Sydney / Destinations / A Traveler’s Guide to the Hawkesbury

A Traveler’s Guide to the Hawkesbury

On the outskirts of Sydney, the Hawkesbury is picturesque, peaceful and the perfect escape from the city. The Hawkesbury River flows past lush wilderness, walking trails, quaint towns, bays and bobbing boats, and in between national parks. As one of the oldest colonial settlements, there are hints of history at every turn, and today, the area is also one of Sydney’s agricultural hotspots. And you know what that means: the food is as fresh as it gets.

Wind your way down the river and explore everything the Hawkesbury has to offer.

For a great time in the Hawkesbury, be sure to…

Eat brekkie at Simon’s Café

In Windsor, this café is a local haunt – and no-one will judge you if you order dessert at nine in the morning. If you’re in Richmond, make a beeline for Café Relish.

Indulge in fluffy pancakes at the Crepe Escape

Whether you have a sweet or savoury tooth, the chefs will whip up a mouth-watering crepe just for you.

Stroll or bike your way through Governor Phillip Park in Windsor

If you have the kids in tow, pause for a BBQ and a pitstop at the playground.

Pack a picnic lunch 

Enjoy it by the Colo River or Yarramundi Reserve.

Pop into the rustic-chic Lime and Coconut Café for a cup of tea

Pull up a chair and stay a while – there’s no rush!

Settle in for a long, leisurely lunch at George Street Loft

Sitting pretty in a historic building, this restaurant (and its courtyard) is popular with day-trippers and locals alike.

Pick up a sweet treat from the Chocolate Drop Café in Richmond

It’s attached to a record store, so you can savour your waffle, truffles or hot chocolate with a side of nostalgia. 

Order a feast of slow-cooked, smoked meats at Barrels and Ashes

Housed in a sandstone cottage, this Richmond restaurant features a fireplace and long list of whiskies.

Journey back in time at the Australiana Pioneer Village in Wilberforce

First explored by Governor Phillip in 1789, the village offers a peek into life over 100 years ago complete with quaint cottages and horse carriage rides.

Feeling adventurous? 

Saddle up at Chapman Valley Horse Riding in Howes Valley, or sign up for an adrenaline rush at the Indy 800 Go Kart Trackin Wilberforce. If it’s rainy, take the kids to Planet X Indoor Trampoline Park.

Join the locals at the pubs

Heritage Hotel,Vineyard Hotel, or Macquarie Arms Hotel, one of Australia’s oldest and most storied pubs.

Tuck into Italian comfort food at the Old Stables Woodfired Kitchen in Richmond (and try their gelato!)

Or if you’re in Windsor for the evening, try  Biviano’s, which sits inside a heritage building dating back to 1840. 

Dine and unwind 

Head to The Church Baror the cheekily-named Bazz’s Whine Bar, both in Windsor.

Before you leave, make time to visit…

Hawkesbury Harvest Farm Gate Trail

Much of Sydney’s fresh produce comes from the Hawkesbury, and this trail is made up of local growers, farmers and wineries. You can plan your journey online or pick up a map from the Visitor’s Centre

Kurrajong Village

For rural rejuvenation, head to this quaint village in the Hawkesbury Highlands. There, you’ll find antique stores, B&Bs, cafes, and stunning scenery.


Parts of Windsor are a time capsule of the colonial era. Visit the convict-designed St Matthews Anglican Church (aka ‘The Cathedral of the Hawkesbury’), Thompson Square and the John Tebbut Observatory.


Often bypassed for its more scenic neighbours, Richmond has its own colonial history, sprawling parklands and eating establishments. If you have the kids with you, there is a great playground at Richmond Park. 

Where to stay in the Hawkesbury

Spicers Sangoma Retreat

This is the place when you want to check out of reality. Located in Bowen Mountain, Spicers Sangoma seamlessly combines the Australian bush with complete luxury. There’s an insta-worthy moment at every turn and the views are stunning. 

Plynlimmon – The Cottage at Kurrajong

This 1860 heritage cottage has had multiple lives – a post office, a dairy and blacksmith shop, and now a bed and breakfast. Accommodating up to four adults and two children, the two-bedroom cottage is completely self-contained with the original fireplace and beautiful gardens.

Cornwallis House

Just outside of Windsor, surrounded by orange groves, Cornwallis House is a grand two-storey, traditional Queenslander style house. It’s made for entertaining, with its wrap-around balcony, three king and one queen-size bedrooms, all with their own ensuite, and a large and fully-equipped kitchen.


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