Thanks to Joy, Eric and Darren from Greenock Creek Charter, Halima and I sent the Hounds to my sister’s for a few days and hit the road early on the 8th of October heading for Leura in the Blue Mountains New South Wales for the Open Garden Festival.
Long old road trip across the drought stricken lands from South Australia was pretty sad to see the old place in such a state of drought.
We made Leura by Wednesday afternoon quite late and a totally different scene of very busy roads climbing up into The Blue Mountains area, Darren had a good GPS system to find a way.
We were staying in a very nice Hotel in Leura very close to most of the open gardens we intend to visit over the next few days.
First day here started with a local historian as our tour guide showing the properties and houses of the rich politician’s and business folk who set up their summer or holiday houses in Leura from the early 1920s. After the Guided tour and a lunch break at Everglades Historic House we went to the Blue Mountain Botanical Gardens to wander among nicely landscaped gardens there.
Some amazing Stone walls and buildings here and of course gardens too.
Day two at Leura was a bus trip to Scenic World and everyone enjoyed a ride on the steepest rail system in the world descending to Jamison Valley into the cool climate forest below the sandstone cliffs, a great experience as some of the journey goes under ground then rejoins the daylight to a fantastic view out into the Valley below.
View inside the Rail Car descending sometimes underground.
Views from the cliff top hike after crossing this valley in the Skyway cable car, Halima and I walked for about 2 km along the cliff edge and down into the forest below.
View of the valley below from the Skyway and another crossing for others in the Skyway cable car.
Saturday finally arrived as the first day of the Leura Open Gardens, Halima and I were ready to go to work on the 10 gardens open on the list. It was cold with a few showers of rain on the day but we had some wet weather gear plus a simple plastic poncho that did a good job keeping us dry.
Really spectacular gardens in such a great cool climate environment, nice garden walls and borders everywhere.
Flowing water in the middle of a drought I suspect it was pumped around the garden but the rain added to the amount of water. Nicely made stone walls and steps joining the terraced paths in these gardens.
Looking out from the out doors area of this house into Jamison Valley below, and another terraced path leading to a grotto type water feature flowing from above.
This was our last garden for Saturday we managed to get around to 9 gardens and hiked about 7 km in the process. We missed a visit to two gardens as we run out of time but managed to visit one the next afternoon after the bus trip to visit a museum on Sunday morning.
Monday morning early we left Leura to start the road trip for home, via Oberon where we visited Mayfield Gardens a magnificent 70 hectar garden established on what was part of a cattle property some years ago and is being added to all the time.
Mayfield Gardens are in a rural setting so on arrival for the first time and not knowing what to expect you only see the Reception area and Restaurant area first. You take a short walk through an avenue of existing trees to arrive at the unassuming path leading into the first section of a spectacular garden.
Water features Lakes and Bridges link the gardens together, there is a spectacular Grotto water fall as well.
Along a path leading back to the Reception area is another water feature and water fall, you can use the stepping stones to cross the stream.
A truly special place is Mayfield Gardens it would be good to visit again with more time to see more of what is already there and being developed for the future.
Our over night destination was Cowra then a visit to The Cowra Japanese Garden the next Morning before a 5 hour drive to Hay our last overnight stay for the trip.
Central Lake and large bell if you want to wake Old Buddha before you start your walk.
Views from the higher advantage points in the Garden.
Some of the very tame lizards and a snake who cruised by while I was taking a rest on a bench. He did not seem afraid of people who were watching him and taking photos as he went about his day.
Weethalle Silos painted with a theme of the area somewhere between West Wyalong and Hay I suspect not much grain will be stored here this season.
After another over night stay at Hay we headed for The Barossa Valley then on home to Clare in our own vehicle. A great holiday for our first time Bus trip met some really nice people on the bus and along the way.
One very important thing I will say is to commend Joy from Greenock Creek Bus Tours for coordinating a very successful trip. Accommodation, Meals, Garden tours not only at Leura but along our journey there and back. Darren for all the driving and making sure our drop off and pick up points were as close as possible to the venue we were visiting at the time and loading and unloading our luggage as we went from place to place. The accommodation staff and food venues we frequented were all very helpful and professional at the hospitality trade. Also the 24 other participants on the tour were all very nice friendly folk making it a great experience I say thanks you one and all.
I take no responsibility for not knowing the names of any of the plants or trees featured in these gardens.
Thanks for reading my Blog.
Ian vk5cz ..
Great write up Mate, thanks for that.
‘These Old Stone Walls’ is a great write up for VK5 but my home (birth) QTH is just north of Cowra so great to see the ‘Old’ country!