We all know about the Hawkesbury River, but what’s really fascinating is the many other things happening in the area right on Sydney’s doorstep. Mike starts out with a visit to the Vale of Avoca lookout in Grose Vale, a breath-taking spot looking over a magnificent valley.
Next is the Australiana Pioneer Village in Wilberforce which is an open-air museum that captures what life was like for the early Hawkesbury settlers. Here you can check out the amazing collection of original buildings from the blacksmith shop, police station and bank and even the restored homes of the settlers themselves. There’s train rides and hayrides for the kids and even a vintage lolly shop.
And the Hawkesbury has always been one of Sydney’s prime food sources, so Mike visits one of the many pick-your-own fruit spots in Bilpin: Shields Orchard. Shields is home to the newest variety of Aussie apple – the Julie – and it’s also home to Hillbilly Cider. Here Shane McLaughlin makes his cider from 100 per cent pure apple juice. The result is crisp, clean cider straight off the keg. Make sure you try the Sweet Julie while you’re there!
Finally, Mike parks himself for the night at Cornwallis House, right on the river. It’s a massive family home that’s just the place to explore the Hawkesbury area.