9:15am Saturday, 1 August BlueMountainsAustralia.com
113kms · 112 mins by car · 133 mins by train
4,177 population · 1,025m elevation
Blackheath is most famous for its annual ‘Rhododendron Festival’ held in November each year. The festival weekend includes some unusual activities such as the Chainsaw Competition. However the Rhododendrons are the major draw card as they are absolutely amazing. Visitors to Blackheath can visit the Blackheath Rhododendron Gardens located in Baccante Street.
Blackheath also hosts the Blackheath Art Society's Members Exhibition at Easter as well as many other art exhibitions throughout the year.
Blackheath is full of colonial history. The first building in Blackheath was "The Scotch Thistle Inn" erected by Andrew Gardner in 1831. The Inn was visited by the renowned scientist Charles Darwin in 1836. The site for "The Scotch Thistle Inn" was located slightly south of the present Gardners Inn Hotel. The original staircase from "The Scotch Thistle" has been preserved and can be found in Gardners Hotel.
The town’s shopping centre has an extremely relaxed atmosphere. Of particular interest is the Victory Theatre. While the building is no longer used as a theatre, the owners have transformed it into a spectacular antique centre which is certainly worth browsing through.
On the outside of the Victory Theatre is one of the town’s proudest displays, a colourful mural designed by artist Jenny Kee and painted in 1985 by members of the local community on behalf of the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre.
Blackheath Views and Bushwalks
Blackheath is filled with natural beauty and there are many breathtaking views and bush walks to experience. Govetts Leap and Evans Lookout provide views of the Grose Valley (the starting point for the Grand Canyon Walk).
A trip down into the valley will lead you to Edenderry and Hilary Falls. Evans Lookout also provides a sheltered picnic area. You can also start the Grand Canyon Walk from Neates Glen along Evans Lookout Road and visit Beauchamp Falls.
Turn into Walls Cave Road off Evans Lookout Road and you will discover Aboriginal history with Walls Cave which is believed to have been occupied around 12,000 years ago.
Things to do
Heading further west along the Great Western Highway, the next street to the right is Brightlands Avenue where you will find the Blackheath Golf Course. Sutton Park is located a little further along the highway, an ideal picnic or resting area.
Blackheath also features a sports ground, tennis courts, swimming pool and bowling club located down Prince George and Leichhardt Streets.
The next major turn off the Great Western Highway is through the main centre down Govetts Leap Road. Here you can find the Gallery Blackheath which exhibits fine art and drawings by selected Blue Mountains artists.
Blackheath hosts the headquarters of the Blue Mountains National Parks & Wildlife Service. The headquarters also offers an Information Centre. For those who are confined to a wheelchair, or perhaps have a stroller, there is no need for you to miss out on the experience of bush walking in the Blue Mountains. From the Information Centre you can take the Fairfax Heritage Track to Govetts Leap where you will see abundant bird life and views of the Grose Valley. View the magnificent 608 metre drop of Govetts Leap Falls and the Blue Mountains' very own Grand Canyon as well as the forest below.
Walks from Govetts Leap
There are many walking tracks from Govetts Leap. One of the walks will lead you to Bridal Veil Falls and Luchetti Lookout. Other walks will take you to either Trinity Falls or Horseshoe Falls.
The Pulpit Rock Walk will take you to Cripps Lookout and Pulpit Rock.
Popes Glen Walk will take you from Govetts Leap back towards the centre of town.
Memorial Park features the Blackheath Swimming Pool, a playground for the children, plus much more! You can even feed the ducks.
The horse and rider monument located on the Great Western Highway tells the story about Govetts Leap. It is well worth stopping to read the tale while perhaps waiting for fish & chips from the local shop across the road.
Back on the Great Western Highway, the next street west of the railway station is Hat Hill Road. A drive along this road takes you to Hat Hill, Averil Rock, Pulpit Rock and Perry’s Lookdown overlooking the Grose Gorge.
Blackheath also boasts views of the Megalong Valley on the south side of the Great Western Highway.
Blackheath was originally named ‘Hounslow’. Governor Macquarie had second thoughts about the name when viewing the characteristics of the town. He saw the town as having a ‘charred, wild open heath-like appearance’ and so renamed the township Blackheath in 1815.
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