Our other visitors guides
Go Travel Hawkesbury: Finding Shakespeare!
It’s The View out to the sweeping Kurrajong Hills that brings Shakespeare to mind: “One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin”. And we found Shakespeare’s here at Highfields Country Cottages nestled in the hills and valleys which may bear resemblence to Stratford on Avon countryside. As we have not travelled outside of London, we ask all-travelers to that corner of the world to correct us if we are wrong.
Highfields Country Cottages
Three charming cottages built in 2015, are sparkling clean and outfitted in a classic country theme with touches of art that might surprise you. We arrived on a hot autumn day, yet a breeze blows gently through the windows and doors while we enjoy tea on the verandah overlooking homes and cottages sparsely dotting the hillsides. As early evening darkens, lights twinkle on as though stars had fallen weightlessly to claim and shimmer across the rolling rural hills.
The ‘group cottage’ with two bedrooms sleeps six and two nearby cottages each accommodate four. They are spaciously situated so privacy is not compromised – the world is quiet, only the native birds are active. Each cottage has a full kitchen and is stocked with basics – milk, coffee, tea and honey. When you arrive, a surprise sample of fruit grown just steps from your door may be awaiting you. This is, of course, seasonal dependent!
Weather permitting, a ‘sunset walkabout’ when you arrive on the property is perfect to unwind from your normal hectic routine. Uphill through fruit trees, past domestic animals (pets, really) and the occasional wildlife overhead, the pace is good for your health and domestic tranquility! Often families occupy all three cottages for an extended holiday – internationals have found Highfields Country Cottages and they love the personal attention sprinkled generously by owner/host, Sandra Eid. Sandra has hospitality in her blood – make your wishes known and she tries her best to satisfy at her eco-friendly property.
Shops & Cafes in nearby Kurrajong Village
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Go Travel Hawkesbury: What The Locals Do in Autumn
With the weather temps up and down daily, at least the evenings are beginning to feel like autumn is just around the corner. So, take a look at our bulletin board on the homepage to see what's on in The Hills and The Hawkesbury. What The Locals Do!
A reminder in The Hills: the 'Country Rocks Festival' tickets are on sale and Bella Vista Farm is the perfect venue -- should be a terrific 'day-out' with music, food vendors and space to relax. 3 March. Details for Festival
On the other side of The Hawkesbury, the scent of apple is in the air. . . apple pies, apple cobblers and really fresh apple juice! Just check out the roadside produce stands for the freshest and the best.
Make a full-day outing along Bells Line of Road and you'll find. . . a gorgeous garden, a cider cellar-door for tasting and a hamper you can purchase for a picnic on the beautiful grounds and finally, dinner at a lovingly restored historic restaurant -- we suggest bookings. While the weather is good, get up and get out! Read all below for further descriptions:
Address: Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah
Phone: 02 4567 3000
Hours: Open daily 9.30am–5.30pm
Free entry, free picnic and barbecue facilities
Set along Bells Line of Road and above Bilpin, the Botanic Garden is the cool climate garden or the Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands. It remains a favourite with visitors to the Sydney area.
The adjective 'cool' is attached because the garden sits 1000 metres above sea level. 'Cool' because these 28-hectares feature plants, trees and owers of the Southern Hemisphere mountains–botanical life that is simultaneously tough and colourful. On an October walk through the garden, we were stunned by the height and bloom-size of Rhododendron trees.
To the delight of visitors, the garden blooms year-round. The plant and tree life are so diverse that we recommend a free volunteer guided tour, which is available most days. We recommend booking in advance to ensure that a guide is available. The tour provides a great overview before setting out to explore the gardens on your own.
To us, Mount Tomah is many 'cool' gardens within the one. Plants and trees from the mountain ranges–the cool climates–of China, Japan, Chile, Korea and North America are clustered as 'plant communities' in separate gardens.
The Jungle Walk through pristine rainforest is a must. Along half a kilometre of graded paths, you'll find magni cent sassafras and coachwood trees. Picnic tables, electric barbecues are available. A kiosk for coffee and snacks is opened daily.
Address: 2369 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin
Phone: 02 4567 0704
Hours: Open daily 10am–4pm Coffee always available
Set in a young apple orchard, Bilpin Cider cellar door steps back to earlier day where weekends were for families, car trips, blankets and hampers of tasty treats.
Set in the small historic village of Bilpin, the ambience of this open-air tasting room is that of farming at the turn of the 19th century. Large and small farming tools are on display alongside locally produced honey from Bilpin Bush honey and seasonal fruit from Pine Crest Orchard. When available, fruit and vegetables grown on the farm of Bilpin Cider.
Standing outside on the tasting room deck, our eye is drawn to huge leafy trees each with a massive canopy, each providing perfect shelter from the sun. A large swathe of green lawn, open for as far as the eye can see, is perfect for seating and enjoying a family hamper. Bilpin Cider will provide a gourmet picnic and a blanket at a moment's notice, or if you are the 'organised type,' please call ahead.
Children can wander through the farm, engage with the animals (sheep and alpaca). A jumping castle was on back order when we visited, and we heard rumours that a badminton court was soon to appear.
We have talked about the ambience and the perks, but we must not overlook the succulent Bilpin ciders available for tasting (and purchase): Archibald Cloudy Apple, Blush Pink Lady, Pear and Original Cider. For you 'designated drivers,' Bilpin Non-Alcoholic made from Granny Smiths, Pink Lady and Red Delicious is a treat! For more on Bilpin Cider, see tasting uncorked.
Address: 4/1255 Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong Heights
Phone: 02 4567 8225
Hours: Open 10am weekends, Open 11am Thursday & Monday Open 5.30pm Tuesday, Closed Wednesday
Launched in November 2017, the Hitchin' Post must be the newest kid on the road (Bells Line of Road) and yet perhaps the oldest. While maintaining the exterior of this long-standing building, the interior has been lovingly restored. A large 19th century replace–the original–divides the dining area and combined with modern lighting, the ambience is lovely.
A sophisticated open kitchen has been installed, ready for a 21st century menu. This experienced chef understands the traditional Australian palate–roasts served with Hawkesbury fresh produce is a mainstay. It is, however, his Italian heritage and the chef's mum's traditional Italian recipes that bring us back repeatedly. Home cooking returns to this historic building but after a quick peruse of the menu, this is a very upmarket version of mum's recipes! Mouthwatering desserts!
We suggest you book as weekends can get quite busy.
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