I liked Dangar Island from the moment I stepped out of the ferry.
A few things helped:
The welcoming jacarandas and the palm trees lining the shore. The idyllic setting of the cafe facing the Hawkesbury River and the bridge. The wheelbarrows and bicycles parked at the wharf instead of cars. The slower pace...
I pinched myself...
Is this really part of Sydney? Is this Island real? This was just the beginning. By the time I finished visiting, I didn’t like the place anymore...
I loved it.
This suburb is the only one in Sydney that has no cars. It must also be the suburb that has the friendliest locals. And the only place that makes you feel like settling there forever.
Welcome to my future hometown…
The walking loops are noted in green on the map.
The walk winds around the island on the lower and higher grounds for 4.3 km. You can’t get lost. All roads lead back to the ferry wharf.
On the lower grounds you’ll walk past the Bowling Club and Bradleys Beach. On the higher grounds you’ll get great views of the Hawkesbury River. You'll also walk past a Blackbutt – Rough-barked Apple Forest.
Download a self-guided walk here.
There are no big tourist accommodation or hotel on the island. No Coles or Woolworth. No tourist attractions.
So why visiting?
As I mentioned, there are no cars on the island. It’s also the only populated island on the Hawkesbury River. By its very nature the village is an isolated community. It is peaceful, wonderful and different…
The 270 or so residents carry their things in wheelbarrows instead of cars. The wheelbarrows are parked beside the ferry wharf ready for use.
School children ride their bike to the ferry wharf to catch the ferry. The ferry takes them to school in Brooklyn.
Walking around the village is surreal...
Cars can't be seen or heard, and you really notice their absence. You can walk freely on the streets and not have to watch for cars.
So the best thing to do here is to walk around the island and experience it like a local.
Drink a coffee at Dangar Island Cafe. Then walk the 4 km loop around the local streets. Enjoy the beautiful houses surrounded by lush vegetation.
Stay overnight in a holiday accommodation if you can.
Come for a tour…
When you alight from the ferry, head to the delightful cafe beside the ferry wharf. Have a frittata and fresh salad. Sit at a peaceful table overlooking the Hawkesbury River and the bridge. It’s one of those places that makes you want to stay for hours...
Then start walking.
Head up the road and turn left toward Kiparra Park.
Kiparra Park has a playground, community hall and timber Bowling Club.
The Bowling Club opens Thu and Fri dinners, Sat lunch & dinner and Sun lunch. The Bowling Club and the community hall are important places for the locals. They come together there.
Continue walking past heritage-listed Blackbutt trees.
Take the path leading down to Bradleys Beach. Have a swim.
Continue walking past the Fire Brigade.
Head up to the higher grounds...
Allow at least 2hrs 30 min to eat at the cafe and walk around the village. More if you want to drink a beer at the Bowling Club and swim at the beach.
When you take the ferry back, notice how busier and noisier Brooklyn seems to have become. It's because you have adapted to the tranquillity of Dangar Island.
Experience living on this island like a local.
Stay a night or two in a holiday accommodation. There are several holiday rentals available. You can search on a site like Stayz or Airbnb.
If it's your first time with Airbnb, you'll get $55 discount on your first stay if you sign up through this link.
The ferry departs several times a day to the island from Brooklyn Wharf in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Wharf is located right beside Hawkesbury River railway station. Getting to Brooklyn is on an easy train ride from Sydney. See the ferry timetable.
One-way tickets cost $7 adults, 3.50$ children and $3.50 concession.
The trip takes 15 to 30 minutes depending if the ferry stops at Little Wobby.
You can get to Hawkesbury River railway station on the Sydney - Newcastle railway line. The train trip takes 1 hour from Central in Sydney or 25 minutes from Gosford on the Central Coast.
I find the best tool to coordinate the train and ferry is this trip planner. Remember to also plan your return. The last ferry leaving Dangar Island is early in the evening.
You can also take the Hawkesbury Water Taxi on 0422 300 100.