Whatever your wish for gadabout travels, the friendly staff here can most likely find it. In the Hawkesbury, there are many activities and numerous exceptional vistas to see - national parks, curvy mountain roads and sublime scenery, hot air ballooning, historic townships and heritage buildings.
Armed with insider knowledge of the area, recommendations for fun rarely pose a problem for the tourism staff, who know the backroads and the local folklore - if you're lost, looking for accommodation or simply longing to bite into an apple pie from Bilpin. Recommendations for a local pub? Lunch at a café with a gorgeous outlook in Kurrajong or a small café on George Street in historic Windsor? Tasting the grape in Ebenezer or East Kurrajong? Perhaps a sizzling steak at the Wisemans historic pub? Drop in to Hawkesbury Visitor Information Centre to learn the answers to those questions and more.
Now, if you prefer to plan your trip early, each visitor centre provides an array of useful brochures, books and fact sheets along with a wealth of anecdotal and hard fact information. The staff can point out the challenges of trekking trails and share with you their favourite outdoor adventure, be it river walks, camping sites or mountain trekking.
The centres are an unlimited resource and staff love helping visitors. These dedicated people may be the first locals you meet in the Hawkesbury and they are happy in their work.
Wedding parties and special corporate events are a mainstay for the friendly and helpful Good AZ Gold Tours team. However, visitors are encouraged to get creative and plan a trip.
Design a day out with friends - there's plenty of activities to choose from: tastings at boutique wineries, Hawkesbury iconic churches and graveyards, Farm Gate Trails for a "pick your own" day at a farm, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at one end of the Hawkesbury or Wisemans Ferry at the other. A favourite is the Art & Artisans Studio Trail open day in August.
Luxury air conditioned coaches, seatbelts for safety and friendly drivers make for exceptional travel. Owner Ryan Thompson recently upgraded his fleet of coaches. Smart, comfortable and reliable, these modern buses seat from 24 to 57 people and are ideal for custom-made tours for large or small groups and clubs. Good Az Gold will work with planners to arrange a trip to the Hawkesbury. Phone for a quote.
Address: Settlers Road, Wisemans Ferry, National Parks & Wildlife Service
Phone: 02 4320 4204
World Heritage listed Great North Road is a 240km civil engineering tour de force, built using convict labour between 1826 and 1836 to provide an overland route to the Hunter Valley. Today, the section at Wisemans Ferry (completed circa 1828) is closed to vehicular traffic, including motorcycles. Take Wisemans Ferry and turn left onto Settlers Road toward St Albans. The gated entrance is about 500m from the ferry and the entrance for walkers is to the right of the gate.
The full 3km loop walk takes three to four hours depending on your stamina. The trek is a gradual walk but has a steep incline, so one should be fit. Late September to mid-October is a perfect time for this walk. Wear a hat and layered clothing as the weather can turn hot or cold quickly. As always, it is imperative you take water.
Along the route, sandstone walls loom, shifting from grey, to gold, to black. Convicts, many in chains, chipped, picked and blasted this massive rock face to extract sandstone blocks. Hangman's Rock is a dramatic point in the trail.
It is 1.8km to the summit of Devines Hill and there are interpretive signs along the way - among the best we have seen in our travels. Here you can find stone retaining walls up to 12m high. This adventure has our 5-star recommendation!
Address: Wisemans Ferry Road, Wisemans Ferry
In each edition of the guide, we include Hawkins Lookout as it is the best "photo op" spot in our travels. We love the view when a slight mist hovers. Whether sunny, misty or overcast weather, the river below is quite beautiful.
Address: Springwood Road, Agnes Bank
This is "river country" - the confluence of Grose, Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, and an exemplary use of Crown land as sections are set aside for a variety of activities. Dog lovers have an off-leash section for their pets, horse riding is kept to the northern section and swimming is recommended for the Grose River only, although canoeing and kayaking is available right along. There is also 1.5km for walking and birdwatching, along with numerous shady spots for just lazing around under a tree on a weekend afternoon. Is it any wonder the folks of the Hawkesbury love this reserve?
Address: Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong Heights
Bellbird Hill Lookout is a wide spot along Bells Line of Road and only meters from the Archibald Hotel. The lookout parking is sizable and safe. The view is a panorama of farmlands, rolling hills and mountains in the distance. On calm days, we often hear a bellbird's unique call. Regardless of the weather, a brief stop at this lookout will please.