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Spotlight on the Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury River, Wisemans FerryCREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun rising over the Hawkesbury River, Wisemans Ferry.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Spotlight on
the Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury River, Wisemans Ferry CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun rising over the Hawkesbury River, Wisemans Ferry.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Hashtags #newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Steeped in history, the Hawkesbury in New South Wales is picture-postcard perfect with its quaint villages, flourishing orchards, heritage trails, mountains and national parks, and, of course, the meandering Hawkesbury River. Less than an hour’s drive from Sydney, it’s home to the historic towns of Windsor and Richmond, the mountain villages of Kurrajong and Bilpin, and the riverside hamlet of Wisemans Ferry. The region’s diverse delights include farm-fresh produce and gourmet eats, outdoor and adventure activities, and all-inclusive retreats.  

Shine the spotlight on the Hawkesbury and you’ll find these highlights: 

  • Centuries-old sandstone cottages to dine in or stay overnight 
  • Remote bush hikes that lead to eye-opening valley lookouts 
  • Historic attractions that evoke NSW’s convict era 

Eat 

Whether you’re eating at a roadside stall or a riverside shed or dining at a historic cottage restaurant, it’s all about the Hawkesbury’s bountiful harvest. Martin Boetz, of Sydney restaurant Longrain fame, set up the Cooks Shed farm in Sackville to support sustainable agriculture projects and offers authentic paddock-to-plate special event dinners. In 2020, Bondi chef Sean Moran, who has a farm in the Hawkesbury, opened High Hopes Roadhouse in Bilpin, where he dishes up comforting classics with a seasonal twist.  

Nearby, in a historic 1825 cottage in Kurrajong Heights, Lochiel House offers atmospheric fine dining in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Feast on regional produce in the beautiful courtyard garden or enjoy dinner indoors by the open fire.  

Feast on fruit 

You can gather your own bounty of produce on the Hawkesbury Harvest Farm Gate Trail. Feast on seasonal delicacies and pick-your-own fruit from the region’s orchards. Apples are well-represented on the trail and you can stock up at farmgate stalls in season or enjoy them year-round at Bilpin Cider or Hillbilly Cider. You can also sample wines at Tizzana Winery and gin at Ironbark Distillery.  

Just down the road from High Hopes Roadhouse in Kurrajong Heights, Tutti Fruitti serves real-fruit ice cream and apple pies if you prefer your fruit already picked. The roadside landmark, a 40-minute drive from Windsor, has been a favourite stop on the foodie trail since 2004 and reopened in late 2020 in a new café space. 
 

Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights CREDIT: Destination NSW

Dish served at Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights made from locally sourced ingredients.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights CREDIT: Destination NSW

Dish served at Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights made from locally sourced ingredients.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Shields Orchard, Bilpin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Young girls enjoying a day of apple picking at Shields Orchard, Bilpin.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Shields Orchard, Bilpin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Young girls enjoying a day of apple picking at Shields Orchard, Bilpin.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Play 

A great way to travel down the river is on The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler, which recreates cruises of the 1800s when sailing ships and steamboats navigated the waterway. Alternatively, rent a kayak from Hawkesbury River Kayaks to explore the river’s inlets and small beaches. 

The Old Great North Road is one of just 11 Australian Convict Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The 9km walk offers a fascinating peek into the past, following in the footsteps of convict workers who carved out the road overlooking the Hawkesbury River. Don’t forget to download the Convict Road app to learn about the hardships of the convict builders as you hike along the trail through the rugged bushland of Dharug National Park

Fans of treetop adventures won’t want to miss the adrenalin-pumping Trees Adventure Grose River Park, where you swing, leap, climb and fly among the eucalyptus trees. There are 10 courses, 110 challenges and nearly 20 zip-lines. Families will also love Rouse Hill Estate, where kids can explore the farmyard and all its friendly chooks, cows, sheep and horses.  

Stay 

For a history-filled stay, try The Chapel at Ebenezer by James Rose Unique Accommodation, which is nestled in the beautiful gardens of a historic farmhouse estate. Eco-certified Spicers Sangoma Retreat is ideal for a luxury romantic getaway. Nestled in the lower reaches of the Blue Mountains, the all-inclusive resort is the perfect escape from busy lives. 

Set on four hectares of gardens, farm and bushland, Bilpin Country Lodge is fun for all the family. Kids can enjoy yabbying in the dam, canoeing and meeting all the farm animals.  

To end your holiday on a relaxing note, book in to Billabong Retreat at Maraylya, a 20-minute drive east of Windsor. A stay at this eco-retreat includes organic whole food, yoga, mindfulness and mediation. Accommodation options range from deluxe cabins and treehouse ensuite rooms to lodge and cottage rooms with shared bathroom rooms.  

The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler, Windsor CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler on the scenic Hawkesbury River, Windsor.

#ilovesydney

The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler, Windsor CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler on the scenic Hawkesbury River, Windsor.

#ilovesydney

Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Bowen Mountain CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a romantic night by the fireplace at Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Bowen Mountain.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Bowen Mountain CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a romantic night by the fireplace at Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Bowen Mountain.

#newsouthwales #ilovesydney

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