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Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

London
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Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

On Friday 3rd Feb we'll be driving from Pokolbin to Sydney. We need to arrive by 6pm. The journey is 163km and, according to the whereis website would take us just under three hours using the fastest route.

But we're in no hurry and would appreciate some advice on some diversions along the way.

In particular our interests are walking and canoeing. Is it possible to rent a canoe or kayak for a couple of hours on some scenic bit of river? Or a river cruise? (Bear in mind this is a weekday and we're just a party of two.)

I've also read about some glow worm caves in the Hawkesbury Valley but have been unable to find any more details. If anyone has a weblink or e-mail address, I'd appreciate it.

Also, any recommended lunch stops?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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1. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Best way is the back way !!

So with saying this:

hard without getting map out..

from Cessnock..follow signs to Broke..then drive to Wollombi it is absolutely beautiful..

from wollombi drive to peats ridge..then hop onto the highway to Sydney (approx 40mins).

now for hawkesbury river..i'm just going to copy and paste my article about the area.

Hawkesbury River.

Discover the beautiful deep waters of the Hawkesbury River and the elongated graceful waterway of Pittwater, running from Newport to Palm Beach. Broken Bay is dominated by Lion Island with plenty of small inlets and coves to cruise your yacht, cruiser or house boat through. Set amongst four National Parks, Kur-ring-gai Chase, Marramarra, Dharug, Brisbane Water and Bouddi, there are gorgeous beaches, historic villages, mangroves, with abundance of flora and fauna.This area is similiar in scenery to the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland but is only one hour drive from Sydney.It offers beautiful scenery set amongst National Parks and sandstone headlands.

There are numerous ways to see Pittwater/Hawkesbury River, the best being hiring a houseboat and crusing the Cowan River and Berowra Waters.The other alternative is to take a cruise on the Hawkesbury River Cruises and spend a day enjoying the beautiful waterways, stopping off for lunch at Bobbin Head.Another suggestion is to get off at Cottage Point Inn and have lunch overlooking Coal and Candle Creek, they also have overnight luxury accommadation available but you need to book (612 9456 1011).The cruise leaves Palm Beach Wharf at 11.00am daily.

Another great way to see the river is to catch the Riverboat Postman, this is a service that delivers mail to isolated houses it takes approx 3 hours and runs Monday to Friday. Catch a train from Central Railway Station in the city at 8.16am to Hawkesbury River Railway Station in time to catch the mailman. (02 9985 7566) for more details.Palm Beach ferries also offers an unique way to see Pittwater which operates from Palm Beach Wharf (02 99182747) you can catch a ferry to Ettalong, The Basin, Patagona,Pearl Beach and Woy Woy.

If hiring a boat take the train to Brooklyn it has a railway station called the Hawkesbury River railway station. However, you must check that your train will stop at this station. On arrival at the Hawkesbury River station, just phone Ripples Houseboats, and they will come and pick you up free of charge. Or North Shore Airport Service takes you to door from the airport. Other companies do the same, or drive to Church Point/ Palm Beach 45 mins from Sydney and catch the ferry/ water taxi to location.

Waterfront Restaurants: Cottage Point Inn /Waterview Restaurant/Riverside Brooklyn/Peat’s Bite/Dangar Island Café/Berowa Waters/Cottage point kiosk/Forgotton Valley Restaurant/Newport arms Hotel/Akuna Bay/Newport Yacht Club/Newport Boating Club/Mooney Mooney Workers Club.

