Cruising with the Mail on the Hawkesbury Riverboat Postman

Sydney Weekend trips, Sydney With Kids

A Ride With the Riverboat Postman Hawkesbury River NSWAssuming that we are going to become rather more selective with our travels once we have a little one in tow, Partner-in-Crime and I have been taking a few small trips around New South Wales. Our first adventure was a day trip to Brooklyn, NSW (which is significantly more quaint than the same-name New York borough where I went to grad school) to ride on the Hawkesbury Riverboat Postman cruise.Hawkesbury riverboat postman

This day trip had long intrigued me. Passengers get to ride along while the postal carriers delivered the daily mail to the remote and island settlements along the Hawkesbury River. I loved the sound of something both so old fashioned and unfussy, as well as resourceful on the part of the postal company – don’t just deliver the mail, but bring tourists along to help fund the operation. Capitalism at its cleverest!

On the day we went, we were glad we called ahead on the morning of because the postal boat was running an hour behind. Looking around the wharf at our fellow passengers, we could see that our presence was going to decrease the median age of passengers that day; though, I was happy to see a couple of grandparents/families with little ones in prams, as I am mentally marking all activities these days as can-do-with-children and cannot-do-with-children.

When we boarded, the skipper/tour guide announced that the late start that day was because the postman had been bitten by a dog (he was fine). The postman being bitten by a dog was a far too amusing story to not believe.

The ride was a half-day cruise, which included brief stops at various islands and settlements along the river where the postman would leave his gifts. The guide gave us a running commentary of information along the way, and we were free to move about the boat.

The largest settlement was Dangar Island (population just under 300). There, a couple of residents came out to meet the postal boat and collected the mail for the island. Some of the other settlements were quite remote villages with only a few houses, one was a camp for kids, and one island we passed was a former mental institution. Many settlers ran their homes on generators or solar and collected rainwater for their water needs. It is, apparently, amazingly expensive to build homes in this area because in many of the locations, building material actually had to be brought in by helicopter.

It is a pretty nice view.

Midway through the day, we were served lunch, which was a decent sandwich plate with actual plates, cutlery and the whole lot. There was even a cash bar onboard (this is Australia, after all). For $1, I purchased a card that was map of the route on one side and their recipe for the ANZAC biscuits served at morning tea on the back. It was too sweet to pass up.

 

Going under the Hawkesbury rail bridge.
It was also garbage day. This is one of the “garbo” boats that collects for the residents.
Lots of sandstone along the Hawkesbury. Sydney’s QVB was built from Hawkesburty sandstone. The one on the left is locally known by the descriptive nickname Boob Rock, or so we were told.

 

Oyster fisherman.

 

One of the rather nice looking settlements. Apparently, you can only get in and out of this  village during certain times of day due to the tides.
The postman making one of his drops.
A local resident and his dog coming out to meet the post. Dog got an ANZAC biscuit treat, apparently his favorite thing. Glad I got the recipe!

We did well with picking a beautiful day weather wise, and I do think that was important to the experience. It’s not an inexpensive adventure at $50 a head, but for the chance to spend the better part of the day on a boat, seeing a part of Australia that is otherwise inaccessible to us (and lunch and a cookie recipe to boot!), it was worth taking the punt and riding along.


If you go…

The Riverboat Postman (operated by Hawkesbury Cruises)
Website
Leaving from Brooklyn Wharf
Weekdays, except public holidays

Departs 10a.m. and returns approximately 1:15p.m.
Adult: $50 / Child (4-14): $15 / Senior: $44
Call ahead to confirm departure time
Bring a hat and sunscreen