Read our writer's views on this property below
Kate Cox feels like royalty as she takes in the glorious views from a bush hideaway.
It seems ironic that at a place enticingly named Allview Escape and built on a clifftop, we can't actually see more than a couple of metres in front of us until hours after we turn down the property's winding driveway. Luckily, the beautiful cottage, its rambling gardens and various entertainments make the always hellish Great Western Highway drive from Sydney worth the effort even in a dense Blue Mountains winter fog.
On a clear weekend it must be heaven. A wedding here would be spectacular.
Allview is set on eight hectares of gardens and bushland at Blackheath, perched on the top of the Grose Valley escarpment, with views of the Blue Mountains National Park as far as the eye can see. Up so high, it's easy to feel like the king of the mountains the fog lends an eerie Lord Of The Rings feel to the experience.
Just when we think it can't get any more special, dusk falls and the kangaroos come out to play. It's a child's dream weekender.
The offsite owners haven't just relied on the views. The gardens feature quirky sculptures, a dome, relaxation areas and lots of outdoor games. Tired of bushwalking? How about badminton? Eaten too much? Try some volleyball. It's the perfect catch-up spot for us: two families sorely in need of some downtime.
Allview comprises two cottages built about 120 metres apart Malie's House is the bigger one, with five bedrooms and two log fires; Isabella has four bedrooms, underfloor heating and a luxurious spa. The cottages can be booked together, holding up to 20 guests.
We're staying in Isabella. Our cottage is a solid, light-filled weatherboard, with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors that frame those magnificent views. Bedrooms, too, have picture windows that let you enjoy the bush from the comfort of bed on a chilly morning. The lounge and dining areas are furnished in modern, muted colours and all the bedrooms have crisp white linen and cosy mattresses.
It's roomy, even for our messy, noisy tribe of four adults and four children. The two biggest bedrooms have large ensuite bathrooms and there's an extra bathroom for the children. There's also a laundry and a very big, light, open lounge and dining area. The kitchen is extraordinarily well equipped, making this self-contained cottage that much easier to function in with children.
A large herb and vegetable garden is tucked behind the cottage; its contents are to make our dinnertime roast pork even tastier. As well as a television and DVD player, the cottage has a cupboard full of videos, books and board games. It's discovered by accident then it's game on!
Blackheath calls, though, and we leave the cottage to explore the town, taking shelter from mountain rain at the Victory Theatre Antique Centre, purchasing not just great coffee and milkshakes but some cool retro doorknobs, a super-cheap vintage brooch, a Tigger toy, some Enid Blyton books and a designer bag.
Our grocery shopping is just as exciting. The fruit and vegetable shop lady gives us recommendations on, and cooking tips for, the best seasonal produce and at the butcher we get extra crackling with our pork.
Meantime, the local bakery's meat pies and the fish'n'chip shop's big burgers (yes, we spent a lot of time eating) are some of the best we've tasted. Blackheath might be small but it's the Mountains' pocket rocket. It does everything well. There's no better place to walk off an exorbitant amount of food than in the Blue Mountains. And on Sunday, when the fog clears, we discover a path at the foot of the cottage that leads to Pulpit Rock and Govetts Leap. It's a long, energetic and rewarding walk to these famous landmarks.
OK, OK, so we drove around the corner and walked the few hundred metres from the parking lot of both Pulpit Rock and Perry's Lookdown. But we would have felt even more mightier-than-thou had we walked from the cottage. As it was, we still felt special we had the breathtaking 360-degree views all to ourselves.
ADDRESS 415 Hat Hill Road, Blackheath.
BOOKINGS Phone (02) 4787 5391, see allviewescape.com.au.
RATES From $300 a night.
Clifftop escape with a difference.
WHY YOU'D GO Super-private getaway that sums up everything fabulous about the mountains.
WHY YOU WOULDN'T You're banking on seeing those lush views. Fog is a big part of a Blue Mountains winter.
FIND TIME TO
- Take a restorative walk. One of the country's most famous and special walks is the Blue Gum Forest walk, full of massive, magnificent eucalypts, creeks and views. It's very close to Allview Escape and a must-do.
- Check visitbluemountains.com.au or bluemts.com.au for festival information before you go. There's something on every weekend, from farmers' markets to major celebrations (the Winter Magic Festival was rocking Katoomba when we visited, while Blackheath's famous Rhododendron Festival is in November) and they are almost always worth checking out.
- Pick up a bargain with your coffee at the Victory Theatre Antique Centre (17-19 Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath, phone (02) 4787 6002).