The Hawkesbury River winds its way from west of Richmond to Broken Bay, around 50kms north of Sydney. It is a broad, tidal river, for the most part calm and easily navigable, making it a popular area for Houseboating.
We booked a 10 berth Executive Houseboat for the weekend out of Wiseman’s Ferry, about an hour and a half from Sydney. A few of us took off Friday so we could pick up the boat before dark, stopping at Riverside Oaks on the way to play a round of golf (with the kangaroos..). We picked up the houseboat and moved it to the public pier to await the others.
When everyone was onboard we fired up the bbq and had dinner followed by a fairly rowdy night… celebrating 2 birthdays!
The next morning we set off down the river, headed towards Broken Bay. Driving the houseboat was easy, the Hawkesbury is a calm river, with no rapids or other dangers. You have to be careful of the car ferries as they run on cables, but apart from other traffic on the water there is not much to worry about. Anchoring requires care, as the river is tidal the boat will swing around when the tide changes, which could pull the anchor loose if enough rope is not played out.
We travelled down the river for about an hour to our first stop, where we had lunch and tried some fishing. We had a small motor powered dingy with us which I took close to the mangrove shore, but didn’t get a bite the whole time. When I returned to the houseboat I was asked if it would be possible to dive to the bottom of the river to retrieve a mobile phone… lesson, when on the water be careful with your stuff!
After spending the first night on the river near town (and the noisy car ferry) we wanted to spend the last night as far from civilization as we could. We cruised east for another couple of hours until we came upon a likely looking area. We anchored for the night and I went onto the upper deck, set up my tripod and took pictures of the sunset (above). This was my first proper attempt at a HDR picture, which involves taking multiple images at different exposures, then combining the pictures. The idea is to capture a wider range than can normally be taken by a single digital picture and portray the scene more like it the eye remembers it.
After a more subdued night we awoke early to find the river shrouded in fog. I took out the dingy a kilometre up the river and took the picture below. If you look closely you can see the mist rolling along the water.
We spent the morning lounging around the river, finally catching some fish… before meandering back to Wiseman’s.
I really enjoyed my time on the water, I hadn’t spent much time on rivers before, usually preferring beach trips. Next time I want to stay longer, and make the trip all the way to the bay.