Places of Interests:The Basin /Refuge Bay/Smiths Creek/ Cowan Creek/ Kangaroo Point/ Cottage Point/ Dangar Island/ Bar Island/Milsons Island/ Berowa Waters/ Brooklyn/Akuna Bay/ Newport/ Palm Beach/ Church Point/ Scotland Island/ Brisbane Waters/ Ettalong Beach / Pearl Beach/ Patonga Beach/ Mackerel Beach.

www.clippercruises.com.au/

www.luxuryafloat.org/

www.yachtcharter.com.au

www.ripples.com

Or Stay at Headlands – Broken Bay. Voted the best small hotel in NSW, and catch ferries to explore other places.www.headlands.com.au a five star stunning hotel set amongst National Parks overlooking the beautiful waters of Pittwater. (Expensive)

For the budget traveller you can take the ferry to The Basin and camp in the National Park perched on the waterfront.You must ring and book a site, showers and toilets are available and a shop to buy essentials(opened only in summer)02 9974 1011.Another budget accommadation is Pittwater YHA (9999 5748) catch the 156 bus from Manly Wharf to Church Point and then a ferry to Halls Wharf.

Sydney Australia
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2. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

First, I just thought I would give a word of warning re whereis...the time it's given for this trip seem OK but I've had some very very weird and inaccurate information for other trips in Sydney and regional areas. I'd suggest at least checking your trip times with the travel planner on the NRMA website

http://www.mynrma.com.au/travel_planner.asp which seems better.

The Australian Reptile Park is at Somersby

www.reptilepark.com.au

Glow Worms

only reference to glow worms in the Hawkesbury I could find was. So far haven't been able to locate better info elsewhere on the NPWS site though. This isn't exactly on the way between the HV and Sydney, but if you went the back way you end up in the general area

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Blue+Mountains+National+Park+back+in+business+after+fires

There's also glow worms at Newnes which is up the mountains further beyond Zig Zag Railway, or in Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands south west of Sydney.

Have a look at Hawkesbury web. Not as user friendly as some websites. Perhaps you're interested in a guided canoe on the river.

www.hawkesburyweb.com.au/business.asp?ID=1951

sydney,aust.
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3. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Aussie Reptile Park

and

the Dangar Island Ferry from Brooklyn are options.

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4. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Ah I think I know which Glow Worm "cave" you're referring to: The Glow Worm tunnel at Newnes near Lithgow?

It's part of a VERY popular site with 4WD enthusiasts called "The Lost City". The Glow Worm tunnel is located 38km north of Lithgow.

It is a disused WW2 rail tunnel that houses thousands of glow worms, and there's a picnic ground nearby.

I'm not sure if you actually need a 4WD to get up there, but there could well be 4WD tours leaving from Lithgow that you could join?

You could try the Lithgow Tourism Office for some advice on how to get there:

http://www.tourism.lithgow.com/index.html

Hope you have a great trip!

London
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5. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Can I ask a bit more about Dangar Island?

A few quick web searches reveal it's got a lot of nice waterfront properties - but is there anything for the visitor to do... apart from gawp enviously at other people's luxury homes?

Can you walk round the island with access to the shore? Is there a beach?

How long should we allow for a visit?

(Incidentally, thanks very much indeed to everyone who's posted on this thread. It's all invaluable info and I've been hard at work shaping my itinerary around it. Sadly, the canoe company on the Colo river mentioned in one of the earlier postings is, apparently, no longer operating. We have, however, found some canoeing potential in Wollemi National Park - www.wollemiafloat.com.au )

sydney,aust.
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6. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

You can walk around the island..there is a nice beach on the south east side whilst the western side is rocky and gum forested.

Circumnavigate the island in 30 minutes.Have a coffee at the general store.Have a yarn to the bowlers at the small bowling green.Catch the next ferry across the hawkesbury to Wobby beach below the sandstone cliffs of the national park and back to Brooklyn.

Takes about 1.5 hrs from leaving the freeway to back to the freeway to sydney.

Check out the movie "oyster farmer"...these places on the lower hawkesbury that are boat access only retain a certain small scale,lost in time feel.

Sydney Australia
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7. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Shame about the canoe operator.

