Hiking along the Hawkesbury River

Last Sunday, I had a quilt judging assignment in preparation for the Hawkesbury Show that is on this weekend,  5-7 April May. There’s something very charming about agricultural shows. Here’s the jam and preserves class awaiting judging:Jam & PreservesThe show venue is nearly two hours from Copacabana so we decided to take the opportunity to take the long way home and explore some new territory: Wiseman’s Ferry, the Old Great North Road and a section of the Hawkesbury River bounding Dharug National Park. We had splendid autumn weather. Here is the view from the southern side of the river showing the Webbs Creek ferry:

View over the Hawkesbury & Webbs Creek FerryWe walked around the settlement of Wiseman’s Ferry. We were too early for lunch at the inn so we ferried over to the other side of the river.  The ferries are administered by the government as part of the road system and there is no charge. It’s a quick trip and you have to stay in your vehicle:

Wiseman's Ferry crossing the Hawkesbury

Wiseman's Ferry crossing the HawkesburyOn the other side, we parked the car and ventured along a well-preserved section of the Old Great North Road.  The road was built using convict labour between 1826 and 1836 and formed a link between Sydney and the Hunter Valley, including Newcastle. There are visible remnants of the original work in bridges, retaining walls and other structures and the Convict Trail project provides some interpretative signs and metal sculptures:

Any remaining cobblestones of the road itself have been covered with sand and rubble but if you look down the western edge of the road, you can see the wall and drainage system:

Old Great North Road

Dripstone on the Old Great North RoadAs we headed up Devines Hill, we passed the sandstone cave/overhang known as Hangman’s Rock:

Hangman's RockWe then took the Finchs Line track along the ridge to a lookout over the Hawkesbury River. Finchs Line walk, Hawkesbury River

View over the Hawkesbury River from Finchs Line Lookout

View over the Hawkesbury & Webbs Creek Ferry from Finchs Line LookoutAustralian bush flora is not flashy but if you look closely there are flowers to see:

Australian native flowers

Australian native flowersThere are a couple of circuit walks in this area: the Devines Hill Loop (28km/6 hours) and the Devines Hill/Finch Line Loop (9.9km/3+hours). We hadn’t packed drinking water or picnic supplies so walked to the lookout and came back the same route (approx 9km/less than 2 hours but at a fair pace). It was a really pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

PS: For insights into the settlement of this part of the Hawkesbury River and the dispossesion and displacement of the Dharug people, I recommend the novel A Secret River by Kate Grenville.


  1. I really enjoy both your art and travels. Just checked out, The Secret River by Kate Grenville, from my local library. Thank you, Brenda!