Must Do Activities

Hills Heritage Hits

  1. Blaze the Convict Trail on the Great North Road, walk through parts of the 240km convict-built masterpiece constructed between 1826 and 1836, and revel at the engineering feat.
  2. Explore the historic Wisemans Ferry District, set amid spectacular mountain scenery and the majestic Hawkesbury River.
  3. Enjoy a day out at Cattai National Park and visit Cattai Homestead, the historic homestead of Dr Thomas Arndell, assistant surgeon from the First Fleet.
  4. Visit The Pines Historic Property and Roughley House and explore the story of the Roughley Family of Dural, from convict chains to community champions.
  5. Visit Bella Vista Farm Park, an intact historic farm complex and step back in time to learn of Australia’s earliest rural development.
  6. Experience the pioneer's history of the region at Rouse Hill Estate, a house established in 1813.
  7. Grab a bite to eat at the historic Aberdoon House Café and Community Gallery.
  8. Enjoy a picnic at Castle Hill Heritage Park, site of the Government Farm established in 1801. Meander through the many interpretive signs located at the park.
  9. Discover the complex history of Balcombe Heights Estate, formerly called Masonic Homes Estate and the significant role it played during World War 1.
  10. Trace your ancestry and discover interesting stories about your local history at the Hills District Historical Society Museum and Research Centre.
  11. Read the stories, see the photos and hear the voices of people representing various aspects of The Hills Shire’s history and development. Visit Hills Voices On Line.

Gourmet Delights and Discoveries

  1. Visit The Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers and Fine Food Markets (Castle Hill, every 2nd Saturday of each month and Rouse Hill, every 4th Saturday of each month) Visit www.hawkesburyharvest.com.au
  2. Take a scenic drive and purchase fresh produce from the farm gate. Grab a Farm Gate Trail brochure from the Sydney Hills Visitors Centre, for the best in-season produce.
  3. Meet with friends and family and have lunch in one of the Hills’ many nursery cafes or restaurants.
  4. You are spoilt for choice with one of many waterfront restaurants in Norwest, Berowra and Wisemans Ferry.
  5. Hills Gourmet Food and Wine Festival held every Spring, brings together top local restaurants and the best of local produce.
  6. Dine at the multi-award winning, Royal Oak Restaurant, located at The Mean Fiddler Complex.
  7. Learn to be a gourmet guru with Urban Graze Cooking School at Kellyville.
  8. Visit Secret Garden Café, Restaurant and Food Store, a one stop shop gourmet haven for real foodies.
  9. Combine fine art with fabulous food and visit Sassafras Creek at Kurrajong.
  10. There are two wineries in the area, which grow grapes and make their own wines. Tizzana Winery at Ebenezer and Talai Estate at South Maroota with cellar doors for tasting, wine purchase and a yarn with the local legends Peter Auld and David Moss.

For the Kids

  1. Catch the latest movies in the Hills’ two major cinema complexes, Greater Union Cinemas at Castle Hill or Reading Cinema, Rouse Hill.
  2. Lollipops Playland offer great facilities for children of all ages whilst giving Mum and Dad a break at their café.
  3. Try your hand at bowling at AMF Bowling and Laser Skirmish, Castle Hill.
  4. Spend a day at Golden Ridge Animal Farm and have a turn at holding baby chicks, ducklings, rabbits, milking a cow, bottle feeding lambs.
  5. Have a round of Putt Putt golf at Dural Putt Putt and play either one or both of 18-hole mini golf courses, which wind their way through picturesque landscape gardens.
  6. Visit the state of the art storage and collection facility at Powerhouse Discovery Centre-Collections Stores at Castle Hill, interactive displays and unique items keeps kids entertained for hours!
  7. Get the kids fit and moving with indoor rock climbing at The Edge Adventure Sports.
  8. Cuddle up to a koala and hand feed a kangaroo at Featherdale Wildlife Park set amid natural bush land.
  9. Enjoy a picturesque picnic at Wisemans Ferry Park and play on the many modern equipment dotted along the park.
  10. Go to spectacular the Sydney Ice Arena and skate like a pro, as seen in “Dancing on Ice”.

