Bilpin is a quiet, isolated place, with a population of around 500 scattered in a thin, long wedge of rural land sandwiched between Wollemi National Park and Blue Mountains National Park. The centre of Bilpin has a Post Office, a hardware store that sells milk, bread, juice and newspapers, an auto mechanic, and a restaurant. Not much…so you can enjoy a peace and quiet, and focus on your work, away from it all. BigCi residents usually find this to be an ideal place to think, to be inspired, to create.
However, when you wish to have a break from your work, there is a surprising and growing list of interesting things to see and do, to add to your residency experience. Here is a list, in no particular order, of things we like to do and places we like to visit in the local area. When you come to BigCi, we will help you with further directions.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
For exhibitions, concerts, festivals, workshops and more, check out the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cityofthearts?fref=ts
The area around Bilpin, a part of World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains, is a bushwalker’s paradise. The majority of this area is still unexplored, although many walking tracks also exist. Many lifetimes would be required to explore the stunning valleys, sculptured rock formations, verdant rainforests, deep gorges, spectacular canyons, enormous caves, ghost towns, Aboriginal art sites, enormous high cliffs, incredible lookouts that are all contained within it. Bushwalks of any degree of difficulty are possible. When you come here, you can get more information and assistance from one of the people who run BigCi, Yuri Bolotin, who is an experienced wilderness explorer and guide.
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
Part of the Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, this is a stunning high altitude garden within 15 minutes drive from BigCi along Bells Line of Road. It is situated on top of a high mountain with great views towards Bilpin and the Wollemi Wilderness. There is a good information centre. Also, see separate entry below for Tomah Gardens Restaurant. Often, they have activities and exhibitions; check their website. Free entry.
Sams Way, Mountain Lagoon
A beautiful walk along a quiet country lane, magnificent colours in Autumn. The round walk is about 1.5-2hrs. About 15 minutes drive from BigCi, off Mountain Lagoon Road.
Many beautiful open gardens in Autumn and Spring. Deciduous trees in Autumn. Magnificent lookouts and many easy walks. About 30 minutes drive from BigCi.
Walls and Rigby Hill Lookouts
Stunning lookouts across the Grose Valley. Both lookouts can be accessed from one location. An easy 1-1.5km walk each way to either of the lookouts. About 20 minutes drive from BigCi.
An attractive high altitude town on the other, ‘touristy’ side of the Mountains. It has several good cafes, restaurants, interesting shops and stunning lookouts.
Blackheath is about 40 minutes drive from BigCi.
Mt Vics Flicks, Mount Victoria
A small, charming art house movie theatre located in Mount Victoria, 35 minutes drive from BigCi. See the movies the way they should be seen.
Katoomba is the ‘capital’ of the Blue Mountains. It has many cafes, restaurants, shops, several supermarkets, as well as many beautiful lookouts, all within the town boundaries. Katoomba is about 50 minutes drive from BigCi.
Here are a couple of our favourite Katoomba destinations:
. Paragon Café – famous for its hand made chocolates. On every last Friday of the month, they host ‘Sound Bites’ – a night of poetry, spoken word, readings, music, sound art and improvisation. Check on the web what’s on and when.
. Blue Mountain Cultural Centre – an art gallery with changing exhibitions and a World Heritage InformationCentre.
. Scenic World – apart from offering a variety of scenic rides, Scenic World also supports a number of cultural events.
Held annually, Sculpture at Scenic World is Australia’s only rainforest exhibition, showcasing artworks in the natural splendor of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains.
Bilpin Botany Tours
A walk in the bush, see, smell and touch tour, conducted by local botany experts.
11am and 12.30pm every Saturday, from Pine Crest Orchard, 5 min drive or 15 min walk from BigCi. Minimum numbers apply, so bookings are essential.
Call John Galbraith 02-4567 1145 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiaran Warner’s Massage and Tai Chi in the Wollemi
Wonderful massages and regular Tai Chi classes. Kiaran also teaches Nordic Walking. Discounts to BigCi residents.
5 Ivy Lane (off Hanlons Road), 0427 671 202
EAT, DRINK, SHOP
Bilpin Afire (ex Apple Bar)
Not much has changed, except for the name. Still the same owner and chef. This is our favourite restaurant in the area. It is less than 1km from BigCi, and it is a real destination – people specially come here all the way from Sydney! The food is very good and features great local produce.
You can also just have a drink at the bar and mingle with the locals.
They are not open every day, so check the opening times on the website below. It is also a good idea to book as they often get very busy.
Tomah Gardens Restaurant
This restaurant, situated on top of Mount Tomah, with panoramic views of the mountains below, was awarded one Chef’s Hat by the 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Not open for dinner.
Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens
A friendly local pub with great skyline views towards Sydney and a good restaurant. About 15 minutes drive from BigCi towards Sydney.
1349 Bells Line Of Road, Kurrajong Heights
Pie in the Sky
Best meat pies in Sydney, made on the premises by the owner Josh, a pastry chef. Lots of yummy sweets and other food. Great coffee. Check out Josh’s cappuccino with dark bitter chocolate topping – Yuri is seriously addicted to it! They are open from about 9.30am till 5.30pm every day, so this is a place for lunch and/or coffee. It is very simple and informal, in fact it looks like a shed alongside the road, but the appearances can be misleading. It is about 10 minutes drive from BigCi.
1858 Bells Line Of Road
Good place for breakfast as they open at 8.30am every day. They also have a great selection of fruit, as well as apple pies, local jams, preserves, juice etc. Good coffee. It is about 7 minutes drive from BigCi.
2070 Bells Line of Road, opposite Bilpin Fruit Bowl.
They grow chemical free vegetables and berries that you can often pick yourself. It is not a shop, but a farm, but they know us and you would be very welcome to come in.
Also, pick your own phenomenal strawberries in season.
They are located on our street, Hanlons Rd, No.38, ie about 500m from our gates.
Best to check with us or to call before you go, to make sure they are there.
0437 144 187
‘Pick Your Own’ Orchards
In season, many orchards along Bells Line of Road display ‘Pick Your Own’ signs. You can pick your own apples, peaches, persimmons, etc.
Saturday Bilpin Market
Stalls selling locally grown fruits and vegetable, as well as other food, drinks and craft.
Great place to meet locals for a chat, a cup of tea and a slice of apple pie.
Located at Bilpin Community Hall, 5 minutes drive from BigCi.
Every Saturday, 10.00am – 12noon