The Hawkesbury has something for everyone. Discover charming historic towns brimming with colonial architecture, sandstone pubs, and fascinating museums and galleries. Enjoy a long list of activities on the beautiful Hawkesbury River, from houseboat holidays to eating seafood plucked straight from the water. Work up an appetite with outdoor adventures in national parks. Then enjoy the region’s delicious fresh produce, and cellar doors, breweries and cideries.



Things to do

Explore the area’s historic towns, such as Windsor. Settled in 1791, it's the third-oldest place of British settlement on the Australian mainland. While you’re there, take the self-guided heritage walk, before learning about colonial history at the Hawkesbury Regional Museum and checking out the more modern Hawkesbury Regional Gallery. If time allows, jump aboard the Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler to step back in time to the 1800s, when steamships travelled the waterway.

Other colonial-era towns nearby include Kurrajong, Richmond, Pitt Town, Ebenezer, Wilberforce, Wisemans Ferry and St Albans. Australia’s oldest church is in Ebenezer, and in many of the towns, you’ll find sandstone pubs – including the old-style Settlers Arms Inn and Macquarie Arms Hotel – and colonial architecture.

Settlers Arms Inn

Settlers Arms Inn, St Albans

Outdoor adventure

National parks, which protect Aboriginal cultural heritage from ceremonial sites to rock art, are a big attraction of the Hawkesbury. You have the Blue Mountains National Park to the west, Yengo National Park and Dharug National Park to the north, and Wollemi National Park to the northwest where the famous Wollemi pine – nicknamed the dinosaur tree – was discovered. 

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

Vale of Avoca Lookout, Grose Vale

Those who enjoy the great outdoors are spoilt for choice, with lots of options for bushwalking, cycling and boating. The Hawkesbury River winds 120km from Yarramundi in the west to Broken Bay in the east, so you can fish for freshwater and estuary species, among many other exciting water-based activities, such as kayaking, waterskiing, pearl farm tours and more.

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

Fishing on the Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry

Eat & drink

Since early colonial times, the region’s rich alluvial soil has supported settler farmers. This is apple territory so go fruit picking on food and wine trails, such as the Harvest Farm Gate Trail, while sweet tooths will be drawn to Bilpin’s Apple Pie Trail. For a paddock-to-plate experience that highlights the regional produce, you can’t go past Lochiel House.

Couple enjoying wine at Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights

Lochiel House, Kurrajong Heights

The bounty of Bilpin’s apples makes this the place for apple cider, sample the wares at the cellar doors of Bilpin Cider and the Hillbilly Cider. If grape-based drinks are more your thing, visit the region's cellar doors: Tizzana WineryBull Ridge Estate Wines and Jubilee Vineyard Estate. If craft beer is more to your taste, head to Gypsy Fox Brewing Co in Richmond, open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays. Follow our three-day foodie itinerary in the Hawkesbury for the ultimate gourmet getaway.

Jubilee Vineyard Estate, The Hawkesbury

Jubilee Vineyard Estate, The Hawkesbury

Where to stay

Accommodation ranges from campgrounds and riverside tourist parks to heritage hotels, retreats, farm stays and even houseboats along the river. Book into one of the colonial-era pubs dotted throughout the region, including the Settlers Arms Inn. Spend a romantic night or two in the beautifully restored St Josephs Guesthouse, a former colonial church. While in the heart of Windsor, you'll find all the modern comforts you need at Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley.

St Joseph's Guesthouse and Function Venue in st Albans is a stunning three level stone building that was renovated from the ruins of a 160 year old church

St Josephs Guesthouse, St Albans

For a slower pace of life, check in to one of the region's relaxing retreats. Spicers Sangoma Retreat has just six luxurious suites set among 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. And for a Tuscan-like retreat, book a weekend at the adults-only Guestlands.

Guestlands, Arcadia - Credit: Guestlands

Guestlands, Arcadia - Credit: Guestlands

Getting there

The Hawkesbury is a 50-minute drive northwest of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, an hour by train from Central Station or a quick flight in a Sydney Harbour seaplane. 


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