Op Shops & Antique Stores in the Lower Mountains Helping to Create a Sustainable Community

Robyn Kirkland, owner of ‘At Robyn’s Nest’ in Warrimoo – a little store full of antiques, gifts and collectables including her current favourite item, a ‘tall artistic articulating giraffe’.   

Story and photos by Julie Nance

Op shops, antique stores and other secondhand sellers in the Lower Blue Mountains offer an eclectic mix of practical, fun and rare pre-loved items. We took a tour of the treasure troves helping to boost the circular economy. From a unicycle to an 1800s sailing ship lamp, there is something for everyone! Learn where to go, what’s on offer and how you can reduce waste by donating your own gear. 

Jump to a section:

  1. Interactive Map
  2. Charitable Op Shops
  3. Antiques & Collectables
  4. Secondhand Bookshop
  5. Free Stuff
  6. Donating Sustainably
  7. Check Out Katoomba Secondhand Shops

1. Interactive Map

Hover over the map (or click on mobile) to see details of each store. Click here to view the map full screen.

2. Charitable Op Shops

Vinnies Blaxland Shop

karen hurtado at Vinnies Blaxland

Karen Hurtado, staff member at Vinnies Blaxland who enjoys sharing her love of fashion and styling. 

Address: 132A Great Western Hwy, Blaxland   

Open hours: Mon – Sat 9am-4pm; Sun closed

Contact (02) 4739 8402

Website: https://www.vinnies.org.au/nsw/shops/blaxland

What’s for sale: 

This is a fabulous shop overflowing with secondhand bric-a-brac, books, toys, jewellery, clothing and accessories, DVDs, CDs, magazines, kitchenware, household items, linen, curtains, sporting goods and more. By shopping at Vinnies, you’re helping the Society continue its good works including providing homeless services for men, women and families; support for those living with mental illness; employment services for people with intellectual and other disabilities; budget counselling; and youth programs.

inside vinnies blaxland

Select from a large array of pre-loved goods.      

Favourite item:

Karen Hurtado: “I love fashion, so I enjoy presenting nice clothes on the mannequins. I like that the shop is here for everyone and by reusing, we are helping the planet.”

Getting there: 

On the Great Western Highway, a few doors up from the petrol station. If you don’t score a park out the front, there’s a carpark at the rear of the shop. Walk up to the shopfronts via a small lane. 

How to donate goods: 

You can place your goods in the donation bins at the rear of the store in the carpark. If items aren’t suitable for the bins, you can donate items in store during trading hours. Leaving donations outside the shop can lead to weather damage, meaning they can’t be sold and will be sent to landfill.

There’s quite a few things Vinnies won’t accept including electrical items, furniture, cots and cot mattresses, bikes, baby prams and booster seats. Please don’t donate anything ripped, torn, stained, broken, cracked or unusable.

Volunteering:

Share your skills, develop new ones and make new friends. Ask about volunteering when you are in a Vinnies store or email: retailvolunteering@vinnies.org.au or visit  www.vinnies.org.au/shopvolunteernsw

Rotary Recycles Op Shop

Rotary Recycles Op Shop, blaxland

There’s a great atmosphere at the Rotary Recycles Op Shop, and a lot to choose from.

Address: 3/156 Great Western Hwy, Blaxland

Open hours: Mon – Fri 10am-4pm; Sat 9am-1pm; Sun closed

Contact: Manager Pamela on 0447 778 870

What’s for sale: 

This social enterprise is a project of the Lower Blue Mountains Rotary Club, run by a close-knit group of Rotary and community volunteers. Proceeds support a wide range of youth, community and international projects. There’s an abundance of pre-loved clothes, knick-knacks, kitchenware, framed pictures, games, yarn, fabric, DVDs and small electrical goods, all tested and tagged by a local, volunteer electrician.

Favourite item:

Volunteer Diane Greenaway: “A small platter with a peacock is aesthetically pleasing and is a little bit different from the other stuff we have here at the moment.”   

Volunteer Lois Gasking: “I particularly like a set of beautiful plates that would be perfect for a high tea.”

rotary recycles op shop volunteers

Op Shop volunteers Diane and Lois show off their favourite items for sale. 

Getting there: 

Located on the Great Western Highway, near the corner of View Street, Blaxland. There’s a little carpark at the rear of the shop as you turn the corner into View St, handy for dropping off items or loading bigger items into your car.  

How to donate goods: 

Donate items within business hours or place them in the basket at the back door. Avoid leaving goods outside the basket as they risk ending up at the tip if they are ruined. The shop doesn’t accept furniture, large electrical items, toys or babies’ clothes.  

