Outing to Mount Tomah Botanic Garden

10:00am, Sat, 5 Sep 2020

  • Event Details
  • Type of event: Outings
    Duration: 4 hours
    Venue: Mount Tomah Botanic Garden
      See map below
    Description: Outing to Mount Tomah Botanic Garden

    Spring in the mountains – Saturday 5 September 2020

    Visit to Blue Mountains Botanic Garden - Mount Tomah and then optional visits to surrounding gardens and reserves

    This one day excursion will focus on the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens, Mt Tomah, and then provides the opportunity to explore the gardens for the rest of the day or visit additional nearby locations such as Wildwood Garden, Mt Wilson and Mt Banks.
    Note: Closer to the time, updates will be provided about food locations. However, it is advisable to consider BYO lunch and snacks in case.
    We will also canvass for people wishing to car pool.

    See the attached document below for a full description of the outing with more details, pictures and maps.

    Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens

    Located on Bells Line of Rd, Mount Tomah NSW 2758 this 28 HA garden is a showcase of local and imported cool climate plants and alpine rainforest. 
    It takes about 1.5 hours to get there from Lindfield, with the M2/M7being generally the quickest. Use the Richmond Road exit from the M7.
    Saturday morning traffic can be annoying, so the earlier you leave is likely to be better.
    Greg Bourke, the manager/curator of the garden, will give us a 30 minute talk, starting at 10.30am, on photography and specifically macro, and then we will go into the garden to ramble and experiment with Greg’s guidance. Morning tea will be provided prior to the talk.

    Getting there

    To meet the 10.30am time frame and have time for coffee and apple pie on the way, we recommend leaving home about 8.30am or so.
    On the way, there are a couple of places to stop for coffee or get lunch.  
    • Bilpin Fruit Bowl - open at 8am.
    • Across the road is the Pines Orchard with café with similar food and a very amenable owner!
    • Further along the road towards Mt Tomah is a new bakery called The Grumpy Baker - open at 6.30am.
    As you travel towards Mt Tomah, you will see lots of recovering forest and there are a few places to pull over to the side of the road to check out the regrowth. Note that beyond the Botanic Gardens, and traveling onto Mt Banks and beyond, the damage (as at July) is far more extreme and the recovery far less progressed.
    Be careful not to tread on new shoots, if you stop to take photos.

    Arriving at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden – Mount Tomah

    15 – 20 mins from Bilpin is the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens with a turnoff to the left.
    The gardens are open 9am to 5pm.
    While some of the garden was burnt in the February fires, there is still plenty to see. The burnt areas are around the perimeter and do not impact the experience you’ll have.
    The café is currently not open (June) so we will update you closer to the time. We will also have to see if the Visitors Centre is open by then to collect a map.
    If you arrive early, you’ll have time to wander the gardens or you can do that after lunch. There are many paths and rock walls, rock pools, and an array of colourful plants and trees.

    10.30am Presentation by Greg Bourke, Manager/Curator, in Visitors Centre

    A highlight will be a short 30 minute presentation by Greg Bourke, the Curator/Manager of the garden, who is an expert on carnivorous plants and photographing them. He will present to us his macro (and landscape) images, along with his tips on macro, cameras, photographing plants and gardens etc. Then we will go for an exploration in the garden and try things out with his advice and guidance.
    Remember to bring your tripod. Bring lenses that allow close-ups of flowers (macro or zoom are good) as well as your tripod.  If you want to experiment with lighting, also bring your flash.
    Morning tea will be provided at this talk.
    You can see more of Greg’s images on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/greg.bourke/?hl=en.

    Lunch: 12.30 or so…

    Either bring your own lunch and eat in the garden or have it at the café (if open) or Takeaway.
    Apparently queues are long at the moment on the weekends.  

    After lunch – stay at the gardens or take some additional afternoon trips

    You are welcome to continue to explore the Botanic Gardens in the afternoon or take one or more of the following additional explorations…
    There are some wonderful places to visit close by, you may decide to make a weekend of it.
    Places include Mt Wilson, Wildwood Garden and Mt Banks – a few details on each are provided here.

