get up, get out & go...
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