Splendid Seniors Activities

  1. Experience rural and outback Australia at Tobruk Sheep Station, set on over 150 acres of pristine rural property overlooking the Hawkewbury River Valley and Blue Mountains.
  2. Voted as having “the best Devonshire Tea in Town”, Geranium Cottage has a nursery, café and barn offering the best in gourmet delights.
  3. Cruise with Australia’s Last Riverboat Postman, along the magnificent Hawkesbury River and visit riverside communities.
  4. Hire a Coach and commission one of our local historians to do a heritage tour around the Shire.
  5. Relax under the pines of historic Roughley House and listen to the sweet sounds of jazz at Jazz at The Pines, held monthly from September to May.
  6. Visit the state of the art storage and collection facility at Powerhouse Discovery Centre-Collections Stores at Castle Hill and be amazed by the treasure trove of objects in the museum’s collection reflecting Australia’s culture, history and development.
  7. Be amazed by what’s on offer at Balanced Essentials, a range of aromatherapy blends, perfumes, incense and aftershave made from pure essential oils, which are energised using crystals. These products were created with the express purpose of enhancing awareness and activating self-healing. Group tours receive free morning or afternoon tea.

Relaxing River Experiences

  1. Discover the best of the Hawkesbury River and explore river villages, secluded beaches and coves, hire a house boat at Wisemans Ferry.
  2. Book one of many spectacular Riverfront Accommodations along Wisemans Ferry and Lower Portland.
  3. Hire a kayak or canoe and travel alongside towering sandstone cliffs in the Hawkesbury.
  4. Cruise with Australia’s Last Riverboat Postman, along the magnificent Hawkesbury River and visit riverside communities.

Top Free Things To Do

  1. Explore the historic Wisemans Ferry District, set amid spectacular mountain scenery and the majestic Hawkesbury River.
  2. Self drive the Sydney Hills Heritage Trail. Order your map and audio guide from the Hills Visitors Centre and tour the many historically significant sites around the area.
  3. Cross the Hawkesbury River on a Four Ferries Drive and take the free car ferries at Wisemans Ferry, Webbs Creek, Sackville or Lower Portland.
  4. Explore Sydney's nursery capital, from native plants to exotic and visit one of over 60 nurseries in the area. A number of nurseries have cosy cafes, so why not make a day of it and enjoy a hearty brunch.
  5. Explore Cumberland State Forest’s Sensory Trail, 350m track easy to navigate amidst spectacular bushland.
  6. Visit, Bidjigal Reserve, a hidden valley of secrets, a recreation area and bushland reserve that follows Darling Mills Creek with sweeping views of cascades, waterfalls and weathered sandstone.

Arts/Craft and Culture

  1. Visit the Hills Artisan Markets held every second and fourth Saturday of each month at Castle Hill Showground.
  2. Follow the Artisans Trail and make sure you visit, Ferry Artist,  and Ronald Coles Gallery.
  3. Find a treasure or two at the many antique stores dotted around Dural, Windsor and Wisemans Ferry.

Top Pubs, Bars and Bistros

  1. Hillside Hotel offers patrons a stylish modern hotel and lounge to relax, dine and unwind.
  2. The Mean Fiddler Complex, Australia's "Best Entertainment Venue" as voted by AHA 2007 offers a variety of entertainment in The Woolshed, The Sub Bar, The Royal Oak Restaurant and The Courtyard Area.
  3. Wisemans Ferry Inn known as popular local drink hole steeped in history.
  4. Bull and Bush Hotel offers alfresco dining and relaxed local hospitality.
  5. Castle Hill RSL, The Atrium offers a wide range of faculties and menus to cater for all ages.
  6. Settlers Arms Inn- Historic two storey sandstone Coachmans Inn dating back to the 1840s. Now a hotel with tree lined beer garden, delicious food and a wonderful ambience.
  7. Experience the relaxed family friendly atmosphere at Ettamogah Pub.

Top Parks and Picnic Spots

  1. Wisemans Ferry Park has a great riverside setting with extensive grassy flats, playground facilities, overlooking the Hawkesbury River.
  2. Hawkins Lookout-its cliff top location offers spectacular views over the Hawkesbury Valley. Great romantic picnic spot.
  3. Fred Caterson Reserve is set in bushland close to Castle Hill CBD and has a BMX track to keep kids amused. Plenty of bird life to explore.
  4. Rouse Hill Regional Park offers a cycleway, hose riding track and shelters.
  5. Castle Hill Heritage Park is a picturesque park with interpretive signs that tells the story of the 1804 Castle Hill Rebellion and early settlement.
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