Hawkesbury Afloat

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if we are late to pick up the Houseboat?

Do not be late, but if for some reason you are.............
One can expect delays heading north out of Sydney on a Friday afternoon so we encourage hirers to try and give themselves an additional 1 hour for travel (try and get time off work). If you are expected to be late call the marina ASAP. You require a minimum 1/2 hour to load your Houseboat, 10 minutes for paperwork and 1/2 hour for instructions. Our staff are here till 4:30pm consequently late arrivals may expect to have to stay at the Marina on a berth.

These are your options:

  1. You pay the late arrival fee to cover staff costs (if sufficient time has been given to us to organise this)
  2. You remain on the marina, at least one person in the group must have arrived by 4pm (noise restrictions apply as Brooklyn is a residential area)
  3. Arrive the following day but booked rate still apply
  4. If available the Houseboat can be placed on a mooring at Brooklyn Marina, at least one person in the group has to have arrived by 4pm (noise restrictions apply as Brooklyn is a residential area)
  5. THE BEST OPTION - If someone arrives early enough to be shown through, fix up the paperwork and drives the Houseboat to one of the bays, the late arrivals can organise for a Water Taxi to take them to the Houseboat

How do I pick up people who are arriving later ?

A few options:

  1. the easiest way is to book in a water taxi (0422 300100)
  2. if it is before 4:30pm and you have not travelled further than our drop off point then we could drive them out to your houseboat
  3. hook up to our courtesy mooring at our Marina and take the dinghy in to the Marina to pick the people up. Remember the dinghy should not be overloaded nor used in the dark.
  4. hook up to our courtesy mooring at Hawkesbury River Marina (there are only 3 moorings here) and take the dinghy to the pontoon at McKell Park to pick the people up. Remember the dinghy should not be overloaded nor use in the dark. The tides there are very very strong so we highly recommend you use a life jacket.
  5. Do not use the jetty at Kangaroo Point or at Parsley Bay and certainly NOT at Cottage Point.
  6. the safest way is to book in a water taxi (0422 300100)

How do I get there if I don't have a car ?

Option 1: Brooklyn has a railway station called Hawkesbury River railway station. Be sure your train stops here. The train trip from Gosford or Hornsby is about 20 minutes. Phone us at Brooklyn Marina and we will pick you up for a small fee per trip. Brooklyn Marina is NOT at the railway station. The marina there is called Hawkesbury River Marina.

Option 2: book a chauffeur driver  (0412242453 or email: jcyourdriver@gmail.com)

What if I'm from Interstate or Overseas ?

If travelling by road then use our easy to follow Detailed Directions Guide - the pictures will help you. If, however, you are coming from the airport then consider taking the shuttle bus to Central Station or Hornsby then the train to Hawkesbury River Railway Station. Phone us on arrival and we will pick you up.

Is there parking at the Marina ?

There is free car parking at the marina, however we ask that you limit it to 2 cars per houseboat.

Please ask the office staff for instructions on where to park as we have off-street parking for houseboat customers.

Do I need a special boat license to drive a houseboat ?

No, you do NOT need a special boat license to drive our boats. You do, though, need to be at least 18. The same rules apply as on the road - DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE !

Will you give me some instructions on how to drive the houseboat ?

To settle your nerves we explain the navigation rules and brief you on the full operation of the boat. We give you a full lesson on the water, before you know it you'll be 'an old salt'. You are never on your own, as you can contact us if you are unsure of something whilst out on the river.

YOU MUST read and understand the "HANDBOOK" which you can download from our website as a PDF file but is also sent to you as a PDF by email. This Handbook explains everything about the boat and much more.

Is the boat insured ? What happens if I damage it ?

The boats are fully insured provided the conditions of the Hire Contract are fulfilled - you are responsible for damages and losses of equipment up to the value of your bond. Willful or negligent damage is not covered. Our boats are expensive to replace - look after them !!

What do I need for the holiday ?

Our houseboats are fully equipped with cutlery, crockery, glasses, pots , pans and other kitchen utensils. Additionally, we have dishwashing equipment, toilet paper (4 rolls supplied only), tea towels, gas lighters. You need to bring your favourite pillow, doonas, linen and towels (or hire all of these from us for $25 per person). Storage space is limited so pack wisely and we suggest soft bags as they are easily storable. Don't forget a hat, sunglasses, sun care lotion and hand soap.

