When I first started boating I would float around Sydney Harbour, when there were so many other places to explore and discover. After years of being on Sydney Harbour, I finally had a boat moored at Brooklyn and this forced me to explore the Hawkesbury. I was incredibly surprised with the number of good spots the Hawkesbury had to offer, and in this article I’m going to go through my top 5 – all accessible by boat.

Refuge Bay – Photo courtesy of @hikeandseek

1. Refuge Bay

Think complete and utter wilderness, with a national-park vibe, but filled with empty moorings and a handful boats! Cruise over to the southern side and you’ll be greeted with a waterfall that flows year-round, and a golden sandy beach. Hitch up on one of the public moorings, sit back, and enjoy the serenity! Want to explore? Drop your tender (or just swim in), to test your hiking skills and if you make it to the top, you’re sometimes greeted with an amazing rock pool looking out across the bay… although if you go at the wrong time you might find a mosquito swamp.

Refuge is protected from all angles of wind except for the north. If the northerly comes up you can drop the mooring and head to Americas Bay for protection, which is only about 500m away. This makes it ideal for overnighters and weekends away.

Cottage Point – Photo courtesy of @eat.with.monica

2. Cottage Point

Do you like to go boating, and even though your boat may be decked out with a fully functional kitchen – you just can’t comprehend cooking and cleaning for yourself on the weekend? Well… Cottage Point has you covered!

The perfect spot to stop for fuel, food and fishing supplies. You can grab breakfast from $10-$30 (depending on your taste buds), and you also have access to a more upmarket restaurant open for lunch and dinner. Make sure to check out the Cottage Point Kiosk.

The single white buoy situated out the front is for visitors, but it’s little use to you if you’re in anything larger than around 45ft. The Ku-Ring-Gai Motor Yacht Club boasts a recently renovated pontoon with fuel facilities.

Cottage Point is also a Sydney Seaplanes destination, flying from Rose Bay to Cottage Point daily, providing an exclusive lunch.

Jerusalem Bay – Photo courtesy of @jaygoodo

3. Jerusalem Bay

Situated a little further down the river, Jerusalem Bay is a spot that is also accessible by land – although it’s a short hike down. With an approximate 15m jump rock – you can jump at your own risk! It’s safe from most winds, however you may get a slight easterly come through, but it’s still deemed a great overnight spot.

Smiths Creek – Photo courtesy of @karenturnerperks

4. Smiths Creek

Are you looking for a spot where you’re almost guaranteed to have no phone reception? Want to kick back, unwind, and not receive any work calls? Littered with public moorings, Smiths Creek is protected from all angles of wind and is very secluded. Perfect for a kayak or to go for a dip, the end of the creek has crystal clear water for metres on end.

Yeomans Bay – Photo credit @kaytemarie1

5. Yeomans Bay

A few bays West of Refuge, you’ll find similar surroundings minus the waterfall and moorings. It has the same national-park vibe, and you’ll be protected from most angles of wind. One of our customers summed up the area perfectly in a few words: “I prefer cicadas as an alarm.”

Local Marinas

The biggest marina connecting to The Hawkesbury with direct access to these spots is Empire Marina in Bobbin Head – with over 200 berths (and great coffee). Second to Empire Marina, there is a number of marinas with berths and moorings at Brooklyn, which is a little closer to all the action, but the facilities are definitely more dated. Hawkesbury River Marina is located in Brooklyn and has a great breakfast and lunch. Lastly, there is D’albora Marina, Akuna Bay – which has recently undergone extensive renovations and also boasts a large dry stack. If you want to make the most of the Hawkesbury, I would recommend leaving your boat at one of the local marinas, and enjoy a few day and overnight trips over the course of a few months to soak it all in. Who knows, you might permanently relocate your boat after trying some of these amazing spots (and saving on marina fees)!