Volunteering:

If you’d like to lend a hand and have fun in the process, contact Manager Pamela on 0447 778 870.

Find out more:

Read about Rotary’s green initiatives: Lower Blue Mountains Rotary: Modelling a Path to Zero Waste.

3. Antiques & Collectables

Whimsical Notions Antiques

whimsical notions antique store

Don’t forget to look out the back when you visit this fascinating trip down memory lane.

Address: 293 Great Western Highway, Warrimoo

Open hours: Thursday to Sunday 9am-4pm

Contact:  P: 02 4753 7700   M: 0411 332 537

Email: whimsicalnotions1@gmail.com    

Website: www.whimsicalnotionsantiques.com

What’s for sale: 

This little store is packed full of Victorian, Georgian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and retro furniture, collectables and gifts. The website lists many of the items for sale and some prices. At the time of writing furniture included church pews and a retro rocking chair as well as pottery and ceramics, lighting, glassware, garagenalia (e.g. motor oil tins), tools (e.g. Japanese Fireman’s Axe and carpenter’s saw), radios and more. The website also includes ‘recent additions’ including a Sydney Harbour Bridge Walker’s Certificate signed on the grand structure’s 19 March 1932 opening.

Gordon Rodgers opened the shop 30 years ago and says you can buy items from $1 up to several thousand dollars. “Many people don’t realise we also have an area out the back with plenty more goods on sale. It’s always worth having a chat as you may end up with something free!” 

Favourite item:

Gordon: “I’m fond of a late 1800s masthead lamp off a sailing ship – the size of it for one thing as they are usually a lot smaller. The only other one I’ve seen is in America on ‘1stDibs’ for $3,000.”

inside whimsical notions antiques

Gordon with the ship masthead lamp selling for $2,000, with a bargain $50 dressing table and small items below it.

Getting there: 

Turn off the Great Western Highway onto the slip road where there is street parking. It’s located just up from Monte Italia restaurant. 

Can you trade in your secondhand goods here?

Gordon: “Yes, we’ll trade in virtually anything.”

At Robyn’s Nest 

robyns nest antiques

The store’s owner Robyn Kirkland took out a 2023 Blue Mountains Local Business Award for antiques and gift shops.  

Address: 282 Great Western Hwy, Warrimoo

Open hours: Friday, Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday 10am-2.30pm  

Contact:  (02) 4753 7786

Email: atrobynsnest@hotmail.com

What’s for sale: 

At this quirky little antique, gift and collectables shop you’ll find everything you didn’t think you needed and practical items thrown into the mix. When I visited there was a vintage wicker peacock chair, a 1950s glass cabinet, vintage toys, ornaments of all shapes and sizes, interesting lights, pictures and a book area where customers have been known to relax and read.

Robyn Kirkland has owned the shop for 19 years and says people come from everywhere to find “something quirky, a little bit different”. She says: “I try to source items that aren’t generally found elsewhere, and they are priced to sell, suiting the average person.”

There doesn’t appear to be any rivalry between Robyn and Gordon up the road. “He’s a great mate. We had dinner last night,” Robyn declares. Both Robyn and Gordon have helped locals after bushfires who have lost everything, giving them free furniture and household items.   

inside robyns nest antiques

The shop has three rooms and a garage full of interesting items and furniture. There’s a large turn-over of stock.

Favourite item:

Robyn: “I love the tall artistic articulating giraffe – I think he’s rather beautiful. I’m quite arty and realise arty things aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.”

Getting there: 

Turn off the Great Western Highway onto the slip road where there is street parking. It’s located next to Murray’s Porters Liquor, not far from Warrimoo General Store and Post Office.   

Can you trade in your secondhand goods here?

Robyn: Yes, people can bring goods in or email me to see if I’m interested.” 

4. Second-Hand Bookshop

Blue Dragon Books

blue dragon book shop

What’s on the shelves is only a fraction of the books available, including online.   

Address: Shop C, 11 Ross St, Glenbrook

Open hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 9.30am-3pm; Sun 10am-2pm

Contact:  (02) 4739 2466

Email: bluedragonbooks@aapt.net.au

Website: www.bluedragonbooks.com.au

What’s for sale: 

Discover rare books, best sellers and everything in between at this wonderful shop opened by Mark and Diane O’Neill 16 years ago. It boasts thousands of titles, with an enormous stockpile of extra books in storage from which they add to the shelves every day. You can also shop online.

Mark says they have a wide cross-section of genres and categories including fiction, children’s fiction, non-fiction etc. 

