The house is up a severe set of steps, but the view is magnificent.
Hawkesbury River, NSW
Bar Point, Hawkesbury River
Phone: 0401 308 888
The location Bar Point is only an hour and 15 minutes from Sydney's CBD, but it is those last 15 minutes that make all the difference. You park the car at the Brooklyn Bridge, under the freeway, and the water taxi takes you into another world - up the Hawkesbury to a grand, sweeping bend in the river framed by eucalypts, sandstone cliffs, fisherman's cottages and jutting jetties. It feels as if you've arrived on an island as there's no road access.
The place The house is up a severe set of steps, but the view is magnificent. It is a modern Glenn-Murcutt-style shed that spills down the hill and has two separate accommodation areas - perfect for two couples or a place to hide kids with a DVD while Ma and Pa sip good wine and feast on blue cheese.
The experience The feeling is one of utter relaxation. There is bugger-all to do. You can go for a walk or kayak on the river. Or, you could sit on the balcony in the sun and read a book and enjoy the view. Or, you could take along your cookbooks and all your food (there's no shop) and do some cooking. Thankfully, mobile phone coverage is patchy.
Don't miss After you've totally relaxed, a five-hour lunch at Peats Bite (02 9985 9040; peatsbite.com.au) is essential.
A boat picks you up and ferries you to a sunny bend in the river and this wonderful restaurant. The wine flows as courses of delicate and interesting food arrive at your table. Afterwards, just putt off into the sunset for home.
Need to know
Cost: $840 for the weekend for two. Plus $70 each way on the water taxi.
Where: 50km (1 hour's drive) north of Sydney, plus 15 minutes in a water taxi.
Wheelchair access: No