🍎 Staying on an apple orchard in the Blue Mountains
In December we took a couple of days off work and went to the Blue Mountains for a few days away. I already wrote blog posts for the Mermaids Cave walk and the Cox’s Cave Circuit we did. This blog post covers the rest of the trip.
Due to the pandemic, this was the first time we went away in a long time, and had a proper break. It really did feel well deserved since Nick and I have been busy at work and were itching for some… well, I guess you could say some real fresh air. I don’t consider myself a completely outdoorsy person but I love nature. I love mountains, rocks, trees, and lakes.
For our trip we stayed for two nights at the Logan Brae Orchard in Blackheath. We first heard of this place due to its popularity on Airbnb and being one of the highest rated and most popular stays in Australia. Since we discovered it, the price of accomodation per night has essentially doubled (and rightly so, it’s a luxurious and very unique experience). It’s the last remaining apple orchard in the Blue Mountains and the accomodation gives you beautiful views of the mountains in a private space, as well as access to the orchard so you can explore. Many will stay here to get pictures for Instagram, but we also love these unique experiences for the experience itself. The orchard is open to the public for many months of the year when apples are in season, but we happened to stay while it was closed. We still got to sample some of the Logan Brae apple juice and apple jam. Delicious! 🍎
Amusingly enough, we had accidentally booked this trip over our dentist appointments that we had booked six months ago. 😂 As soon as we realised this mistake, I called them up and moved our appointments to the morning. No problem at all. Gotta keep those teeth in check. 🦷
After visiting the dentist we were on our way, and stopped to eat pies for lunch at Bakehouse on Wentworth. We couldn’t dine in but we just ate while sitting on a bench nearby. I am not a big pie person but these pies were said to be amazing by chef Matt Moran himself, so I got what I would usually get in this case: a peppercorn steak pie. I am a sucker for the condiment that is black pepper. Although I hadn’t had a pie in years, I couldn’t fault this one because it was tasty, warm (the right temperature), and great quality. Nick got a pie and sausage roll but sausage rolls are not really my thing.
Unfortunately it rained a lot during our trip. This meant that we walked some yucky trails, experienced some intermittent rain, missed out on potentially better views than what we saw, and avoided driving some unsealed roads with the car. We did make the most of our trip and got a lot done, though! Before we arrived at our accommodation we killed some time by… well, staying in the car while it poured rain, but once it stopped we got out of the car at the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens, a public garden area with a lake and some small walking trails, and full of vegetation. It was really, really wet but I was trying out my waterproof sneakers and pretty chuffed with how it was working out. Guaranteed any normal sneaker would have absorbed rain and a any water from the puddles I partially stepped in, but my Vessi sneakers were living up to the hype. (This is not an ad, by the way. 😉)
Our accommodation at Logan Brae felt very secluded. They had an outdoor bath in the trees but we didn’t use it because it was cold and rainy during our stay, and I guess we didn’t think to bring our swimming clothes to walk between the accommodation and the bath. They supplied us with robes, but I guess it was still a bit too much bother.
There was a bath inside that we used, though! It looks out into the mountains and although we used it at night, it would make for a nice view during the day. The toilet also faced that way, so… can’t complain about a pleasant view while you do your business. 😂
Since it was the off-season, the orchards were not really lush, so I didn’t get any interesting photos. The area was still secluded and beautiful.
We also got to meet Lottie, the maremma dog on the orchard!
While exploring for a secret lookout only accessible from the orchard, we stumbled upon a pile of discarded apples. The smell of fermenting and slightly rotten apples was in the air. We didn’t get too close – I freaked out at the thought of maggots and we realised we were going the wrong way – but I did think about how interesting it was that I had smelled fermenting apples for the first time in my life. 😅
The owner said we were free to roam the orchard, including checking out the chicken coop and taking any eggs if we wanted. 🥚 We saw some, but didn’t take any, since we weren’t planning to do any cooking.
I’d booked a restaurant called Cinnabar for dinner, and we had a nice meal there. It seems to be one of the highest rating eating establishments in the area. I recommend it, the dishes we had were tasty.
The next morning we set out a little early to check out a place called Mermaids Cave Walk, which I wrote about in its own blog post a short time ago. 😊 I definitely recommend checking it out if you are looking for a hidden gem in the Blue Mountains.
We had breakfast in Blackheath and then drove to Govetts Leap Lookout, which is the main lookout in the town of Blackheath. It was another case of waiting for the rain to pass while sitting in the car, and thankfully it did stop for a little bit.
Unfortunately, due to bushfire and flood damage, many of the trails were blocked off and undergoing maintenance. We were able to do part of one loop track, but had to walk back the way we came because the latter end of the loop was closed off for maintenance. It still offered some nice views.
If you’re travelling in the mountains you most likely have a car, and it’s probably fairly easy for you to travel to the various towns in the Blue Mountains because they’re only about fifteen minutes’ drive away. We drove to the town of Leura and went to some lookouts near the edge. Some tracks, again, were blocked off due to maintenance.
We browsed the town centre, I bought some Mike and Ike candy at a little candy store, and we ate at a diner for a snack but it ended up being early lunch.
Even though I have been to the Blue Mountains for what seems like countless times, and seen the famous rock formations known as the Three Sisters, so many times, I really do feel like that view doesn’t get old. It feels like such an iconic and recognisable part of Blue Mountains’ and Australian history. I mean, how often are you not wowed by an incredible rock formation? (I love rocks, but you know, still.) So we stopped to take a look at that, and then at the beginning of the Giant Stairs walk. Which we’ll probably read into and figure out if it’s worth it – because walking down almost a thousand steps seems like it might be hell on your legs, and may get boring quick…
We decided we were tired and it was time to head back. We went to Hargraves lookout before going back to the orchard. It was not far from the orchard, and there was a short trail on a small cliff which allowed for more views of Megalong Valley. Everything in the view was so, so green. It was not just trees, but we saw open meadows.
That evening I found out about a walk called Cox’s Cave, which we ended up doing the next day. You can read my blog post about it if you want more details!
We ate lunch at Wattle Cafe back in Blackheath. I ordered a “Von hash”, which was their slightly fancy take on a potato hash with an egg on top. It was really delicious, actually, and rather unique.
On the way home we took a detour to Warragamba Dam, the dam that serves Sydney and surrounds with its water. On the weekends the dam grounds are open and you can walk across the top.
Overall it was a great short trip away, and although we didn’t go completely off the grid, it was nice to spend time in nature and go outdoors and outside of Sydney for a little bit. ☀️