What would you rather? Get on a gym treadmill and watch the four corners of the gym whilst listening to your ipod or go for a bushwalk in a beautiful Botanic Garden and discover about 40,000 native, exotic and rare plants whilst breathing in the fresh and cool mountain air. Both activities will essentially and equally burn the same amount of calories and make you feel good. Okay, you don’t always have time to do some exercise let alone go for a drive somewhere then, exercise. The thing is this, when you go for a walk somewhere where you enjoy the surroundings around you, you don’t realize how long you have been walking and it doesn’t feel like you are actually exercising. What I’m trying to say is I get a little bored just power-walking around the block or doing lapses in a sports oval so I try to do things that involve a lot of walking and yet I get to enjoy my surrounding whatever that may be.
Hence, the pleasant one hour drive to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah via Bilpin coming from Sydney North-West (where I live). It is 1.5 hours drive from Sydney. The Garden is Australia’s premier cool-climate botanic garden, meaning – plants not suited in Sydney climate can thrive here given that it is 1000 metres above the sea level. It is perfectly located in the world heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains. As previously mentioned, the Garden is home to about 40,000 native, exotic and rare plants.
There’s a restaurant at the Visitor’s Centre where you can relax and sit down for a cup of coffee or a nice light meal before or after your independent or guided tour. (But was a bit surprised that they charged me extra 50 cents for soy milk and extra 50 cents for a decaf coffee – yeah, I’m tight that way). The restaurant (there’s also a view deck) has a sweeping view over the mountains. It is utterly stunning! (So, the extra dollar charge for my coffee was forgiven!) The leisure walk around the garden is a sure way to relax and breathe in the fresh and cool mountain air. The different variety of flowers and plants in the Rock Garden is always good photography.
You don’t have to go very far in the Blue Mountains bushland to experience a little taste of rainforest. In this Garden, there’s a short 20-minute bush walk track called ‘The Jungle’. It may have been a short walk (for me anyway) but the feeling of tranquillity is lasting.
TIP: Autumn would a better time to go for a more eclectic mix of colours in the Garden.