Thursday, August 31, 2006
The Botanists Way
"The Botanists Way is part of the larger Grand Circular Tourist Drive through the Hawkesbury, Lithgow, Oberon and Blue Mountains areas."
This is the introduction to a lovely website which harks back to the time of doing 'the Grand Tour". When traveling to the heights of the Blue Mountains was something that took several days and people had mansions and estates that they escaped to, away from the heat and smell of Sydney in the middle of Summer.
I've just finished reading Delia Falconer's book "The Service of Clouds" which is in the time of 'taking the mountain air' and going to Medlow Bath for the waters. While I'm not overly enamoured of her thesaurus style of writing, which one critic called "exuberant meditation", I did manage to get into the story of life in Katoomba at the turn of the 20th century. It took a lot longer to travel the Grand Circular Tourist Drive then and the traveler probably saw and experienced much more than today's day-tripper tourists in their air-conditioned deluxe coach.
The webpage suggests that "The 90 km drive along The Botanists Way between the Hawkesbury and Lithgow takes less than an hour and a half, but a whole day or even several days can be spent exploring all the sights and experiences along the way."
Much of that journey is along the wonderfully named Bell's Line of Road and it includes the Botanic Gardens at Mt Tomah, the elegant garden estates of Mt Wilson, and a myriad of cafes, orchards and small produce stalls. The last time we visited this area we bought honey at the farm gate and picked apples, walnuts and chestnuts straight from the trees. A novel but exciting experience for the young Dragon.
Until I read this website I was unaware of the wealth of other, non-commercial attractions along this route. I didn't know about the Waratah Native Garden or the lake on a mountain top at Mountain Lagoon near Sam's Way.
I think its time to start the Slow Travel movement to complement the one for Slow Food.