Over the hills and not far north of Sydney, the tiny hamlet of Wisemans Ferry suns itself on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Nestled in amongst national park and almost entirely surrounded by water, this little patch of paradise is a fabulous spot for the kids to run wild while you relax.
When planning your visit to Wisemans Ferry weather temperature is not important. We’ve enjoyed plenty of glorious winter sunshine and the kids have paddled in the river in summer. But ideally you need a lovely, fine sunny day. Get some outfit inspiration here – What to wear in Sydney.
You don’t want to miss eating lunch on the deck at the Wisemans Ferry pub and the kids will love playing at the Wisemans Ferry park and playground.
- 1 Where is Wisemans Ferry NSW?
- 2 Hawkins Lookout
- 3 Things to do in Wisemans Ferry
- 4 Wisemans Ferry camping and accommodation
- 5 Wisemans Ferry restaurants
Where is Wisemans Ferry NSW?
Wisemans Ferry is particularly accessible if you’re coming from the northern or western areas of Sydney. Berry is a fabulous destination if you’re south of the city.
The quick and easy way to get from Sydney to Wisemans Ferry is via the M2 motorway and the Old Northern Road through Dural. This 74km route will only take you about 1.25 hours.
Via Galston Gorge
However, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, get off the main road and explore. Head to Hornsby and then take Galston Road through the lush surrounds of Galston Gorge. Look out for the one-way wooden bridge across Tunks Creek.
This 81km route will take about 1.5 hours.
Via Berowra Waters ferry
Although this way adds a lot of time to your journey, it is pretty cool taking the car onto the ferry. The kids will absolutely love it! Stay in your car and stick your heads out the sunroof, or let your designated driver take the car on and you and the kids can go in the pedestrian section.
The Berowra Waters ferry is one of five cable ferry crossings of the Hawkesbury River system. The crossing is 250m long and takes about 3 minutes. The ferry operates on demand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s free.
This 86km route will take about 2 hours.
The first time we visited Wisemans Ferry Australia we did a much longer drive all the way up to Peats Ridge, then back along Wisemans Ferry Road as it winds along the Hawkesbury River. This is quite a scenic route, but is very time-consuming. I’m not sure it’s worth the drive, but if you do try it, the little town of Spencer is adorable. Grab a bacon and egg roll from the General Store and sit by the river while the kids feed the ducks.
Find more great family-friendly destinations in New South Wales here.
Whichever route you choose you will pass Hawkins Lookout 5 minutes before you reach Wisemans Ferry. Take a few minutes to pull over into the parking and picnic area to enjoy the spectacular view of the Hawkesbury River.
As you drive along remember the 520 convicts who were employed to carve the road out of solid bedrock. In some places the steep stone retaining walls are up to 12 metres high and supported by massive buttresses. It is now part of the Old Northern Road and has been classified by the National Trust.
Things to do in Wisemans Ferry
For a tiny town there’s plenty of things to easily fill a day. It would also be a wonderfully peaceful place to spend a night or two. You could explore the surrounding countryside or just take in the serenity.
Wisemans Ferry pub
The Wisemans Ferry Inn is a super family-friendly pub, where you could easily pass a few happy hours. On weekends and school holidays the kids will love exploring Kidtopia.
Sit on the shaded deck, glass in hand, while the kids race around the the lawn below. There is a jumping castle, soft toy blocks, stage, petting zoo and face painting (on Sundays). All free!
Saturdays are quieter than Sundays and try to get there early as it can get very busy. While you may have to queue for a while to order, generally meals are prepared amazingly quickly. On our most recent visit I had the grilled barramundi on spiced rice special and it was delicious. Highly recommend.
More information here.
Cobham Hall Museum
Cobham Hall is the original building on the Wisemans Ferry pub site, which has been changed and extended over time. Dating from 1826 it was the residence of Solomon Wiseman, the founder of the town, and is set up as it would have looked back then.
Solomon Wiseman is an ancestor of author Kate Grenfell and she based her novel (and TV miniseries) The Secret River on his history here.
With free entry it is definitely worth a look around. More information here.
Wisemans Ferry park
At the other end of town (a 2 minute drive!) is Wisemans Ferry park. This is a huge shady area with BBQs, picnic tables, toilets, playground and beach. The sort of place where families gather for celebrations and hang out there all day.
There’s even a kiosk on-site so you can relax with a coffee while the kids climb trees and skip stones.
More information here.
Wisemans Ferry playground
The playground in Wisemans Ferry park is a wonderful mix of modern climbing nets, slides and swings, as well as stepping stones and balance beams made from rough hewn logs and sandstone blocks.
Mandarin picking near Wisemans Ferry
When it comes to mandarin picking Wisemans Ferry is the place to be. There are two pick-your-own citrus fruit farms within 15-20min of the town.
See map above for farm locations.
Wisemans Ferry ferry
If you don’t have time to take the Berowra Waters ferry mentioned above, then give the Wisemans Ferry one a go. Take the car or just take yourselves. It’s free!
This ferry operates 24/7 (no timetable required!) and takes 4 minutes. Like the Berowra Waters one, it is one of the five cable ferry crossings of the Hawkesbury River system.
In the 5 minute drive between Hawkins Lookout and Wisemans Ferry you will pass signs to various bushwalks. We stopped at one on the left as you leave Wisemans Ferry and took a lovely bushy stroll to the rocky clearing pictured below.
The kids loved scrambling over the rocks and seeing if they could spy any wildlife. You can even see the river down below through the dense surrounding foliage.
Wisemans Ferry camping and accommodation
For a real escape an overnight stay is required. Maybe even a couple of nights!
When you’re soaking up a natural beauty like Wisemans Ferry, camping is the perfect way to feel a part of the great outdoors. Del Rio Wisemans Ferry caravan park is jam-packed with activities the kids will love, like jumping pillow, mini golf and water park. A week long stay might be needed to try them all out! Click for the best price.
The Wisemans Ferry hotel is part of the same property as the pub, so has a sensational location. Click to check prices and availability.
If you fancy a bit more luxury then Wisemans Ferry Retreat will suit. Manicured grounds including pool, tennis courts and golf course. Click for prices here.
Check out their locations on the map above.
|Resort||Type of accommodation||Star rating||Click to check latest prices|
|Del Rio Riverside Resort||Campsites and cabins, lots of activities on-site||3.5 stars|
|Wisemans Inn Hotel||Private rooms at popular pub, some with shared bathroom||3 stars|
|The Retreat at Wisemans||Comfortable rooms with ensuite, luxurious surrounds||4 stars|
Wisemans Ferry restaurants
We haven’t yet been able to tear ourselves away from the pub, but the Wisemans Ferry cafe looked very popular with cyclists.
The Wisemans Ferry bowling club also looks worth a try, especially if you’re staying for a night or two. They have a bistro that’s open for lunch and dinner.