The historic settlement of Hartley is a well-preserved site of colonial-era buildings, including the Greek Revival-styled Courthouse, which once collected bushrangers, convicts and cattle thieves. You’ll find Hartley between Mount Victoria and Lithgow, on the highway that descends from the Blue Mountains.
Stop at the visitor centre at the Hartley Historic Site to find out about the history of the buildings. The Courthouse is open for self-guided tours from Tuesday to Sunday. Take a tour of the cells, artefacts and family histories collected within the heavy sandstone. If the walls could speak, they would tell fascinating tales.
Built in 1846, St Bernard’s Church is a fine example of colonial sandstone architecture. Take a tour of the church and explore lovingly maintained gardens. For a romantic getaway, you can also enjoy a stay at the deluxe St Bernard’s Presbytery cottage. This beautifully restored accommodation looks over Hartley village.
Another highlight of Hartley Vale is the Comet Inn, one of the Historic Highway Inns built during the mining heyday around 1879 and now a handsome guesthouse with a licensed restaurant. For something sweet, stop at The Lolly Bug on the highway at Little Hartley and choose from more than 1,500 types of confectionary.
The scenic 8km route between Mount York and Hartley Vale is one of the state’s classic bushwalking trails. From Mount York, accessible by road from Mount Victoria township, the track partially follows the original route of the road cut from the Blue Mountains down to the Western Plains, with many historic reminders along the way.
The River Walk begins near Corney's Garage and follows the rocky slopes of the hillside as it drops towards the Lett River, passing the remains of Rowson’s Hut before returning to the village. The walk incorporates a 200 metre boardwalk constructed largely from recycled materials and the river gully is home to a platypus colony.