Sleeping with the Past

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In the mid-19th century, the village of Hartley, just beyond the winding descent of Victoria Pass, was the most significant administrative centre west of the Blue Mountains, its stately Courthouse a symbol of its importance in the colonial judicial system. Perfectly preserved and looking like a ready-made film set, this quaint little collection of cottages and churches is today managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, with a self-guided tour and interpretive signage bringing history to life.

For a small fee, you can also gain access to the Courthouse and St Bernard’s Church, with the history of the settlement and the story of the convicts held in the cells told through audio-visual presentations and a cool hologram experience.

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Other attractions include Talisman, a working blacksmith’s gallery located on the hill behind the village, and an Aboriginal art gallery, located in the Visitor Centre; while there are a number of beautiful walks through the village and along River Lett.

To fully immerse yourself in the romance of yesteryear, however, you can sleep with the past at two of Hartley’s original 17 cottages, both fully renovated and decorated with period furniture. Old Trahlee, built as a home for the Finn family in 1846 and named after the family’s Irish hometown, has three bedrooms and sleeps up to six people, making it ideal for a family visit; while St Bernard’s Presbytery, built to accommodate priests in the late 1850s, has two bedrooms and is perfect for a romantic couples’ getaway. You can cook up a feast in the fully-equipped kitchen, cosy up on the Chesterfield lounge, or relax in a spa bath before retiring to your very own four-poster bed.

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Meanwhile, in the goldrush town of Hill End, there are a number of historic places to stay, allowing visitors the luxury of exploring the fascinating site at their leisure. The handsome Post Office Residence has three bedrooms and sleeps six people; while the adjoining Stables has a loft bedroom upstairs and sleeps two adults. The wattle and daub Hill End Pines Cottage  is perfect for small groups; while larger groups can book out Hosies, a beautifully-renovated c1870 former haberdashery that now sleeps up to 12 people. Sydney Hotel Cottage is located in the  former hotel and has two-bedrooms; while the one-bedroom apartment Northeys is upstairs in the most iconic building in town.

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Start your exploration of this fascinating gold town at the Hill End Heritage Centre, where an interactive museum brings the stories and characters of the town’s lively past to life through screen projections and historic artefacts. Then, join a tour of historic Craigmoor House, or try your luck gold panning at the Fossicking Ground. Guided tours of Bald Hill Tourist Mine – an original 1870s mine shaft – are also available.

For a full list of activities and accommodation options at Hill End, visit www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/hill-end-historic-site; or for Hartley Historic Village, visit www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/hartley-historic-site

**SPECIAL OFFER**

25% off midweek accommodation at Hartley Historic Village and Hill End

Book now with promo code MIDWEEK to save 25% when you stay Monday to Thursday. Valid for new online bookings for stays 21 April – 16 September 2021.

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