Drive back towards Sydney today via Mount Wilson, a stunning village of gardens where a portion of Baz Luhrmann's Hollywood epic, The Great Gatsby was filmed. Stretch your legs among rare and exotic plants in Windyridge Garden or the larger Wildenstein Gardens (both offer morning tea, too). Then, follow Bells Line of Road to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, home to cool-climate plants from around the world. The on-site Tomah Gardens Restaurant is a best-kept secret, quietly run by Sydney's most reluctant celebrity chef, Sean Moran (of Seans Panaroma restaurant at Bondi Beach). Expect silky handmade pasta, seasonal ingredients and a view to be remembered.
Next stop is Bilpin, a small town famous for its apples. You'll know when you're close, because hand-painted signs will start appearing on each side of the road, advertising freshly picked apples and local honey. Look out for a sign pointing out The Local Harvest. Housed in a corrugated shed, this little shop stocks the region's most-loved apple pies, baked fresh each day with local apples. Between January and June you can also stop around Bilpin to pick your own fruit, and not just apples, but walnuts, chestnuts, mandarins, artichokes, persimmons, peaches, strawberries and blueberries (again, just look for the hand-painted signs). It's an easy 90 minute drive back to Sydney's centre from here, but take your time. Bilpin is full of enchanting accommodation options, such as the Love Cabins, which overlook mountain rainforest wilderness, and stylish gourmet escape Farm Panaroma, and there are several great spots to eat, serving (you guessed it) local produce.