Set halfway between Mt Victoria and Lithgow, and just before the turn off to Jenolan Caves on the Western side of the Blue Mountains, the historic Hartley village is a well-preserved reminder of 19th century rural Australia. One of the first settlements in the area, there are 17 buildings to explore and the oldest, the extravagant sandstone Greek Revival Courthouse built in 1837, once sentenced thieves, robbers and convicts in its heyday now acts as a museum. Nowadays the village is ghostly quiet, and more often than not you can have the place to yourself and your thoughts with only the rumble of traffic rushing by on the Great Western Highway. Recently a revitalisation project was established and already two businesses have moved in – The Talisman Gallery and The Old Hartley Post Office Cafe. The latter is where you’ll find simple homestyle meals and snacks and a Devonshire Tea like your Nanna would make. The cafe occupies the old post office, which is beautifully restored and offers cosy indoor and sunny outdoor seating on the front verandah. The scones are the winners, small but soft with a creamy texture. The strawberry jam is average and although the cream is freshly whipped its super duper light especially noticeable if you prefer your cream more towards the clotted cream end of the spectrum. The cafe is open Friday to Sunday and for guided tours of the courthouse contact National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Tea: A small selection of tea bags served in a good-sized pot.
Overall: A step back in time.
Location: Hartley Historic Village, Old Bathurst Rd, Hartley NSW 2790 Ph: 0413 380 712
Reviewed May, 2014