Traveling north out of Sydney, one finds the handsome, tree-covered slopes of Kuring-Gai Chase National Park before too long giving way to the splendid Hawkesbury River. Cutting through the sandstone of the Great Dividing Range, the river winds between cliffs and islands, all of which are impressively green. It is a splendid spot.
People come up to the Hawkesbury for oysters, as the beds here produce abundantly. They come for the scenery, the charming towns, and the artisans and their shops. Some of us arrive, as well, for the opportunity to travel with Australia’s last Riverboat Postman. Because the river cuts through such precipitous terrain, there is no likelihood that this region will ever be reached by roads. In some places, sandstone walls rise almost straight up behind the houses and small settlements perched along the river’s edge. And so the mail arrives by boat.
Fortunately, one does not have to pull any strings or know anyone to get to enjoy a ride with the postman. It can be arranged online or at any New South Wales Tourist Office. It was at the NSW Tourist Office that I not only booked my ride, but first learned of the riverboat postman.
Below, the three photos hardly do justice to the area’s beauty or the extent of the trip. However, I hope they at least suggest why I — and British novelist Anthony Trollope — were charmed by the Hawksebury. I won’t bore you by repeating everything I wrote in my book about this trip, but it’s nice to be able to share a glimpse of what I saw.