Fruit picking & farm stays in the Hawkesbury

Just 90 minutes north of Sydney, the Hawkesbury offers a lovely slice of country life. Find farms where you can stay the night with alpacas and goats as neighbours, or where having a snack means picking fruit straight from the tree in a lush orchard.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Apr 2024 -
min read

Best for seasonal fruits: Pine Crest Orchard 

The owners of this Bilpin orchard raised their seven children surrounded by trees laden with stone fruit, apples, pears and persimmons. Your little ones will love the landscape just as much as its long-time residents, who generously give guests free reign in the property’s many lush groves. There’s no entrance fee, you just pay for what you pick, whether that’s blood-red plums in January, golden delicious apples in February, berries around March, pink lady apples in May or peaches over summer. 

Best for apples: Shields Orchard

Crisp, sweet apples from the Hawkesbury are some of Australia’s best, and their flavour seems more fragrant when plucked from the branch. Head to this pretty orchard, also in Bilpin, during apple harvest to do just that. With 12 varieties each ripening at different times, you can usually start picking Royal Gala from February and carry on until the last of the Sundowners arrive in May. You’ll need to book but there’s no entry charge, you simply pay for what you pick. 

Family enjoying a day of apple picking at Shields Orchard, Bilpin

Family enjoying a day of apple picking at Shields Orchard, Bilpin

Best for fresh eggs and veggies: Bilpin Country Lodge 

With space for 20 guests, this sprawling estate is a gateway to the many fruit and nut orchards that characterise the Hawkesbury. Wander two minutes down the road to pick your own apples at Bilpin Springs Orchard. Or jump in the car for the five-minute drive to Bilpin Fruit Bowl, where, in addition to plucking fruit and berries, visitors are encouraged to roam the 1.6 hectares of veggie gardens and gather fresh produce. The beauty of staying at the lodge is that you have a communal kitchen at your disposal to whip up a feast when you return. Start the day right with eggs collected from the chook pen – send the kids out to find the hens – then get to know other resident animals, Charlie Brown the Shetland pony, Fudge the goat and Denton the alpaca. 

Bilpin Country Lodge, Bilpin

Bilpin Country Lodge, Bilpin - Credit: Bilpin Country Lodge

Best for citrus: Watkins Family Farm

The Watkins of Wisemans Ferry in the Hawkesbury have been in the citrus business for well over a century. Rows upon rows of fruit trees await, promising an abundance of mandarins, grapefruits, cumquats, limes and lemons. In the winter months, come along on weekends and holidays to pocket plump and juicy mandarins of the Satsuma, Imperial and Emperor varieties to Pick Your Own (PYO) for just $10 per bucket. 

 Oranges growing on the farm at Watkins Family Farm, Laughtondale

Watkins Family Farm, Laughtondale

Best for alpacas: Madison's Mountain Retreat

You can holiday with your dog when you check in to Madison’s, bordering the Wollemi and Blue Mountains national parks. Be warned that you might want to leave with an extra animal in tow – the farm stay’s alpacas are that adorable. Spas are a drawcard in three of the self-contained cottages, but the real attraction for families are the two converted train carriages, each with space to sleep five. Not that you’ll want to spend much time inside, with eggs to collect at sunrise, the daily handfeeding of hay to the alpacas and getting your kids cooking local produce on the barbecues. 

Best for persimmons and tomatoes: TNT Produce 

The perfect day out for couples, friends, families and groups of all sizes, picking your own produce at TNT offers plenty of delicious rewards. Pick fresh tomatoes from the vine (May), sweet and crunchy persimmons (April to June), pink lady apples (January to June) and more depending on the season – and stop by the store for Bilpin honey, Bilpin apple juice, local jams, oils, olives and more. 

Couple picking apples in the orchard at TNT Produce, Richmond

TNT Produce, Richmond - Credit: Hawkesbury City Council

Best for sipping on cider: Hillbilly Cider Shed & Bilpin Cider Co 

The Hawkesbury is home to not one, but two, excellent cideries. Heading up the Bells Line of Road, your first stop is the rustic Hillbilly Cider Shed to order a tasting paddle of their award-winning apple and pear ciders made using local fruit. In the cooler months, cosy up to a log fire overlooking the expansive grassy area and orchard, and be sure to take home a “growler” of your favourite pour. Just a two-minute drive away, Bilpin Cider Co needs little introduction, with its fizzy ferments sold across the country. At the cellar door, you can try all 12 beverages in the portfolio, and then take a stroll around the apple orchard, where friendly sheep and alpaca roam. 

Best for a romantic farm stay: Blueberry Hills On Comleroy 

Enter pastoral paradise with your very own cottage on a working blueberry farm. This award-winning farm stay offers beautifully furnished rooms and cottages with balconies that overlook the farm. Watch the sheep, alpacas, chickens and cows grazing in the surrounding paddocks, collect fresh eggs for breakfast, pick your own blueberries during the summer season or just sit back and relax in the outdoor hot tub.    

Credit: Blueberry Hills on Comleroy

Sunrise by the spa at Blueberry Hills on Comleroy - Credit: Blueberry Hills On Comleroy

Best for horse riding: Eden Farm Escape 

Dog, horse and child friendly, this ravishing estate looks like it has slipped from the pages of a design magazine – right down to the stylish equine art in the five self-contained cottages. The property’s stables are home to 12 glossy-maned horses and ponies, with rides and lessons available, on request, across the grounds and down to the dam (a great place to cool off in summer). Wandering the fields and enclosures, you’ll also find donkeys, pigs, alpacas and a noisy brood of chickens, who lay eggs daily in their whimsically named Cluckingham Palace. 

More articles by theme


You may also like...