Kayaking and camping along the Hawkesbury River

How fickle is this weather! Just yesterday we were leisurely floating down the Hawkesbury River, basking in the warm sunshine of late winter, laughing and looking forward to spring and the start of the kayak netball season. This morning, we awoke to drizzly weather and a dip in the temperatures. Looks like it’ll stay crappy most of this week. All the more to be thankful for the clear blue skies this past weekend then, despite some epic winds we had to battle through to get to our bush camp at Gentleman’s Halt.

A quick recap: our friend Laura of Sydney By Kayak organized a getaway camping trip by kayak along the Hawkesbury River this weekend. Leading up to the trip, we checked the forecast obsessively, worrying over the capricious weather and the warnings of gusty winds of up to 24 knots on Saturday. We bit the bullet anyway; the promise of fun company over delicious camp fare was too good to resist. So early Saturday morning, we loaded up our kayaks full of gear, and held our breaths as we eased the first boats into the water. Several of the kayaks hung precariously close to the waterline, and the duffel bag of sleeping bags and mats that we strapped onto the back of Jeff’s kayak slipped off into the water in the last bit of the paddle where the waves were the most ferocious. But everyone and everything made it safely to shore in the end, albeit a little wet.

Kayaking along the Hawkesbury River

Kayaking along the Hawkesbury River
Enjoying the calm before the winds

Laura spared no effort in putting together the menus for our dinner and breakfast the next day, much to our effusive delight and the envy of the other groups of campers who drifted by our campfire, enticed by the smell. For dinner, we had starters of mushroom, capsicum, and halloumi kebabs with herbs, followed by roasted broccolini and sweet potato and entrees of tandoori lamb chops. We finished off with the requisite campfire smores and spent the rest of the evening huddling in front of the camp fire, trading tales with a couple hikers who joined our cozy glow.

Camping at Gentleman's Halt along the Hawkesbury River

Camping at Gentleman's Halt along the Hawkesbury River

Camping at Gentleman's Halt along the Hawkesbury River

Camping at Gentleman's Halt along the Hawkesbury River

Sunrise along the Hawkesbury River
Sunrise – and moonset – along the Hawkesbury River

Since we planned for a noon departure in the morning, people woke up at different times. A few of us awoke before the sun and restarted the fire to make some coffee and get a bit of warmth. For a pre-breakfast we had melted Tim Tams on toast, then Laura whipped up a few batches of scrambled eggs with cheese, dill, and smoked salmon, topped with lemon aioli. Camping, gourmet style. On the other side of the fire, one of the hikers rejoined us with a couple cans of baked beans and sausages that he heated up over an enamel saucepan. Camping, Brokeback style. 😀

Breakfast of champions

Our fantastic group
Our fantastic group

Packs a lot lighter after we polished off most of our food, wine and beer, we restrapped our gear to the kayaks at midday and made our way back along the river. A fun, but too-short trip!

Kayaking along the Hawkesbury River

Hawkesbury River Kayaking

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