Favourite items:

Mark: “Lately we’ve been buying thousands of classic sci-fi books from the 60s and 70s, selling them in the shop and online. These books were not reprinted, and you don’t get that sort of artwork on covers anymore. We also have another massive collection of bird books collected by a late 70-year-old gentleman. They go back 100 years!” 

mark o-neill at blue dragon books

Mark with books from the bird and classic sci-fi collections.

Getting there: Located at the back of the arcade, directly across from the carpark entrance.  

Can you trade in your secondhand goods here?

The shop deals in quality second-hand books of all genres and categories. Mark says they are always short of certain categories of books including philosophy, classics and literature. “People don’t want to part with them and end up keeping them forever,” he says.

The store’s website explains the trade approach: “We have a credit system whereby books that a customer brings in that we wish to buy, we create a store credit to be used against future purchases of secondhand books. We do not buy any books on Sundays. Condition is very important; we preferably only stock books which have no age spotting and are not overly creased and worn. This especially applies to fiction, unless it is a classic or hard to get and out of print. We will pay cash for large collections, depending on what we have in stock and in storage.”

5. Free stuff 

Blaxland Resource Recovery and Waste Management Facility

blaxland reuse shed

Fancy a unicycle, surfboard or games? There’s an ever-changing array of free goods on offer at the Reuse Shed.

Address: 28-30 Attunga Rd, Blaxland

Open hours: 8.00am-4.45pm, 7 days a week

Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day

Contact: (02) 4780 5000

Website: www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/facility-drop-off/blaxland-resource-recovery-and-waste-management-facility

What’s on offer?

For almost 12 years the Reuse Shed has been offering an abundance of free goodies including furniture, books, toys, household items, sporting goods and more. When I visited the loot included a surfboard, golf clubs, fish tank, set of 8 dining chairs, lounges, office chairs, a large office desk, games, a basketball hoop and net, and a TV unit.   

Favourite item:

As it is a help yourself approach at the Reuse Shed, I’ll nominate the unicycle as my favourite. I didn’t dare give it a test-run.       

Getting there: 

The Facility is located on Attunga Rd, Blaxland. To browse the Reuse Shed or to bring in items, arrive at least 15 minutes prior to closing time and wear closed footwear. 

Bringing in items 

The Fees & Charges 2023/2024 factsheet on the Facility’s website is a helpful guide.

Council staff rescue items from landfill and place them in the Reuse Shed for the community to take away for free. Regular disposal fees apply, so try to give your items away via online community groups or check with your local charity store before disposal at Resource Recovery and Waste Management Facilities. The following are accepted free of charge if they are source separated/sorted and uncontaminated: Household recyclables including paper; glass containers etc.; scrap metal including car bodies; e-waste such as TVs, desktop computers and printers; white goods e.g. stoves and refrigerators; expanded polystyrene; X-rays & PP5 plant pots. Households in the Blue Mountains community can book in to have a Kerbside Pick Up for certain items. Check https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/BookedWasteService

The facility also has a Textile Recovery Bin where you can drop off clothes and accessories such as belts, hats and shoes. You can also donate home and outdoor soft furnishings, towels, sheets, cushions and soft toys. 

blaxland textile recycling

The Textile Recovery Bin, located not far from the Reuse Shed.

Find out more

Read about the innovations happening at the Blaxland Resource Recovery and Waste Management Facility: Turning Tonnes of Trash into Treasure.

6. Donating sustainably

  • Secondhand stores don’t accept anything broken, stained, soiled, torn, wet or unusable, or used underwear or socks. The Vinnies website explains it well: “If you’d give it to a mate, it’s perfect to donate! If you wouldn’t buy it yourself or gift it to a friend, don’t expect others will.” 
  • Take donated items in during business hours. Avoid leaving items out where weather can wet or damage them. 
  • Know what stores take what. Avoid donating indiscriminately. If unsure, and for non-standard items, try calling. 
  • Take unsaleable items including textiles to the Blaxland Resource Recovery and Waste Management Facility.

7. Katoomba’s op-shops & second-hand shops

Visit: 

Katoomba’s Boom in Secondhand Shops

Katoomba Op Shops & Antique Stores Driving the Circular Economy

This story has been produced as part of a Bioregional Collaboration for Planetary Health and is supported by the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF). The DRRF is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.


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About Julie Nance

Julie Nance is a community storyteller with the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative. In her coverage of the Lower Mountains area, she brings 30 years’ experience in communications, publishing and journalism. After specialising in health and social issues as a journalist, Julie led creative teams in the government and not-for-profit sectors including the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, YMCA NSW, Cancer Council NSW and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Julie is passionate about empowering people with quality information to help them make informed choices.

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