From Penrith, we took a leisurely drive to North Richmond and then along the winding Bells Line of Road upwards into the Blue Mountains to Bilpin. This route through the mountains to Lithgow is an alternative one to the more oft travelled way, along Great Western Highway.
The name “Bells Line of Road” came about from when in 1823, a young 19 year old Archibald Bell travelled on Aboriginal routes along the Bell Range and went over Mount Tomah to Hartley Vale. The route became a popular stock route and during the 1850’s, “Bells Line” was a popular walkway to the goldfields near Bathurst, becoming a road in 1949.
On our way to Bilpin, the roadside properties, scenery and views made it a very interesting and enjoyable drive, passing “The Fruit Bowl” and other orchards selling their fruit and local products. Some offered to ‘pick your own fruit’. Bilpin is well known for its apples – apple pies and cider.
Bilpin is also where to find “Wildwood Gardens”.
I had read previously on the internet about Wildwood Gardens and was not disappointed. The owners have cultivated beautiful gardens with many paths interweaving through the vast property, some leading to ‘secret’ areas of fairies or goblins and gremlins. Plenty of seating nooks, and a large stone sofa in one corner of the garden where Mike decided to doze off (and if you believe that you don’t know Mike!)
Their gift shop offers an amazing plethora of items, many we have not seen before. (Christmas came early for us here!) How best to cap the visit off? Devonshire tea upstairs in the cafe, overlooking the gardens and nursery.