It’s a four-hour drive from the old schoolmasters house to the city – it becomes a journey. I usually try to break the trip- find adventures along the way.
Early November it’s the Rhododendron Festival in Blackheath – my favourite little town in the Blue Mountains. Even just driving through on the Great Western Highway you see glimpses of the festive trees decorated with what looks like crepe paper flowers; orange, persimmon, pink, red, white and more. I didn’t get to see the festival this year, I’ve imagined floats of Carmen Miranda like splendor- but I could be completely wrong…
I did get to the old world rhododendron gardens, where you follow winding paths of Indian-like colour past ponds and under eucalypts. Mostly older people are there, everything feels very quite and still. It calms you down.
Passing through Bathurst, Keppel Street is the best port of call. With it’s fun op shops, 2nd hand stores & cafes – it’s the arty side of town. The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery is there, and is somehow very easy to pop into, it’s only small but it’s like a bird having a quick sip of nectar from a delicious flowering bush.
There’s some wonderful nineteenth century architecture in Bathurst. The jail with a façade that Charles Dickens would have approved of. The domed courthouse that was meant for India but got redirected to here. Close by a tiny little museum, almost a private collection of random artifacts of early Bathurst. My favorite thing a beautiful bird egg collection, all different colours from china white to pale blue, some freckled with spots. Others have intricate sepia handwriting covering them. It’s a work of art.
The Bathurst Mineral and Fossil museum is one of the amazing museums of the world, dropped into a country town. Standing in the darkened hall surrounded with cases filled with rocks and minerals – you feel energized. The crystallized rocks are displayed like abstract works of art, ones that you could stare into for hours, they become like little worlds, planets that Superman could have come from. I’ve been back again and again.