As you can tell from the previous post, I've been for a weekend away (long weekend for some that have to work... in fact it was a long weekend in WA the weekend before too, so if I was working I would have had the best of both worlds :)
We rented a big houseboat at Wiseman's Ferry on the Hawkesbury, James, Nads and Matt and myself (2 Matts, it got confusing a couple of times after we had had a few beers) on Friday afternoon, filled it up with beer/wine and meat for the BBQ and headed off downstream at about 3pm. The boat was big, with 8 berths, on-board washroom and shower, fully equipped kitchen, and an upper deck with a bbq, table and chairs and a sun shade, it really was a proper home away from home!
The Hawkesbury is a tidal river mostly surrounded by steep hills where the river has cut it's way through the rock of the area. We motored (very very slowly) with the tide heading southish for a few hours until we found somewhere to drop anchor for the evening, and that was where I sent that post from my phone. Just before I lost signal completely (which was for most of the weekend). The other problem was that the boat had no power points and so my phone ran out of battery (well almost, I ended up keeping it off most of the time, couldn't use it anyway with no signal ;)
We went through some lovely countryside, and the sunsets here were pretty spectacular too.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Hawkesbury Countryside"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Sunset on the first evening"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Sunset with the moon"][/caption]
It was overcast/rainy for most of Saturday, and we headed down to Spencer, which was a 1 shop village where we restocked on beer. An hour or so fishing then we decided to head back up-river to Wiseman's before carrying on up-river on Sunday morning. It took ages to get back to Wiseman's, for saying we only went with the tide for a few hours it took most of the day to get almost back to Wiseman's before dark, it was (according to my iPhone map app) just around the next bend. (This phrase seemed to be the phrase of the weekend, everything was just around the next bend :) There was a lot of low hanging cloud hanging around, you couldn't see the tops of most of the hills, and occasionally the clouds came pouring through a gap in the hills, impressive to watch.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Low hanging clouds on the hills"][/caption]
Sunday morning started off rainy again, and we set out for Wiseman's, after an hour or two we hadn't got there and I started to think we were heading the wrong way, this was confirmed a bit later when we saw a stone elephant on the same side of the boat as we had seen it the previous afternoon (it sorta stands out against the rest of the scenery which was all very similar), so we ended up asking for directions from someone on the bank... Doh! We were headed the wrong way, must have got turned around in the night when the tide changed... luckily it was with us this time and so it didn't take long to make the time up :)
Monday morning was another overcast day, but it brightened up in the afternoon. We headed up-river for an hour or so, and then anchored up for a spot more fishing. Now, none of us had managed to catch anything thus far, in fact, I haven't caught anything since arriving in Australia, but that was about to change, as I managed to catch the only fish of the weekend. Haven't a clue what it was, but it wasn't that big, and was silvery and quite spiny on it's fins, but it was definitely a fish! :)
Finally we headed back down to Wiseman's to return the boat and then to the Settlers Arms Inn at St Albans, which is a nearby village named after the UK town. The Settlers Arms Inn was built in 1836 from stone hewn by convicts and has quite a bit of history, one of the oldest buildings in the area.
After a bit of lunch and a couple of beers we headed back to the city, where Matt and I caught a train at Pymble, and James & Nads went back to the Northen Beaches.
That's another thing that's different over here, the trains are double deckers, you get on in the middle and then can go upstairs or downstairs!
I finally made it back to Circular Quay and civilisation (well, power and internet anyway :) at about 6pm, but all in all a great weekend, and I got to see even more of NSW and the country.