AT Reader Christine Sales recently donned a riverboat postman’s hat and completed No.91 of AT’s famous 100 Great Things To Do In Australia You’ve never heard of


For a day’s outing that didn’t start at the crack of dawn and finish at dusk, my husband and I recently decided to give the Hawkesbury River Boat Postman a run.

It’s a tour that starts at 9.30am from Brooklyn Wharf, about 50km north of the Sydney CBD, with the entire round trip taking just over three pleasant hours, returning to Brooklyn Wharf where, if you paid in advance of sailing as we did, a freshly caught, freshly cooked lunch of fish and chips await your return.

We departed with quite a number of goods on board, all of which were to be delivered to tiny islands dotted along the Hawkesbury. We were also responsible for distributing and collecting any incoming and outgoing mail and other items.

Our first stop had everyone laughing as two dogs spotted the Postman as we drifted into view, before racing excitedly down to the wharf. It looked as though they were waiting for someone to disembark, but no – they were anticipating their daily biscuit, tossed to them by the crew. This happened on a number of stops and added to the day’s delight.

The Postman stops at most of the islands daily, according to needs of the inhabitants, and just a few of the 14 or so we stopped at were Little Wobby, Dangar Island, Peats Island, Milson’s Island, Milson’s Passage and Bar Point. Along the way the crew give a very good commentary on each island’s history, the history of the bridges and the remaining piers that were the original railway supports, replaced by today’s railway bridge over the Hawkesbury, along with the history of Bar Island and of the remaining cemetery.

We were also shown the remains of the original HMAS Parramatta, Australia’s first warship. A sad end for such a mighty torpedo destroyer: sold off for scrap, torn apart and ending up as a rusty hulk . . . we wondered idly what memories she had of better days.

Morning tea is served, with plenty of table space for all – and, had the day been wet and cold, there’s plenty of undercover, enclosed seating. On the upper deck there’s plenty of seating and we were able to move about to take in the view from all aspects, however, we found the best spot on the boat: on the lower deck in the bow of the boat, we were protected from the wind, had “surround sound and views”, and enjoyed the fresh air without being blown around.

The journey was so pleasant, with us seeing parts of the Hawkesbury otherwise out of reach. The scenery was gentle and ever-changing, with the sun appearing then hiding behind clouds, giving the islands we passed and stopped at along the way a wonderful contrast of light and depth, forming stark outlines against the sky. Mostly the trip remained in the sheltered areas of the river, with just a very slight wind buffeting us on one occasion.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day on the Hawkesbury River Boat Postman – a day I’d recommend to all but the worst of “sailors”. And to finish off with a walk across the wharf to such a fresh and tasty meal made the day complete.

DETAILS // Hawkesbury Riverboat Postman.
Where: Ferry Wharf, Dangar Rd, Brooklyn NSW.
Contacts: www.riverboatpostman.com.au, (02) 9985 7566, bookings essential. Costs: Adults $50, kids $30, family $130, onboard lunch & fish ’n’ chips extra.

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