Recharge in the Hawkesbury
From indulgent spa retreats to immersion in nature, the beautiful Hawkesbury region is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Follow a World Heritage walking track to spectacular panoramic lookouts, explore untouched bushland on horseback, cruise along a tranquil river or just sink into a restorative bath surrounded by the music of birdsong.
Retreats & spas
Though it's only 90min from the centre of Sydney, the Hawkesbury is a world away. Discover the beauty of a slower pace of life at one of the region's relaxing retreats. Spicers Sangoma has just six luxurious suites set amongst the trees, a solar-heated infinity pool and a world-class spa. At Rusticspirit, couples will love the treetop cabins perched high on a rockface with deep spa baths and uninterrupted views.
The friendly alpacas will help you destress at Madison's Mountain Retreat, before retiring to your cosy cabin complete with roaring log fire. And at the newly refurbished Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley, the Villa Thalgo Day Spa is a private sanctuary set in acres of manicured gardens. Book in for a treatment then spend the afternoon in the indoor heated pool, hydrotherapy spa or steam room.
Explore natural wonders
The natural beauty of the region is perfect for horseriding. The Hawkesbury Valley Equestrian Centre in Yarramundi offers guided bush trail rides as well as private and group riding lessons. Or if you have your own horse, the Scheyville National Park near historic Windsor has 12km of horse trails.
At the Vale of Avoca lookout near Yarramundi, you’ll marvel at the Grose River wilderness. So wild and rugged is this remote area that, in 1804, colonial botanist George Caley named it the Devil’s Wilderness. For vistas of the Hawkesbury River and the sylvan Dharug National Park, Hawkins lookout is near Wisemans Ferry. After gazing at the natural splendour, cross the river on the free car ferry for the short drive to the national park where you’ll find the UNESCO Old Great North Road walking trail.
Convicts built the Great North Road to link Sydney and Newcastle. Surveyed in 1825, the road was finished in 1836, with around 720 convicts labouring to cut the road through the bush. It was heralded at the time as the colony’s ‘grandest improvement’ only to be eclipsed by steamships. Today the old road’s remnants are one of 11 Australian convict sites with UNESCO status. The walk winds past incredible stonework – giant buttresses, culverts and a curved wall.
For more trails and tips, pick up one of the Best Bushwalking Around the Hawkesbury booklets from the Hawkesbury Visitor Information Centre or Hawkesbury Regional Museum.
You can also explore the region from the water, paddling along the Hawkesbury River in a kayak. Pick one up from Hawkesbury Kayaks in Wisemans Ferry and cruise along at your own pace. Or you can join a tour with Southern Cross Kayaking and an expert guide will take you through secluded national parks.
Mountain biking on the Old Great North Road is popular – the whole track is 43km one-way. You’ll find plenty more mountain bike trails and road cycling routes, such as in the Richmond Lowlands. You can buy a cycling guide from the Visitor Information Centre in Richmond or the regional museum in Windsor.
The young and young at heart will be thrilled soaring on zip-lines at the Trees Adventure Grose River Park, in the upper Hawkesbury at Yarramundi, where the meandering Hawkesbury River begins at the confluence of the Nepean and Grose rivers. Kids as young as four can be daring on flying foxes.