8 of the most Instagrammable places in the Hawkesbury

Camera or smartphone at the ready? From memorable lodgings to enchanting encounters with alpacas and horses, the Hawkesbury rides high with Instagram-worthy experiences. Here’s eight you shouldn’t miss.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Apr 2024 -
min read

Pool with a view: Spicers Sangoma Retreat 

Sunset, champagne and an infinity pool overlooking the Blue Mountains National Park – all the ingredients you need for a share-worthy photo. Keep your camera handy because that won’t be the only one: take a snap reclining on a sunlounge; fill your deep tub with bubbles and sneak a candlelit shot; warm your toes by the pot-belly fire, then click; book a wine, cheese and chocolate experience and put your food in focus. And that’s all before you head outside for private yoga and abseiling sessions. 

Spicers Sangoma Retreat - Bowen Mountain

Spicers Sangoma Retreat in Bowen Mountain

Falling for you: Bulcamatta Falls 

This waterfall doesn’t take home any world titles: it’s not the biggest, the tallest or the fastest flowing. But boy, it is beautiful and the fact you’ll likely have it all to yourself is even more appealing – minimal risk of photobombing. A short walk from the Burralow Creek campground through rainforest (the habitat of the endangered giant dragonfly), the falls tumble into a fern-laced grotto that could have been plucked straight from a fairytale. Sunlight streams in during the day and, at night, fireflies set the scene aglow. 

Bulcamatta Falls at Burralow Creek Campground, Blue Mountains

Bulcamatta Falls at Burralow Creek Campground, Blue Mountains - Credit: James Morris

Doe-eyed darlings: Madisons Mountain Retreat

Sloths aside, is there another animal on the planet quite as wide-eyed and gentle-natured as the alpaca? You’ll find 60 of these cuddly camelids roaming the green grounds of Madison’s Mountain Retreat, just waiting for their 2.45pm daily feed (in-house guests and external visitors welcome). This afternoon event sees the herd sauntering over to munch on hay directly from your hand, with the curious creatures often leaning in for a cheek nuzzle – post that on your Instagram page and see how many gushing comments you get. 

Doe-eyed darlings at Madison’s Mountain Retreat, Kurrajong Heights

Madison’s Mountain Retreat, Kurrajong Heights - Credit: Jonathan Cami

Flower power: Wildwood Garden 

In whatever season you visit Bilpin’s glorious Wildwood Garden, you’re guaranteed a flurry of Insta-worthy colour. Cherry blossoms dust the grounds with pastel pink in early spring – pose here, then in front of the fragrant daphne hedge and beside the waterfall. Autumn, meanwhile, is all about the fiery red, gold and orange of deciduous trees. And in between, expect camellias (600 varieties) and hydrangeas, roses and agapanthus. Just try and take a bad photo. 

Children enjoying a visit to Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin

The mane event: Hawkesbury Valley Equestrian Centre 

This family-owned and -operated equestrian centre is home to some of the happiest, not to mention handsomest, horses in the Hawkesbury – they’re so good-looking that they’ve starred in international blockbuster movies and TV shows. Visitors can book riding lessons or take the four-legged beauties out for a guided gallop through the countryside. Pass your camera over to someone with steady hands – you’re going to want an action shot when you and your sleek mount splash across rivers and creeks. 

Very-pretty vistas: Vale of Avoca Lookout 

Situated 250 metres above the Grose Valley River Gorge, marvel at the dramatic wilderness surrounding the Hawkesbury at the Vale of Avoca Lookout near Yarramundi. So wild and rugged is this remote area that, in 1804, colonial botanist George Caley named it the “Devil’s Wilderness”. Although only a 15-minute drive from Richmond (and a 140m walk from the carpark), the glorious vista feels worlds away. From the unfenced sandstone rock platforms, admire the natural amphitheatre of forest-clad mountains plunging into the deep v-shaped gorges. 

Woman watching a scenic sunset over the Hawkesbury Valley from the Vale of Avoca lookout in Grose Vale.

Vale of Avoca Lookout, Grose Vale

Step back in time: Settlers Arms Inn 

Dating back to 1836, Settlers Arms Inn was constructed from convict-hewn sandstone and once served as a stopover for Cobb and Co. stagecoaches journeying between Sydney and Newcastle. The charm doesn't stop there: the building's surroundings are just as beautiful as its Georgian architecture – encircled by mountains and nestled alongside the pretty Macdonald River within the tiny village of St Albans. Today, the inn offers quaint rooms, a restaurant, a cosy bar and open fireplaces, making it a delightful spot to stay for a night or two while exploring the area. 

Settlers Arms Inn

Settlers Arms Inn, St Albans

A historic stay: St Joseph’s Guesthouse 

Overlooking the pretty Macdonald River, continue the historic theme with a stay at St Joseph’s Guesthouse, set within one of Australia’s oldest Catholic churches – a stunning three-level sandstone building beautifully restored with steel, recycled wood and glass. Dive into the pool (fashioned from a cement water tank), and soak in the river and valley views, keeping your eyes peeled for eagles, lyrebirds, wallabies and wombats.  

St Josephs Guesthouse aerial shot, St Albans

St Josephs Guesthouse, St Albans

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