The worlds greatest treehouse? You decide...
Escape to Bilpin in the Blue Mountains for a getaway experience like no other.
There are a few things that happen to you when you sleep inside a house that’s built 12 metres off the ground. For one, you sway with the breeze to the tune of a thousand creaks and screeches of the branches around you, which is strangely comforting. Secondly, you wake naturally to the sunrise as it pierces through your window, unobscured and radiant. Blue Mountains local, Lionel Buckett, built The Treehouse. It’s set above the deep and spectacular Bowen’s Creek Gorge in Bilpin and in all respects is an architectural marvel that took more than a year to construct.
The Treehouse is one of a number of buildings on Buckett’s huge property, just 1.5 hours drive from Sydney. There are permanent tee-pees, a self-sustaining sandstone cottage with a secret loft, and soon, there will be a cave built into the bedrock, which is currently under construction. But The Treehouse is the jewel in his crown, and is one of the more unusual weekend getaway experiences possible.
Once you’ve climbed up the long ramp and ladder into this lovers’ nook high off the ground, it’s time to cosy up. A wood-burning stove warms the small room in winter, while in summer it’s a great idea take a beer onto the front balcony overlooking the gorge and watch the clouds drift over. Down the steep, craggy road there’s a creek with deep, clean swimming pools and soon, a steam room will be built. Native birds coo and call. It’s an oasis of nature and solitude.
Back in the treetops, a spa with enough room for two is tucked into one corner, a surprising sight for those whose only experiences of treehouses have been the backyard numbers banged together by dad back in the day. Soak in a puff of bubbles and take in the view – the bath is in the corner surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A large, comfy bed is covered in animal skins, locking in the warmth during cold winter evenings.
A small two-burner stove is all you need to cook up a simple meal using ingredients gathered from road-side produce stalls that dot the ascending Bells Line of Road. Farm-fresh herbs, fruit, vegetables and of course, crisp apples for which this area is known, are cheap and plentiful. The Local Harvest just near Apple Bar before the turnoff sells homemade flaky apple pies. Take one back to the city with you, you’ll find nothing quite as good back home......