If your dream romantic getaway includes spectacular scenery, culinary wonders, luxe accommodation and plenty of relaxation, it's time you discovered New South Wales's Hawkesbury River. Situated around an hour north of Sydney, this incredible destination is where Australian bush meets world-class luxury.
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Enjoy a romantic stay at Calabash Bay Lodge
First thing's first – book yourselves a stay at somewhere romantic and private. Ticking both these boxes, the luxurious Calabash Bay Lodge (45 minutes north of Sydney CBD) is a fabulous option. A boutique ecolodge sitting on the Hawkesbury River and surrounded by two national parks, Calabash includes all the mod-cons, plus an in-house chef and hard-to-beat river views.
Taste the best local produce at the Cooks Co-op
With an array of farms, orchards and vineyards in the area, it's no wonder the Hawkesbury River region is referred to as a food bowl. Celebrating the best of all this, the Cooks Co-op in Sackville (90 minutes north of Sydney) is a must-visit for foodies. Here, owner and executive Chef Matin Boetz (of Longrain fame) invites chefs from across Australia – like My Kitchen Rules's Colin Fassbridge and River Cottage Australia's Paul West – to create special dining events that showcase the freshest local produce. Definitely book ahead.
Discover the secret swimming spot that is Jerusalem Bay
Getting to this otherworldly spot requires a hike, but it's well worth the effort. Accessible along the Great North Walk near Cowan Station (or by boat or kayak if you're taking it easy), Jerusalem Bay is surrounded by bushland and feels totally secluded.
Indulge in fine dining at Berowra Waters Inn
Top off your Hawkesbury River getaway with a night of fine dining at the Berowra Waters Inn. Only accessible by water, seaplane or the restaurant's private ferry, this gem of a spot features impeccable modern-Australian cuisine and internationally awarded architecture. Again, book ahead – Berwowra has become a bit of a Sydney icon and its four- and seven-course degustations are a dining experience food-lovers travel across Australia for.
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Go on a river cruise
You really can't come to the Hawkesbury River area without seeing the river's beauty on a relaxing cruise. One brilliant option is The Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler. Boarding in Windsor in the foot of the Blue Mountains, the cruise takes you along the tranquil river on a genuine historic paddlewheeler (as the name suggests), and includes a meal-with-a-view.
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