Wilson. Sorry to say the leaves wont be there for much longer, but if you scroll back through the FB page you can see what it is like in some Mt Wilson gardens in Spring; which is only months away.