Welcome to the Hawkesbury
Surrounded by National Parks & dotted with secluded river communities, the Hawkesbury River is navigable for over 100 kilometres with 1100 kilometres of foreshore fringe. The western end of the River forms a peaceful boundary for the Sydney region - you could cruise and explore these waters for weeks and still not see it all. Spend a peaceful overnight anchorage in a hired boat or a waterfront B&B and wake up to the call of Kookaburras, Whip Birds, Sea Eagles and the lapping of the tides. Join a tour of the nearby glow worm caves or for the more adventurous try abseiling or canyoning.
The Hawkesbury has been the food basket for Sydney since colonial times. The need for viable farming land to feed the rapidly growing Sydney community led to the discovery and the settlement of the Hawkesbury Valley region, and for many years afterwards it remained the primary produce market for the Sydney settlement.
Today the region is still well known for its quality apples, stone fruits, oranges, honey and vegetables - many of them grown organically – and it is still the home to a variety of produce farms, small business and markets which provide goods to the Sydney market.
Depending on the season visitors can stop in at a range of properties or markets to sample produce and fill up the boot! The Farmgate Trail is a self drive tour through the Hawkesbury with stops at orchards, cheese makers, smokehouses, wineries and much more – a gastronomers delight!
The Hawkesbury region stretches from the Gateway of the Hawkesbury River around Brooklyn all the way through the Heartland of the fertile Valley to the Highlands at the foot of the Blue Mountains.
Just north of Parramatta, around 30 minutes from Sydney you can discover the best of nature mixed with the sparkle of cosmopolitan life at Sydney’s door within Hawkesbury’s Sydney Hills region.
Further west, just over an hours drive north-west of Sydney is the beautiful Hawkesbury Valley located at the foot of the Blue Mountains featuring the Historic towns of Windsor and Richmond.
Stretching even further west into the foothills of the Blue Mountains, along the Bells Line of road is the tranquil Hawkesbury Highlands offering a diversity of mountain scenery with great walls of sandstone and endless canyons, combined with charming orchards and fruit and vege stalls offering all local varieties of stone fruit in season and autumn apples.
Directly north of Sydney, approximately 24km along the F3 Freeway, is Hawkesbury’s Gateway surrounded by rich bush land and natural attractions where you can also relax and unwind by the spectacular Hawkesbury River. The Hawkesbury Gateway region neighbours Sydney’s Central Coast.
Inland around 80km north west of Sydney you can experience Wisemans Ferry and the Hawkesbury Heartland area, one of the most attractive and interesting tourist destinations in New South Wales, yet surprisingly still unknown to the great majority of visitors to Sydney.
The Hawkesbury region is also nestled amongst the vast wilderness of the Blue Mountains and Wollemi National Parks, where pristine creeks feed into the magnificent Hawkesbury River.
The great river meanders from Brooklyn through Wiseman’s Ferry and the townships of Richmond and Windsor, where some of the earliest colonial settlements were born.
Originally the home of the Darug Clan of the Aboriginal people, the area was discovered by Europeans in 1789 by Governor Arthur Phillip in search of fertile farmland. The rich riverland was settled in 1794 and the district holds a wealth of heritage with numerous well preserved historical buildings still in use.
Descendents of the original settlers are still prominent in the Hawkesbury with many continuing the family tradition on the land, side by side with the second and third generation farmers from early European migrants.
Despite Hawkesbury's close proximity to Sydney, Australia's largest city, it is still very much a rural community, with market gardens, orchards and rich pasture covering much of the landscape from the floodplains to the hills.
Known as the "food basket" for Sydney, the Hawkesbury area grows a vast range of produce including stone fruits, oranges, apples, pecan nuts, berries and various vegetables, many of which are for sale at various stalls dotted around the roads.
Many of the orchards are open for "pick you own" customers. The orange orchards are found on the plains around Freemans Reach and Agnes Banks whilst the apple and stone fruit orchards are located further up the hills of Bilpin, Grose Vale and Kurrajong.