Hawkesbury River Activities

There are many memorable ways to enjoy the beautiful Hawkesbury River, from houseboat holidays to river cruises, kayaking, fishing and boating. You’ll find all these activities and much more in the Hawkesbury, as the river meanders past historic towns and magnificent national parks.

Girl enjoying a day on the ropes course with her family at Trees Adventure, Yarramundi

The river begins at the confluence of the Nepean and Grose rivers near Yarramundi, just west of Windsor, the third British colonial settlement in Australia. The waterway runs to its mouth at Broken Bay where it flows into the sea. Tidal influences reach as far as the upper Hawkesbury River.

Sun setting over the Hawkesbury River, Wisemans Ferry

Houseboat holidays

Once described by a colonial judge as the ‘Nile of New South Wales’, the tranquil waters are perfect for a weekend escape or short break. A wonderful way to relax and soak up the natural beauty of the river is a houseboat holiday. You don’t need a boat licence to hire and captain a houseboat.

Man enjoying an afternoon of fishing on the Hawkesbury River, Wisemans Ferry

Able Hawkesbury River Houseboats is at Wisemans Ferry, near the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Great North Road walking track in Dharug National Park. There are eight types of houseboats for hire that suit various budgets, from two-berth houseboats to luxury houseboats with rooftop spas.

Steer upstream to Windsor and downstream past wilderness to places such as Spencer, Berowra Waters and Brooklyn. Able Hawkesbury also offer kayaks, half-cabin boats and runabouts for day hire.

Fishing & kayaking

Cast a line for fish along the river and tributaries. Near the river mouth bream, snapper, mulloway, tailor and whiting all bite. There are boat ramps at various locations, including Governor Phillip Park in Windsor and Wisemans Ferry.

Couple kayaking in afternoon sun, Hawkesbury River

Kayaking is a lovely way to enjoy the river. You hire kayaks from Hawkesbury Kayaks at Wisemans Ferry. Or join a guided kayak tour with Southern Cross Kayaking. Kayak tours depart from various locations, including Windsor and Cattai National Park.

For thrill seekers, the Hawkesbury is a popular waterway for a range of water sports. Waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing are just a few of the fun activities. The Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic is a prestigious race from Broken Bay to Windsor. The annual race was first held in 1961.

The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler on the scenic Hawkesbury River, Windsor

Cruise the waters

Other things to do include relaxing on a riverboat while enjoying morning tea or lunch. Aboard the Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler take a trip back to the 1800s when steamships travelled the waterway. (Note that cruises are currently on hold and will restart in spring 2021.) Or hop aboard the River Postman in Brooklyn and follow the mail route along the calm waters.

River Activities Highlights


Explore the Hawkesbury River