Sydney's north-west is a magical place. With new infrastructure projects such as the Sydney Metro connecting the ever growing region to traditional centres of employment and activity, the Hills District and beyond is becoming an increasingly popular place for young families to peg their tents.
Despite brisk and considerable urban sprawl in suburbs such as Box Hill and North Kellyville, it is what lies just beyond those hubs of activity that feeds the souls of those looking for natural tranquillity and rest.
Old Northern Road winds its way through the district. With its origin in the centre of Baulkham Hills and the nearby Castle Hill CBD, it takes just minutes before the landscape changes and the rural feel of the suburbs of Glenhaven and Dural provide a stunning counterpoint to the images experienced moments earlier.
As farming land, cattle and stately homesteads come into view, the sweeping right-hand bend at Round Corner signifies another stage in the journey.
The last remnants of urban life are left behind.
Tea houses and nurseries sit snugly by roadsides and fruit sellers set up shop along the way. The produce is always fresh, ample and $20 goes far further than at the checkout of a multinational.
It is a place where winter frosts cause steam to rise off wooden fences as the morning sun lurches above the towering gums. A place where the crisp, cool air can be frigid in the colder months yet causes no discomfort thanks to its restorative power.
A place where a family car can be parked on the side of the road to allow children to pat a horse, chat to cattle or enjoy a picnic.
A veer right at Galston Road will lead to the famous Swane's nursery and all its seasonal colour. Continue straight and the eventual depth of one's immersion into the hills becomes a personal choice.
The Glenorie Bakery is addictive, with its extensive variety of pies and pasties. Obtaining a seat on weekends can be a challenge yet patience will usually pay off. Further on lie Cattai, Maroota and Sackville where the true majesty of the landscape is on show.
The old world charm of the Sackville ferry that transports vehicles across the Hawkesbury River is unique and Anderson's Farm on the north side of the river offers citrus picking from June to October.
Ambling lazily through the orchard just one hour from suburbia offers a serenity known only to those determined to discover it. The warm mug of tea that follows in one of the roadside cafés puts something of an exclamation mark on the entire experience.
Getting away can mean a great deal of things to different people and need not necessarily be measured by distance or time.
As the journey home begins and the sun flickers through the roadside trees, I am always reminded of that fact. For a whole lot more money, I could travel some distance, find another language or another culture.
However, what I have at my own back door might just be the most spiritual and value for money experience around.