The beautiful Hawkesbury near Sydney is a delicious adventure, from orchards and vineyards to farm gates and farmers markets. On scenic harvest trails in the rural hinterland discover roadside stalls, gourmet treats and artisans making apple cider and wattleseed gin. You can even stay on a working farm.
Farms prosper in the fertile soil, producing fresh fruits and vegetables. The Hawkesbury Harvest Farm Gate Trail is a deliciously enticing way to savour the delights. Depending on the season, you can even pick your own fruit at some orchards, such as the Anderson Farm, which grows mandarins.
The region has long been a bountiful source of food, first for Aboriginal people and then emancipist settlers who arrived in 1794 from the British colony in Sydney. The small farms by the Hawkesbury River supplied the struggling colony. By 1801, the Hawkesbury was the main fount of colonial grain.
The natural beauty of the Hawkesbury is perfect for picnics with family or friends. Browse produce and treats for your hamper at the Richmond Good Food Market, in Richmond Park on Saturdays. There are tasty dining experiences in the region too, such as the paddock-to-plate Cooks Shed .
All about apples
The Bells of Line of Road begins in historic Richmond, one of the Hawkesbury towns established by Governor Macquarie in 1810. On the scenic alternative route to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is Bilpin, a small town famous for the apples grown in the surrounding orchards. Pick your own, grab fresh ones at a roadside stall or follow the Apple Pie Trail, visiting 11 outlets serving up tasty treats.
This is apple cider territory. You can visit the cellar doors of Bilpin Cider and the Hillbilly Cider Shed in Bilpin and taste a scrumptious range of locally made ciders from hand-picked local apples, including granny smith, pink lady and red delicious varieties. There are tasty ciders without alcohol, too.
Combine colonial heritage with wine tasting at the Tizzana Winery, in a National Trust-classified 1887 sandstone building. The lovely winery and vineyard are in Ebenezer, a short drive north of historic Windsor, the third British colonial settlement in Australia after Sydney and Parramatta.
Opposite Tizzana is the Jubilee Vineyard Estate, on land originally granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to emancipist Denis Benjamin Kirwan in 1821. Kirwan was transported to Australia aboard the Hayeston in 1816. The cellar doors of Tizzana and Jubilee are open on weekends.