For a peaceful escape from Sydney city life, the Hawkesbury provides the ideal tranquil getaway. Nestled between the Blue Mountains and Wollemi National Parks, the Hawkesbury is dotted with remote riverside villages and flanked by five rivers, The Nepean, Hawkesbury, Grose, Macdonald and Colo. The area is known for its farms and wineries, exquisite natural beauty and charming bed and breakfasts, as well as its plentiful outdoor activities and walks. The Hawkesbury is one of the earliest colonial settlements in Australia, and this history gives the area plenty more to offer aside from its incredible scenery and natural farmland. Explore the historic villages of Windsor, Wiseman’s Ferry or Richmond for a retrospective tour of some of Australia’s oldest settlements with original buildings from that era still surviving. You can even join Australia’s last River Boat Postman as he cruises the Hawkesbury River from Brooklyn, delivering mail to the river-access-only settlements.

Several other cruises operate along the Hawkesbury, and if you’re feeling adventurous there are several spots where you can hire a boat to explore the river yourself. Spend the day fishing, stop to take a dip near one of the many isolated islands, or hire a BBQ boat and have a picnic surrounded by the towering gorges and peaceful waters. For a longer time cruising the rivers, hire a houseboat for a few days and anchor at a different spot every night, enjoying the different sights along the Valley. Small clusters of cafes and restaurants operate at different spots along the Hawkesbury, and you can even stop at a little township like Windsor, take a walk along the quiet country roads and enjoy a milkshake or a beer with the locals at the pub. From the Hawkesbury Visitor’s Centre you can pick up a Hawkesbury Farm Gate Trail map and tour the area, stopping at different farms and orchards for fresh produce. Try a fancy cheese accompanied by a glass of wine from one of the historic wineries, or wander through the numerous orchards where you can pick your own fruit to take home and enjoy.

The outdoorsy and adventurous have just as much to enjoy in the Hawkesbury as those looking to relax and unwind. Hire a water ski and go for a ride down the river from Windsor to Wiseman’s Ferry. For a smoother glide, get in a kayak and cruise the waters at a slower pace, taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding nature. For more stimulating exercise try abseiling or canyoning, or for those more into bush-walking or rock-climbing, go for a hike along one of the many walking trails that weave through the Hawkesbury. Stroll through Wollemi National Park, Australia’s second largest, and the only place on Earth where the Wollemi Pine grows freely. Visit the glow worm tunnel, part of the old railway, for a superb display of luminescent larvae. Options for exploration are plentiful, with the Hawkesbury area enclosed by ten different national parks.


Copyright Xplore Sydney 2014

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