4 Hawkesbury River Cruises

Embarking on one of these great Hawkesbury River cruises is a great way to explore the stunning reach of the lower river.

Hawkesbury River Cruises

Contemplate scenic waterways, rugged cliffs, trees, and wildlife. Savour tasty food, hear entertaining commentaries, and see a dolphin or two if you’re lucky (I can assure you they’re there!) …

Disclaimer: I may receive a small commission from some of the links on this page. 

The Hawkesbury River is not very far from Sydney, only an hour away. Yet I can’t think of a greater contrast between the tranquil river and the hectic city.

Thinking of it, these Hawkesbury River cruises below offer a fabulous escape from the daily grind.

But which one to choose? Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Make an informed choice by reading below...

1. Riverboat Postman 

Hawkesbury River Cruises

Experience one of Sydney’s best day out and most popular cruise on the Hawkesbury River…

The Riverboat Postman is easy to access from Sydney or the Central Coast, and this cruise is excellent value for money.

The Riverboat Postman will transport you into another world; it will take you back in time.

The cruise is, in fact, the last official water-run postman in Australia. Since 1910, they have been delivering mail to the isolated communities between Brooklyn and Spencer that can only be reached by boat. Today visitors can take part in the experience.

The skippers on the Riverboat Postman give informative, interesting and entertaining stories of the Hawkesbury River and settlements while the boat delivers the mail. The skippers have lived in the area all their lives, so they know a great deal about the river.

It’s interesting to see how people live in the various isolated settlements dispersed around the islands. It’s also amazing these secluded communities today exist so close to a large city.

Together with the interesting tour, you'll be served fresh food…

Soon after departure, they serve their famous Anzac cookie and tea or coffee. Then at midday, they serve a fresh ploughman's lunch with cold meat, salad and bread roll. You can also buy beer or wine at a reasonable price from the bar.

Sit inside the cruise on the lower deck or outside on the upper deck and enjoy the breeze.

Departure: 10 am from Brooklyn Public Wharf and returns at 1.15 pm every weekday except public holidays.

Getting there: Brooklyn Public Wharf is located right beside the Hawkesbury River Station.

Drive or catch the train on the Central Coast & Newcastle line and disembark at Hawkesbury River Station. The cruise and train schedules are well coordinated. (Note: you must climb 100 steps at Hawkesbury River Station.) Allow enough time to find parking if driving.  

Prices: Adults $59; seniors $49; school aged children $19; family $140 (2a & 2c). 

You can book online here, or call 0400 600 111.

2. Sunday on the Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury River Cruises

If you can’t take a cruise on a weekday, experience Sunday on the Hawkesbury. It's run by the same company as the Riverboat Postman: Hawkesbury Cruises.

You'll cruise and learn about the history of these seven islands: Lion, Dangar, Spectacle, Long, Milson, Peat, and Bar Islands, travel past isolated communities that can only be reached by boat, and see the wreck of the HMAS Parramatta.

This cruise serves fresh fish n chips for lunch, and you can buy a glass of wine or beer from the bar. 

Departure: 11 am and returns at about 2 pm on Sundays.

Getting there: Brooklyn Public Wharf is located right beside the Hawkesbury River Station.

Drive or catch the train on the Central Coast & Newcastle line and disembark at Hawkesbury River Station. The cruise and train schedules are well coordinated. (Note: you must climb 100 steps at Hawkesbury River Station.) Allow enough time to find parking if driving.  

Prices: Adult $59; senior $49; school aged children $19. 

Book online here, or call 0400 600 111.

3. Boathouse Ferry Co.

Hawkesbury River Cruises

Operating the original Palm Beach ferry ‘Merinda II’, the Boathouse Ferry Co. offers scenic rides between Patonga, Palm Beach and Newport.

Enjoy stunning views of the Barrenjoey headland and West Head along the way.

It's a great way to enjoy a day at Patonga Beach and the Boathouse Hotel or Palm Beach.

Read more on the best things to do in Patonga

Read more on the best things to do in Palm Beach


The 30-minute Patonga to Palm Beach service departs Patonga Wharf at 10:25am, 12:00pm, 3:50pm, 5:10pm and 6:30pm.

The Palm Beach to Patonga service departs from Palm Beach Wharf at 9:35am, 11:10am, 2:30pm, 4:30pm and 5:50pm.

The 90-minute trip from Patonga to Newport via Palm Beach departs from Patonga at 12:00pm and 6:30pm and depart Newport Wharf at 8:45am and 1:40pm.

There will also be additional ferries on New Years Eve with a Palm Beach to Patonga service at 8:30pm, a Patonga to Palm Beach service at 10pm and a Palm Beach to Newport at 11:20pm.

Getting there

To get to Palm Beach, drive or catch the L90 bus from Sydney Central, Town Hall or Wynyard. Allow plenty of time to find parking if driving. 

Off-street parking is available and free in Patonga.  


  • Newport to Palm Beach: One way: $15; Return: $25
  • Newport to Patonga via Palm Beach: One way: $18; Return: $30
  • Palm Beach to Patonga: One way: $15; Return: $25
  • Free for children under 5 and half price for children over 5

Visit Boathouse Ferry Co. website.  

4. Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler

Hawkesbury River Cruises

Enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Nepean River with plenty of delicious food aboard the Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler. Pick a morning cruise, a 2.5-hour midday scenic cruise or a longer twilight journey.

Morning in the Gorge is a 1.5-hour cruise starting at 9.30am. You'll enjoy fresh scones with tea or coffee and beautiful views of the sandstone peaks of the Nepean Gorge. Pricing differs between weekdays and weekends – weekend prices: adults $45; seniors $39; children $19 (3-12 yrs).

Scenic Adventure Cruise is a 2.5-hour cruise starting at 11.30am. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Nepean Gorge and a delicious lunch. Weekend prices: adults $69; seniors $63; teen $54 (13-16 yrs); children $25 (3-12 yrs).

Twilight River Feast is a 3-hour cruise starting at 5.30pm. Meander past the gorges and savour a tasty meal while taking in the scenic views. Adults $79 and children $39 (3-12 yrs).

During the Christmas season, the Twilight River Feast is replaced by the 3-Course Christmas Season Dinner Cruise.

The Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler operates from Wednesdays to Sundays, rain, hail or shine.

It's suitable for people of all ages. They can accommodate a limited number of walking frames, prams and have highchairs available. Let them know at the time of booking, or choose the appropriate option when booking online.

Also, let them know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.

The paddlewheeler is air conditioned!

Getting there: Boarding is from the Nepean River Jetty, Tench Avenue, Jamisontown. Click here for directions. Parking is available near the jetty.  

Book online here or call 02 4733 1274.

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Hi! I'm Christine.

When we moved to the Central Coast from Sydney 15 years ago, we struggled to find thorough information about the beaches, bush walks and hidden gems, so we set out to explore as best we could. Now that we have visited every town, beach and secret spot, I'll help you discover this stunning region! 


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