Everglades Gardens at Leura

EvergladesLeura“Take a charming mountain community, build a delightful Art Deco house, then add magnificent gardens and you have a superb place for people to visit, wander, enjoy and savour a simple meal in gorgeous surroundings.”

The place where you can experience all of those delights is Everglades at Leura in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

The land, which is set on one of the highest points in the Blue Mountains, was purchased by businessman Henri Van de Velde in the 1930s. A former orchard set on 13 acres of land which afforded brilliant views of the Jamison Valley and Kanangra Falls, Van de Velde commissioned renowned landscape designer Paul Sorensen to turn the orchard into a grand garden which was to surround his, then, state of the art home.

“The house and gardens at Everglades are now controlled by the National Trust, and are open for everyone to enjoy.”

Despite the steep incline of the site, Sorensen managed to level much of the land so that is actually drops down in terraces. These terraces are braced by solid rock walls and are endowed with wide, grassy areas, spectacular trees and seasonal plants, so that the gardens do change with the seasons.

Mr Van de Velde was something of a fitness fanatic so had a squash court built on one of the terraces. This has now been turned into an art gallery, and it as amazingly light and airy place in which to display art works.

The various terraces are named after the type of plants you can expect to see planted on them, so you enter the gardens and make you way down to Conifer Walk, adjacent to which is a garden theatre where plays are staged during the warmer months. The Studio Terrace is where you find the art gallery, and as you proceed down the hill you encounter the Agapanthus Terrace, the Lilac Terrace and the Cheery Terrace, on which level is the fully restored original house.

On the lower level of the house is a café.

“The upper levels contain the bedrooms and two very interesting bathrooms, one for him and the other for her.”

Further down the hill is a lookout and the grotto pool, which was specially built for swimming, and is a peaceful place to stay for a while to admire the attractive surroundings.

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