HAWKESBURY VISITOR CENTRE, CLARENDON  (02 4560 4620) Staff are a wealth of knowledge. Drop by for all Hawkesbury information. Books, maps, brochures and guides. 9-5pm Monday - Friday; Saturday & Sunday 9 - 4pm

HAWKESBURY REGIONAL GALLERY 25 OCTOBER 6-7:30pm "Leonardo da Vino"  a lighthearted workshop for those who love art but have yet to develop skills to paint. Sip wine, Sup from a grazing board and Share the experience with friends.  Your artist-instructor, Taryn Malzard lives and creates art in her studio in the Hawkesbury. (fee)   Check out other events at The Hawkesbury Gallery 

BAD, BAD, BAD: the Sydney Crime Writers BAD Event, Hawkesbury Central Library (Windsor) Wednesday, 20 November 7.15 - 8.45pm. In Conversation with fictional crime writer, Michael Robotham. Stephen King describes Robotham as 'an absolute master' of thrillers. (fee)                       

WISEMAN FERRY GALLERY: 'Celebrating Small Works'  30 November at the River Artists Gallery in Wisemans Ferry. Located in the centre of Wisemans Village, this exhibition is all about affordable art.  8x8 canvasses will be priced at $80. Throughout the year the gallery exhibits a wide array of art: sculpture and iron art, paintings, textiles and cloth art -- all providing the unique impressions of the natural surroundings of The Hawkesbury River. See more of the art


HAWKESBURY REGIONAL GALLERY: ART AND DEMENTIA TOURS ON THIRD THUESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT 11AM. Bookings are essential. These workshops are designed for those living with Dementia and for their carers. Facilitated by gallery staff (specially trained by Alzheimer's Australia) the experience offers an enriching program. Bookings 02 4560 4418.

get up, get out & go...

APV.1smallcanoe classicBlue Mountains Botanic Gardens

From the editor

Get up, get out & get away from peak hour traffic, from suburban living, from life online, life lived through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter…

When we travel, we depend upon Google or Apple maps and the computerised voice of our GPS companion. Neither, however, are as comforting as the voices of experience from the talented team at Hawkesbury Visitor Information Centre on Hawkesbury Valley Way between Windsor and Richmond.

Days of autumn can be seen along Castlereagh Road from the edge of Penrith to Richmond. Red and gold foliage light old Castlereagh Road. Horse country borders the road: sprawling estates with elegant stables, fences and lush green lawns – even in autumn. And in the distance, a landscape framed by the beautiful Blue Mountains.

Elsewhere in the bucolic hills of Freemans Reach, the sandstone Purple Noon Gallery faces a clever garden of bronze and sandstone sculpture where welded steel poppies stand tall and metal agapanthus are planted strangely in a large cycad (palm). Aboriginal art hangs serenely on a wall. A sudden spring downpour strikes the gallery’s metal roof, sounding like a staccato beat of falling gum nuts.

Along Wisemans Ferry Road, Maroota and Cattai are isolated and Pitt Town, once serene, is now a residential bedroom of large homes. Meanwhile, the colonial farmsteads of Rouse Hill House & Farm and Bella Vista Farm stand tall on Windsor Road, and produce stands along country roads throughout the Hawkesbury are evidence of the region’s bounty harvested from the rich black soil and softly undulating hills.

Backroads are leafy and often Mother Nature’s dramatic scenes surprise us: majestic sandstone cliffs jut over Wisemans Ferry, towering rhododendron bloom in botanic gardens, apple-loaded trees grow in Bilpin and dark lagoons bloated with lily pads are surrounded by grapevines at Ebenezer.

Lifeblood and aquatic highways for millennia, the mighty Hawkesbury, Grose and Colo rivers, all swollen and fierce after heavy rains, are all within your reach. Big boats, little ferries, kayaks and canoes bob along the tranquil waters, while low bridges span the waterways from Brooklyn to Windsor. The heritage Great North Road sweeps up a steep incline as it wends its way past historic houses, distillers and vintners and charming art galleries in places with unusual names like Ebenezer, Wilberforce, Kurrajong, Freemans Reach, Maroota, St Albans and Bilpin.

The Hawkesbury, where nature’s deception (or perhaps its magic) hoodwinks the eye and low-hanging grey clouds attach to lush green hills. Farms, wineries, villages, cool gardens and sandstone walls, and through it all, a river.

Get away from the daily grind: surrender to the delights of The Hawkesbury.

Our short list of memorable trips:

  • Autumn Harvest Festival at Rouse Hill House
  • Bushwalks and trekking in the national parks
  • Kayaking and canoeing at Yarramundi Reserve
  • Sunday markets in Windsor Mall
  • Apple picking at Bilpin
  • Historic pub bistro at Wisemans Inn Hotel
  • Cellar door tasting Thirsty Third Sundays at Bilpin Cider
  • Trees Adventure, Grose River Park, Yarramundi
  • Exhibitions & talks at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery + Regional Museum
  • Wine tasting at Ebenezer
  • Cool-climate gardens at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah

Outback ShedRiver