    1. Wildwood Gardens

    Wildwood is a garden 20 mins east of Mt Tomah and so may be worth a visit on the way home. It is located at: 29 Powell’s Rd, Bilpin NSW 2758.
    Wildwood is full of camellias and in spring should have a lovely spring display with cherry blossoms.
    Food is available at Wildwood, but needs to be booked in advance. Menus for lunch range from $25 to $35 (including entry fee of $10) and afternoon tea is $18 including entry. (Menus are available on request from Heather).
    I’ve been advised by Wayne, one of the owners, to either book ahead or to order food as soon as you arrive (to avoid queues). There is a takeaway place as well, but can have long queues. The garden is a mix of formality and wooded glades, with a number of lovely water features and statuatory throughout the garden. There is also an extensive shop and plants for sale.
    Entry is $10 (or is included with the price for food, if purchased).

    2. Mount Wilson

    Mount Wilson is 20 mins west from the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens and spring is a lovely season there with many open gardens.
    Continue along the Bells Line of Road  and turn right after about 10 mins at Mount Wilson Road (see map at end of this document).
    There are many picnic spots where you can enjoy your (BYO) picnic lunch including Cathedral Reserve and Happy Valley, 1km further towards Mt Irvine.
    There are NO shops, cafes, permanent coffee shops, petrol stations, ATMs or medical services. The nearest are in Lithgow or Mt Victoria. Please remember to bring your own water. 
    Mobile reception can be dodgy.
    There are public toilets at Silva Plana (just as you enter Mt Wilson), the Fire Station, Founders Corner, Waterfall Reserve and Cathedral Reserve.
    Two lovely gardens well worth a visit are:


    This is a small garden, just under five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. It’s located at 25-27 Queens Ave Mount Wilson 2786. It is well sign-posted.
    The garden is beautifully landscaped with cool climate plants, water features and sculpture.
    The fee for the garden is $10 which also gets you tea/coffee and biscuits. You pay on arrival or when getting your afternoon tea. Rodger has also invited you to picnic lunch (BYO) in the gardens. Toilets are available at the garden.


    Located at: 60 The Avenue, Mount Wilson NSW 2786. Fees are $10 for entry.
    This second garden sprawls over 5 HA with the precise geometry of tightly clipped hedges of azaleas, camellias and box. 
    Bebeah is one of the original large garden estates of Mt Wilson, having been built by Edward Cox in 1880. The garden has been rejuvenated by the current owner, Barry Byrne, into a rare Australian example of a formal country garden estate of imposing scale and a grand sense of design. There are 120 year old trees, a large lake, and a wide variety of plantings. The main house is late Victorian Gothic and blends into the landscape.

    What else to do in Mount Wilson?

    Wynnes Rocks Lookout

    40 Wynnes Lookout Rd, Mount Wilson NSW 2786.
    There is a lovely lookout, albeit recovering from fire, called Wynnes Rocks Lookout which gives you outstanding views  over the mountains. You’ll be able to see close up the regeneration of the native bush.

    3. Mount Banks

    For the nature lovers, it’s well worth of visit to Mt Banks Picnic Area, part of the Blue Mountains National Park. This is located on your way to Mt Wilson or on your way home.
    Its roughly 10 mins west of Mt Tomah on the south side of the road (left hand side) if you are travelling towards Mt Wilson.
    There is a dirt road leading down to the Picnic area but just half way there are some wonderful views and beautiful rocks and recovering heathlands.

    What to bring

    • Water
    • Lunch (unless you buy on the way or eat at the Botanic Garden café/takeaway or Wildwood Garden – pre-order)
    • Thermos/tea/coffee in case
    • Camera gear – with macro/zoom
    • Tripod
    • Flash if you want
    • Wet weather gear/hat/sunscreen/umbrella
    • Good shoes for walking
    • Maybe mozzie spray
  • Map
  • View on Google Maps website