Situated just to the north of Sydney, Wisemans Ferry makes a lovely place to pass a relaxing day.
The historic community takes its name from Solomon Wiseman, the ex-convict who had the land granted to him in 1817. Ten years later, he established a ferry crossing over the Hawkesbury River, in order to provide logistical assistance for the Great North Road that was being laid to Newcastle. Two years after, when the road was repositioned, so was his crossing. Today, the cable ferry is still in operation, providing a free service for pedestrians and drivers wishing to traverse the 366 metres that separates the two landings. That makes Wisemans Ferry the oldest continuously-running service in New South Wales- and possibly Australia, too. Even though the town is situated on the south (i.e. the Sydney side) of the Hawkesbury, visitors should nevertheless make a point of hopping aboard. It feels like you're taking a step back in time.
A more literal way of taking a step back in time is by strolling along that convict-built road. Now known as the Old Great North Road, 1.6 kilometres of it is accessible. Thanks to the combination of colonial relics, interpretive signage and lovely surrounds, it is an enjoyable experience.
If all that driving and exercising has worn you out, have a pit stop in Wisemans Ferry Park. Cleverly situated on a bend in the river, and thoughtfully provided with barbeques, picnic tables and toilets, it is a picturesque and peaceful place in which to unwind.
Yet there is an even better spot- Hawkins Lookout. Although it is more difficult to reach, the effort is worth it, as there are spectacular views on to the Hawkesbury. And besides being more secluded and scenic, there are also picnic tables.
There are several other ways to while away the hours. You can nurse a drink in the Wisemans Inn Hotel, the sandstone pub in which old Sol formerly lived. You can play a round of golf at the local course, which is situated alongside the river. Or, if you're feeling up to it, you can sample some of the numerous walks to be found in the area. Given that there are three national parks close by, there is no shortage of tracks to choose from.