To end the trip, I visited one of my favourite places in the Blue Mountains – Leura Falls.
A challenge to photograph, but always a pleasure to visit this place.
It’s easy to forget while viewing a garden that Mount Wilson was in the middle of the wilderness. I just needed to get off the main road and there it was.
This lookout was called Du Faurs Rocks Lookout, and it certainly had some interesting rock formations.
Next was a visit to Mount Wilson, a hamlet about half an hour away from Blackheath. It’s known for its gardens, and the tour buses were out in force on the main street and the bigger gardens. I chose to visit Windy Ridge Garden, which was away from the main drag.
The garden was superbly landscaped though, with a pond and formal gardens.
There were places to sit.
And of course some autumn foliage to view.
I liked how it was quiet and private and beautiful. Worth a visit.
Last stop of the day was the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens. I found out about them from the brochures at my accommodation, and the signs around town led me to the garden that was tucked away in a sleepy corner of Blackheath.
It was the wrong time of year for rhododendrons, but I was quite enchanted by this place. Set in a dell, the garden was a very peaceful place to be on a weekday.
There were some autumn leaves to view.
And a few flowers were in bloom to add to the colour.
All in all, a lovely day out.
One great thing about the Grose Valley is that it has plenty of viewpoints. About 5km away from Govetts Leap is Pulpit Rock. Its lookout is a five minute walk down some steps (pretty easy by Blue Mountains standards), until you come to this platform.
It gives you a view back to Govetts Leap and out further into the valley.
But wait, there’s more! For those unafraid of heights, you can venture down to other platforms that are really on the precipice.
I was too chicken to venture that far, but I saw some French backpackers that ventured into the realm of stupidity – they climbed over the barrier to grab some selfies of themselves seemingly dangling over the edge. Really? Sigh…
The following day, it was time to explore the other side of Blackheath. The most popular lookout is Govetts Leaps, on northern outskirts of the town. The view into the Grose Valley, is spectacular no matter the weather.
A few k’s down the valley is Pulpit Rock. I’ve always wanted to go there, and was all set to walk it down – but I didn’t count on the track conditions – steep, eroded and slippery.
To the right of the lookout, the waterfall was still running down the cliff-face – the dry winter hadn’t yet arrived.
To the left, the horseshoe-shaped cliffs were a rich green with ferns and other temperate rainforest plants clinging to the sandstone for dear life.
I did manage to get to Pulpit Rock, but that’s for another post.
Much of the walk was along a fire trail. Aside from scribbly gums, there were grass trees abound.
The trail led up to a high point on the plateau, marked by another lovely gum tree.
The view over Kanimbla Valley was lovely too.
Later in the day, I drove down to Hargreaves Lookout, on the tip of the plateau. It afforded views of both the Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys. It’s down an unsealed road, and so gets a fraction of the visitors that come to the more accessible lookouts in the Mountains.
Back in May, I spent a few days in the Blue Mountains. I based myself in Blackhealth, and stayed at this cute cottage on the Shipley Plateau.
On my first full day I did a circuit walk around the plateau. It started with a walk through the tall gum trees.
I’m always fascinated by scribbly gum trunks.
The vista soon opened out to a view of the fruit orchards and the Megalong Valley beyond.
By mid-morning, the mist was long gone, and the river was turning into a warm bath. The air temperature was a maximum of 37C that day! The water temperature must have then be close to 30C.
Back at the campsite, we took advantage of every little bit of shade.
Bridie Beagle panting like no tomorrow. She enjoyed the heat, even if it completely drained her.
Even after a swim, she once again insisted on sunbathing. The saying about mad dogs (and some silly people) being the only ones crazy enough to be in the midday sun, is true where she’s concerned.
The Colo River that morning was misty and mysterious.
At Upper Colo, it’s hemmed in by sheer sandstone cliffs and dense bush.
By the water, it sustains more verdant species.
The river has its source deep in the Blue Mountains north of Lithgow in the valleys of Capertee and Wolgan. We visited the Capertee Valley a few years ago, and by road seems like a world away from Upper Colo.
The Colo eventually flows into the Hawkesbury, which drains in Broken Bay, so we’ve seen quite a few sides of this extensive river system.
In between, it flows wild through Wollemi National Park, until it emerges at Upper Colo, before meandering into the Hawkesbury at Lower Portland.
It reminds me of the novel The Secret River. Set by the Hawkesbury in the early days of New South Wales, it described the recreated the experiences of the first white settlers to the area. They saw the river and the bush as a mysterious, menacing creature that was just waiting to gobble them up. Sitting by the river that morning, I think I understood how they felt.