It’s a bit of a shame that the Blue Mountains area is oftentimes reduced to just Echo Point and the Three Sisters. Stunning as they are, there is so much more to see around the villages – it is really is a bit underrated.
One of such days trip destinations, for example, is the Everglades House in Leura, a Blue Mountain village that in itself is already worth a visit thanks to the picturesque historic houses and cottage gardens.
The Blue Mountains – A different world altogether
I really like the Blue Mountains. The climate is so different to what you would find near the coast, it can be so refreshing to plan a day trip here.
Just note that it’s always worthwhile checking the temperatures specifically for the area before heading out, as it can differ significantly from the rest of Sydney. More practical tips for visiting the Blue Mountains can be found at Sydney Expert, a great resource site for anyone planning a trip to Sydney.
On the day we arrive in Leura it is much cooler than in Sydney, and definitely doesn’t feel like a summer’s day at all. But this is good actually, as it is the perfect climate to explore the grounds of our destination: The historic Everglades House.
Historic Everglades House in Leura
The Everglades House in Leura is a 1930s private villa built by the wealthy industrialist Henri van de Velde.
The house is surrounded by 13 acres of magnificent formal and native gardens, which means there is plenty of stuff to see and explore while here.
It makes great use of the wet and cooler mountain climate, and you can enjoy a very different scenery here than you would see along the coast.
Visiting now in summer we are greeted by a number of blooming flowers such as fuchsias, daylilies and agapanthus flowers, but what makes this garden really enchanting are the Japanese maple trees all around us with their tiny, delicate leaves.
Not just the house, but also the gardens a worth the trip
Since the site is sloped, the garden is engineered to form separate terraces, each built around their own topic, and held back by masterly constructed retaining walls which are important features of the overall garden design.
Make sure you pay a visit to the Squash Court house with adjoining pool, and also check out the famous Garden Theatre with the arch which was taken from Sydney from the demolished London Chartered Bank of Australia to be rebuilt here as a stage backdrop.
While standing here, close your eyes and picture a stage play here, maybe Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Dream? And it’s just a turn to the right with your head to be greeted by marvellous bush views across the valley to the mountains beyond.
Of course one of the main attractions is the house proper, a 1930s marvel that was built in a way that would make the best possible use of the site. Make sure you stop by the tea rooms on the ground floor for some Scones and Devonshire Tea. If you are lucky, grab a free table in the small breakfast room and enjoy the views from the bay window here. It almost feels royal sipping your tea here!
The further down you go in the gardens, the wilder they get – a real Australian bush experience. From the outlook point you will have great views into the valley, but what is really something not to be missed is the man-made grotto pool with waterfall.
The Everglades House is open daily from 10am to 4pm except Christmas and Boxing Day, and tickets are around $10 adults and $4 for kids.
Everglades House, 37 Everglades Avenue, Leura. http://www.everglades.org.au