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Lifestyle : Spring In The Blue Mountains
1HERSA1 S001 Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th October 2010 9.00am - 5.00pm (Saturday) 9.00am - 4.00pm (Sunday) Live entertainment, food from around the world and including a variety of things hand made, home made and home grown. Over 120 stalls includng jewellery, clothing, plants, soaps, woodwork, kids' stuff, fudge, historic photos & much more! An authentic Cuban band and street performers will add to the festive atmosphere. Local landscapers will present special garden displays. The Fair coincides with the Leura Garden Festival (2 - 10 October). For more information go to our website; www.leuravillage.com.au The Annual LEURA Village Fair The Blue Mountains Spring celebration, the Leura Fair is being held under the famous cherry blossoms of Leura Mall on Photographs courtesy of Warren Hinder Photography Lofty pleasures The end of winter and longer days make it even easier to enjoy this playground on Sydney's doorstep, writes Bruce Elder. Stepping out . . . keen hikers can tackle mountain walks on foot, while the less adventurous can view them from above. For more than 130 years, the Blue Mountains have been the state's most popular inland holiday destination, providing excellent bushwalking, delightful views over the valleys and gracious accommodation for visitors eager to escape the bustle of Sydney. The region is sublime in any season but particularly in spring and autumn, when the native and European flora turn the villages and towns, from Glenbrook to Mount Victoria and Bell to Richmond, into a heady world of colourful gardens set against the smoky, smudged beauty of the vast, eucalypt-dense valleys and box canyons. The railway from Sydney reached Katoomba in 1876. Within a decade, The Illustrated Sydney News reported that significant centres such as Katoomba were ''covered with a cluster of houses, among which are many handsome residences, with The Carrington conspicuous in the centre. Substantial shops line the main street and everywhere are evidence of progress and prosperity.'' By the 1920s and 1930s, The Carrington Hotel was entertaining royalty -- the Prince of Wales stayed in 1920 and the Duke and Duchess of York in 1927 -- and the region acquired a reputation as the honeymoon capital of Australia. Today, the Blue Mountains remain chic and popular, with superior accommodation and some of regional NSW's best food on offer. Go for a day or go for a fortnight and you will be endlessly entertained. No trip to the area is complete without a slow journey around Cliff Drive from Leura to Scenic World at Katoomba. Even better is the pleasant and dramatic Prince Henry Cliff Walk. Both offer breathtaking views across the Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness and include such iconic landmarks as the Three Sisters, Echo Point and the beautiful and intimate Leura Cascades. For those who are fit enough, there are the 896 steps of the Giant Stairway into the Jamison Valley, followed by a peaceful walk along the valley floor. No less impressive are Sublime Point to the south-east of Leura, Evans Lookout and Govetts Leap Lookout, with their westerly views to the Grose Valley at Blackheath, or, for those prepared to drive beyond Jenolan Caves, there are the sublime views from Kanangra Walls to the romantically named Mount High and Mighty, Mount Stormbreaker and Mount Cloudmaker. The region's major commercial attraction is Katoomba's Scenic World, which combines a skyway with a glass floor and views 270 metres to the valley floor; a historic scenic railway (the steepest incline railway in the world); a scenic cableway; and an impressive new scenic walkway, a 2.8-kilometre elevated boardwalk with lots of informative signage, through the ancient Jamison Valley rainforest. The mountains also hold quirky attractions, ranging from the Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum, which boasts more than 3000 teapots (Grose Street, Leura), to the outstanding Selwood Science & Puzzles (Railway Parade, Hazelbrook), with its holograms, home-made digital piano and rooms filled with puzzles and games. The remarkable Zig Zag Railway between Bell and Lithgow is essential for railway enthusiasts, while the tea-leaf readings of Mystic High Tea, at the very upmarket Lilianfels, and the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum at Faulconbridge, with its fleshy nudes and celebration of the timeless children's classic The Magic Pudding, are highlights of any visit to the region. In spring, the local gardens are ablaze. The most impressive include the Mount Tomah Botanic Garden at Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah; the spectacularly beautiful Mount Annan Botanic Garden, with more than 4000 plants set on 416 hectares at Mount Annan; Francesca Park at Springwood, with its Dutch irises, roses, conifers and wisteria; the Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve, with its wide range of wildflowers; the rhododendron experience that is Blackheath in October and November; and the glorious Everglades Historic House & Gardens, which is operated by the National Trust at Everglades Avenue in Leura. There, a beautifully preserved art deco home is set in five hectares of European landscaped gardens, with waterfalls, grottoes and spring floral displays on the lilac, cherry and agapanthus terraces. Hurry to catch the end of the Leura Gardens Festival, which runs for two more days until October 10. SPECIAL REPORT Friday, October 8, 2010 Spring in the Blue Mountains
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