Having had to postpone our romantic valentines picnic for four last weekend due to fevers and rain, today we made the most of some sublime late summer Sydney weather and headed up to the Hawkesbury with the tinny. With a fresh nor’easter forecast we decided that a destination with more protected waters would be a better option for the toddler and the bump. Saturday night was spent checking out a vague route, confirming the presence of a suitable boat ramp at Appletree Bay and ensuring we were adequately provisioned (Tomato and Feta Pan Bagnat, Crunchy Top Lemon Cake and some strawberries and figs). However our research was almost in vain. As we neared the end of Bobbin Head Road we approached the familiar site of a national parks and wildlife ticket booth and my heart sank. With Rhubarb in the boot we were sure to be sent packing back to the Shire. But luckily the booth was unmanned, save the usual sign inidicating no dogs, as well as a larger hand written sign in black texter, taped to the booth reading “NO DOGS”. Anyway we drove on, willling to take the risk on Rhubarb”s behalf (and restrain her appropriately for the benefit of the wildlife). I will leave it to Rubes to bring you more detail on the nerve wracking experience that occurs when park ranger and pooch cross paths, in her first “Dog Blog” which will be brought to you later this week.
The road down to the water from the booth at the top of the hill is a beautiful winding drive. I love this part of the Hawkesbury as it has a certain “early settler” atmosphere. This is probably something to do with the tracts of carved out sandstone and beautiful masoned harbour walls that appear when you reach the water. This masonry is likely the work of convict labour and is a refreshing change from the constructions we see in more recenty settled coastal towns.
The boat ramp is pretty busy on a summer weekend but there is plenty of parking ($11 for day with trailer) and room for three trailers abreast on the ramp itself, even at 10am when we arrived, well after the early birds. Once launched we headed off along Cowan Creek at slightly more than a leisurely pace, and almost immediately noticed an abundance of quite large and majestic golden hued jellyfish in the water which we stopped to photograph.
Unfortunately I accidentally forgot to save the Navionics track so I can’t show you the route we took but I can say that we covered about 4nm taking a detour up Smith’s Creek, past Cottage Point Restaurant and a quick nosey up Coal and Candle Creek (the name of which fascinates me so if anyone knows it origins please let me know). From here we had a look up Jerusalem creek and then were in serious search of a sandy spot to land. Our timing wasn’t great as it was only just past high tide. However, we were soon pleased to see Little Shark Rock Point Beach come into view, and even more pleased to see two Jet Skis and a hire boat departing.
We spent a lovely couple of hours on the beach (which was in the shade in the heat of the day). We had a picnic, a swim, dug some sandcastles and had a chat with a couple of lace monitors who were eying off our lemon cake. On the way back we stopped in at the Cottage Point Kiosk for some ice creams. If you cant be bothered to pack a picnic, the kiosk is a great spot for lunch and also hires tinny’s and sells, amongst other things, fishing tackle, tide tables and pedigree chum. Something for everyone.
I’d highly recommend exploring the Cowan Creek part of the Hawkesbury. We obviously only scratched the surface in a day so we’ll be back. Rhubarb will just have to don better camouflage.
How to Get There
Apple Tree Bay Boat Ramp is about 45 minutes drive north of Sydney CBD and is signposted from Empire Bay Marina at Bobbin Head. Here’s the google map link:
Parking: $11 including Trailer
Park fees: the booth was unmanned but this can depend on the day. My understanding is you don’t need a pass if you are just launching a boat.
Fuel: Approx $25
- Little Shark Point Rock Beach
- The beautiful scenery of the Hawkesbury including some historic architecture
- Cottage Point Kiosk