Wollemi Afloat operates out of Dunns Swamp, which is out near Rylestone on the western side of Wollemi National Park. You'd need to go over that way via Bylong. It's a beautiful scenic drive especially heading from HV to Rylestone. There's good food and accommodation at Rylestone. I'm a huge fan of this area and the Capertee Valley as a whole, but the road is not sealed all the way. If you're in a 2WD hire car your insurance probably won't cover you on unsealed roads. If you decide to equip yourself for the trip out via Rylestone, head back to Sydney via Glen Davis. More unsealed (but well maintained) roads and magnificent scenery, though perhaps a bit hot in the Summer.

This will bring you back via Lithgow and from there you can head throught the Blue Mountains either down the Bells Line of Road or via the Great Western Hwy to Katoomba etc.

We went for a drive today and as we were in the area, we checked out that glow worm convict trail in the Hawkesbury area of the Blue Mountains National Park. The access road is quite a rough dirt track, recommended 4WD only on most of the signs, not too far off the Bells Line of Road. We got down to the Burrawang picnic area in our 2WD, which has a higher than average wheel base without any problem, and there was a ford falcon (normal large sedan) down in the picnic area. We drove out via the paterson fire trail, which most in the vehicle thought was an easier route. A very scenic drive, the bushland is very pretty at the moment with lots of new growth. We couldn't readily identify where the walking trail is though, no obvious signage that we could detect, and it was rather hot, so none were of a mind to go a walking today. Maybe another time, anyway, thought you might find info on the access useful.

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8. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Snodge! You are a mine of information. I would be happy to propose you as a 'local expert' if you're interested in getting one of those little green badges next to your name.

I've done a bit more research into the canoeing at Dunns Swamp and my latest plan is to do it as a day trip from Leura, where we'll be staying for several nights before moving onto the Hunter Valley.

The plan is to get up early next Sunday, drive to Lithgow, do the Zig Zag Railway in the morning, then drive on via Rylestone to Dunns Swamp in the afternoon for a couple of hours paddling.

As far as you're aware, all the roads sealed all the way from Lithgow to Dunns Swamp? And do you think we can realistically pack it all into a day? According to the NRMA travel planner it's two hours from Leura to Dunns Swamp, and Lithgow is a bit less than half way.

(We have to do it on Sunday because steam trains will be in operation on the Zig Zag and canoe hire prices are much cheaper at weekends.)

Any thoughts welcome...

And, by the way, are there any recommended stops for a quick lunch in or near Lithgow?

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9. Re: Stuff to do between Hunter Valley and Sydney

Well thank you rentaquote. I appreciate the compliment. I was offered the badge, but didn't feel I could accept, there's so many people with worthwhile contributions on the Sydney forum.

Unfortunately the road is not sealed all the way to Dunn's Swamp, though it sounds like you're just a bit too early. They've just decided to seal the road after some lobbying

mudgee.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp…

Would it be possible to upgrade your hire car to a small 4WD? You can see so much more wandering around if you're not confined to sealed roads, especially if you're getting off the beaten tourist track.

If not never mind, it still could be worthwhile going further across the diving range for a drive. When we were out there a couple of months ago the general area was looking fabulous from the rain. By now the kangaroo grass heads should have turned a beautiful russet colour. You could take a run up to Gulgong

do a search on www.visitnsw.com.au (very useful as it will give you the weather forcast) or

smh.com.au/news/…20see

or Sofala, both quaint little towns. Really special and uniquely australian. Road is now sealed all the way to Sofala from either the Bathurst side or the Ilford side.

Lunch stops depend on when you finish at zig zag. If you're early enough to get out to Rylestone, there's a nice cafe there. We haven't eaten in Lithgow itself we're usually passing through, but we do regard the KFC on the Great Western Hwy at Lithgow as pretty much the best KFC we've been to, so it's almost a tradition for us to stop there for a bite if we're passing at meal time. In particular they have consistently served perfectly cooked, large crispy strips. Have a look at

www.lithgow-tourism.com

if you haven't already for some of the options.

One of the local accommodation places alleges you can hire canoes at Lake Lyell, there's an email link to the LL caretaker on the lithgow tourism site, perhaps you could ask them. Probably not so scenic as Dunn's Swamp of course.