Monday, September 24, 2012

Bilpin – Apple picking experience

It was a boring Sunday morning after a dull Saturday. I was itching for some activity and something different, however too lazy to plan anything.  It was than my son 'Aryan' who pursued me to move out of home. We both didn't knew the answer to next obvious question where? And again Aryan recalled a place, we drove through during our last visit to Dubbo.  'Bilpin', A pretty little hamlet located on the Bells Line of Road. As we vaguely remember the place was on hills and famous for Apple orchards and great apple pies. Sounded like music to my ears, an opportunity to drive for couple of hours and apple picking sounded like fun. 
Shields orchard
Royal Gala

After some web research (Goggling) we started for Bilpin, it was 90 minutes drive from our home at north shore and was just after Richmond. A beautiful drive once you cross the Richmond and drive through Kurrajong heights. Kurrajong is the aboriginal name for ‘shade tree’, which grew in abundance in the town. From Kurrajong Heights, you can see the orchards, the beautiful rolling green hills intermingled with the rugged bush covered rocks and views of the Grose Valley. It was sunny and even more beautiful as autumn season was setting in. 
Apple Farm

Shields orchard
Aryan having fun

Catch one

Our first stop was The Bilpin Fruit Bowl, one of the numerous charming coffee stops featuring homemade apple pies, jams, local honey, Bilpin Apple Juice and Apple Cider Vinegar. We had our breakfast and discovered that the apple-picking season is almost over and only one orchard is still open. We rushed to Shields orchard to try our luck. To our disappointment apple picking was only allowed through pre-booking , which we obviously did not have. It was just than our luck turned and a family called up for last minute cancellation, allowed us a slot.

Humming Bird

Humming Bird
Shields is a large orchard with mainly three types of apples Royal Gala, Pink Lady and Granny Smith. One of the orchard employee explained us the map of the orchard and gave us the directions to find different type of apples. This was end of the season, so we really don't have to worry a lot about picking the ripened fruit. Most of apples were ready to be picked. We spent couple of hours selecting and picking plenty of apples. The apples were good, definitely tested much more fresh and juicy than our local supermarket. My son tested an apple and said ‘it is really fresh as if I have just picked it from tree’ and we all laughed. He has actually just picked the apple. The orchard was also the home of lots of beautiful humming birds, lorikeets and singing bellbirds.

While coming back from shields orchard, we stopped at a place called Tutti Fruitti, famous for its real-fruit ice creams. If you happen to drive through this area, don't miss out the Tutti Fruitti ice cream of this place. The ice cream is freshly made with fresh fruits, picked the same morning and blended with berries of your choice.

Overall, it was a great day out and a good fun with kids. I will highly recommend visiting Kurrjong Heights and Bilpin.