A Blue Mountains break

When a holiday rental’s promotional material features pictures of pups enjoying the property, it’s a safe bet your dog is in for a warm welcome.

Sure enough, on arrival at Secret Garden Cottage in Katoomba we found an indoor dog bed, a jar of treats and even a doggie guest book detailing local walks and activities for four-legged visitors.

Harry gives Secret Garden the sniff of approval.

Harry gives Secret Garden the sniff of approval.

Tucked away on a quiet residential street, the cottage is a 10-minute walk from the centre of Katoomba, on the other side of the highway. It’s warm and cosy with an open log fire, comfortable beds and a decadently deep claw foot bath tub.

Harry enjoys a winter warmer.

A winter warmer.

Secret Garden is well-supplied for a winter break, with board games, books and an extensive DVD and CD collection. There was even a “pet calm” CD with music to relax your animal. We gave it a whirl but it didn’t seem to have much of an effect upon Harry – I think he’s more of a jazz man.

The highlight of our stay was definitely the cottage’s namesake: its stunning garden. Harry loved exploring the pathways, losing himself in the scents of the shrubbery, and I was just as happy sitting in the sun with a cup of tea and watching him. It’s peaceful and private and the perfect antidote to city living.

Taking in the country air.

Taking in the country air.

Out and about we found lots of cafes with outdoor seating where you can dine with your dog. If you want to indulge in some retail therapy, the Leura Doggie Store is dedicated to luxury goods.

As dogs are not permitted in Australian national parks, walking options in the Blue Mountains are limited. We consulted the guide at the cottage and found several dog-friendly bush walks listed, backed up by some recommendations from previous guests in the visitor’s book.

The walk to Minnehaha Falls, a few minutes’ drive north of Katoomba (access at the end of Minni-Ha-Ha Road) is a scenic path through bushland and dogs on leash are allowed. It’s not an easy walk, with some pretty big steps for smaller dogs to negotiate. There were also a few dramatic cliff drops, which made us thankful Harry was safely on-leash. We ventured far enough to glimpse the falls, about a one-hour return trip.

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

Over in Wentworth Falls, dogs on leash are permitted on the Charles Darwin walk, which follows Jamison Creek – and the footsteps of the famed naturalist.

The path starts from Wilson Park on Falls Road and eventually leads to Wentworth Falls. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it this far as the second half of the track is in national park (signs alert you to the fact). It’s worth noting that the boardwalk sections weren’t ideal for Harry, who kept losing his footing in the wide gaps. Anyone with a larger dog might also struggle with a set of steep metal steps near the beginning of the walk. Harry had to be carried down and I can’t see that working out so well if you have, say, a Great Dane.

The Blue Mountains might not be the best spot if you’re looking for lots of outdoor adventures with your dog. But for older dogs like Harry, who are happiest pottering around the garden or curled up in front of a fire (Him Indoors seemed content with these options too) Secret Garden Cottage makes a perfect getaway.

Round and round the garden.

Round and round the garden.

For more information go to www.secretgarden-cottage.com.au

The view from ... the car. Sadly for us, no dogs allowed in the national park.

The view from … the car. Sadly for us, no dogs allowed in the national park.

11 thoughts on “A Blue Mountains break

  1. Samantha Luc

    love your blog so much ! 🙂 and hope you will continue to update it more often as i love finding out new spaces to bring our fur babies 🙂 and i love harry too he’s too adorable.

    I found a link which shows all the dog friendly walks in blue mountains – perhaps you may find this useful?


    i will probably will explore these in the near future so would keep you updated if you are interested!

    ill be meeting the dog i intend to adopt today.. wish me luck!

    p.s love your blog 🙂

  2. Sydney Dog Post author

    Thanks Samantha. Harry was quite sick for a lot of last year but we are hoping to get out and about again soon. We’ll check out those walks next time we’re in the mountains 🙂

    1. Kelly

      This is so sad to hear. Thinking of Harry and sending him get well wishes and hoping for as much joy as possible to brighten up his days. I’ve followed his adventures since you started this blog and I love Harry’s photos and really enjoy your writing.

    2. Karma

      I came across your blog a month ago while looking for dog friendly places to socialise my fearful and timid rescue chihuahua. My dog sounds just like Harry! He wasn’t socialised much and was picked on by other dogs. He is the quietest dog that sometimes I will call him as I don’t know where he is only to find he is right behind my heel. He rarely barks or growls but will whine a lot when left alone and follows me around everywhere like a shadow. He is fearful of strangers approaching him too and will nip them like a silent cobra if they come too close.

      Was catching up on your blog to see the progress Harry has made to give me some ideas to help my dog be more confident only to see the blog has not been updated for over a year. Came to the comments and read the above message. I’m so sad to hear that and I hope Harry gets well soon as I would love to continue reading all about his adventures! Your writing style is witty and endearing and I love reading your blog. The pet store post was hilarious! I’m in the middle of hopefully trying to find a toy or chew thing that will keep my dog occupied for more than 5-10 minutes as I’m having trouble with him entertaining himself instead of stalking me when I need to get chores done 🙁 Stuffed kongs don’t even work.

      I hope all is well with you and Harry!

      1. Sydney Dog Post author

        Thanks for your kind message – we have been out and about lately and will be posting about our adventures soon. I hope your pooch is getting on okay. Just a thought with keeping him entertained: you can buy plastic balls with holes in (from Petbarn I think) then you fill with biscuits and it keeps the dogs entertained for ages as they roll it around to make the biscuits drop out. Harry used to love that one. 🙂

  3. Mitchel

    Took our Jack Russell pup to Katoomba after reading this post, and we all had a blast! Just like with kids, it’s fun to get everyone out to the country once in a while.

    There’s an oval open for dogs at Katoomba Falls Reserve where she made a few friends (including a Great Dane pup 20 times her size), and she loved splashing in the creek there as well. (Note that there are two ovals there – one permits dogs and one does not. Signage is pretty good, but they are of course quite large so be sure to check.)

    Great place to to take a road trip with your pooch!

  4. Paws Permitted

    Really would like to try this with my pup, I know Blue Mountains isn’t the most dog-friendly as its under national park but seems like you guys had a blast!

    We’re a social campaign that encourage the integration of dogs into public spaces more specifically for businesses, shops and public facilities to adopt an open door policy to dogs (similar to that of Europe). Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think Aus should be more dog-friendly? Why so (or why not)? Under what circumstances? Let us know! or we’d love to see a blogpost about this 🙂

    You can find more information @ http://www.facebook.com/pawspermitted http://www.pawspermitted.wordpress.com http://www.twitter.com/pawspermitted Thanks guys!

  5. Rebecca

    We are currently in the blue mountains with our dog, thank you for your tips, we are off for a walk to Minnehaha falls today. Love the photos of Harry too, what a cute little dog!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *