So near yet so far.
That's how my Mama describes the Hawkesbury Valley, about 80km north-east of Sydney. Took only a bit over an hour's drive for her so she's still reeling over the fact that it's only now she has the time to visit the region. But now that she's started, she can't stop! She's been there thrice, so far. It's only the chilly autumn weather that's keeping her at home nowadays.
What's the attraction, I asked her. Well, Mama says there's plenty to look, see and do there. There's Bilpin, the apple country of NSW, Kurrajong, Mount Tomah, and historic towns like Richmond and Windsor. I'll have to take her words for it as I wasn't taken on any of these outings. Brad said he'd like to try grass carting while I'd really love to climb those yummy looking apple trees...and frolicking with the alpacas...I heard the retreat where my Mama stayed with her friends is pet friendly. Hmmm...maybe next time...
In the meantime, enjoy the pix. I love the photographs, I hope you will too.
Big Fruit Bowl of Bilpin
You'll know you're in Bilpin as soon as you spot the Big Fruit Bowl. There's a cafe, souvenir, fruit shop and toilet facilities nearby too. The main activity that you can do in Bilpin is, of course, fruit picking. The season starts with cherries in November, plums and other stone fruits from December until February while apples will start from February until late April. Citrus is avalable from May onwards. There are also other fruits like figs and persimmons in between the seasons while the nuts (chestnuts, hazel, walnuts) are abundant in April.
There are heaps of orchards that offer PYO (pick your own) along the Bells Line of Road. Some even have lodging accommodations on site. Check out PYO orchards such as Shields Orchard, Pinecrest Orchard and Bilpin Springs.
Royal gala apples hanging regally on the bough...
Persimmons aplenty too
Fuji apples, not quite ripe yet...
The Pink Ladies all a-blushing!
Pick me if you dare, said the Granny Smiths
Uncle A trying to climb an apple tree to get at the good juicy ones up there
Don't touch! These mushrooms look yummy but are poisonous!
The camellias in full glory
Close up of a camellia
The first time she was there, Mama and her friends stayed at the Madisons Mountain Retreat in Kurrajong Heights. It was a cabin with modern amenities right in front of the alpaca paddock. The alpacas are reared for their wool...I checked the retreat's website and saw pictures of shorn alpacas. Phew! Luckily I'm not bred for my fur although am sure I will still look elegant bald. Oh, there are also goats and ducks on the farm.
Don't hit the alpacas!
Alpacas aplenty at the retreat
Nice view at the retreat's grounds
Nice cabins where Mama and friends stayed in, you can choose between a bathroom with shower or jacuzzi
The curious case of Benjamin Goaten...hahaha...the goats thought it was feeding time
Try your hands at making real fire...
For the brave, try grass carting if ever you find yourselves in Kurrajong Village. At just $15, you can zoom away for one full hour on a contraption not unlike a go-cart. How thrilling if they put bales of grass on the "cart" too...
Grass carting anyone?