The Botanists Way touring route links the Hawkesbury Valley and Lithgow along the Bells Line of Road and is a great way to discover the botanical attractions of the area.
Part of the larger Greater Blue Mountains Drive, The Botanists Way crosses the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with spectacular wilderness on both sides of the car.
You can drive the 90 km between the Hawkesbury and Lithgow in less than an hour and a half, but a whole day or even several days will never be enough to explore all the sights and experiences along the way.
The Botanists Way commemorates botanist-explorer George Caley's 1804 journey from the Nepean River to Mount Banks. It was an arduous trip along the northern side of the Grose Valley, during which Caley collected 31 new plants to report to his mentor Sir Joseph Banks. Many other botanists have since left their mark in unravelling the natural history of the area, including Allan Cunningham, Caroline Atkinson and Ernest Constable.
Long before white scientists came along, the Darug and Gundungurra people thrived on an intimate knowledge of local plants, their habits and their benefits. They regularly travelled the ridgeline across the mountains which the Botanists Way now follows, for trade and cultural purposes. It was two Darug men, Cogy and Emery, who showed young settler Archibald Bell the ancient pathway.
The Botanists Way links together a string of botanical attractions. Most notable are Mount Tomah Botanic Garden and the native forests and gardens of Mount Wilson, but a host of other sites like Mount Banks and Burralow Creek also reveal the botanical riches of the area.