It might be also wise to bring extra rolls of toilet paper - this should not be 3 ply paper as it will cause problems.

Are there any fish in the river ?

Of course (check our gallery), but they can be slippery little suckers! Bring along your favourite rod and reel. Bait, fishing rods and hand lines may be purchased in Brooklyn. You need to organise a fishing licence before your arrival (Ph: 1300369365)

Are there any restaurants on the Hawkesbury River ?

YES. There are some of the best restaurants in Sydney, most of which can only be accessed by boat.

  1. Peats Bite Restaurant at Sunny Corner (accessible only by boat). Ph: 9985 9040. We highly recommend this restaurant as they have their own moorings and the opportunity to berth at their marina.
  2. Berowra Waters Inn Restaurant. Ph: 9456 1027
  3. Berowra Waters Tea House. Ph: 9456 1454
  4. Cottage Point Kiosk. Ph: 9456 3024
  5. Cottage Point Inn Restaurant. Ph: 9456 1011 (There are only two public moorings available and anchoring is not permitted. It is advised that you/the hirer secures a public mooring and then calls on the day to find out if there are availabilities).   

Is there any music on board the boat ?

All our Homecruiser Houseboats have blue tooth stereos which do NOT have CD players. All other houseboats have CD/radio players. Some even have loudspeakers outside. Be sure to bring along your favourite CDs.

It would be best to bring an IPod or similar (with a charger that plugs into a USB socket) and then can be played over the Houseboats stereo - called an ITrip.

Not all the cd/radios on the houseboats have the audio plugs for IPODS and MP3 players but you can bring along a wireless FM transmitter such as a digidock or ITrip.

Or perhaps bring along loudspeaker units that can be charged from 12 volt USBcharging points and blue tooth this with your Ipod, IPad or IPhone.

Remember, there is no normal 240volt household power on the boats.

Is there a TV or DVD player on board the boat ?

Our larger Homecruiser Houseboats have DVD players with USb plugs. All other houseboats do not have a YV or DVD Player. Please note that there is no TV reception on the river. Most people prefer to get away from it all and not even use this luxury.

Are there limits to where we can travel ?

You can take the boat as far upstream as Spencer or as far down stream as Bobbin Head. Waterways Authority has set a limit to where you may travel seawards - this is an imaginary line between Juno Point and Challenger Head. A heavy fine by Waterways may be expected if you pass this imaginary line. You may NOT take the boat past this point to Pittwater, Patonga or out into Broken Bay.

We have trackers on our Houseboats so we know where you are to the meter. You can always text us whilst you are on the Houseboat if unsure of your location.

Can I buy things in Brooklyn ?

There is a general store where you can buy groceries, dairy products and newspapers. A similar store is located at Hawkesbury River Marina (opposite the train station). The local hotel has a bottle shop. There are also stores accessible from the water at Dangar Island, Cottage Point and Spencer. Remember though, we do sell ice and bait and if you require extra provisions during your stay on the houseboat we can deliver these for a nominal cost.

There is a new Coles store in Berowra, only 15 minutes away.

Is there a bank in Brooklyn ?

NO, there is not a bank at Brooklyn, but there is an ATM at the local pub (Anglers Rest). We do accept EFTPOS and cash but personal cheques cannot be accepted immediately prior to your hire. And we do not have the facilities at our Marina for 'cash out'.

Can I swim in the Hawkesbury River ?

Yes, of course. BUT ONLY IN THE BAYS WHERE THERE ARE MOORINGS - NEVER SWIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER AS THE TIDES ARE TOO STRONG!!! The Hawkesbury River is considered as one of the cleanest rivers in New South Wales. Tidal changes flush the Hawkesbury River twice per day. Consequently, the current can be very strong (weaker swimmers should be cautious and sober and if necessary use life jackets). The safer areas are at beaches or in bays. BUT, be careful.

It is also unwise to swim at sunset and sunrise (unwise for any salt water areas in Australia), as this is feeding time for sharks. There has never been a reported shark attack on the River but it is said that many have gone missing.

Is the water on board OK to drink ? How much is there ?

The water on board is normal city household tap water. We recommend you bring your own drinking water since the water on board is stored in tanks which may taste differently to what you are used to at home. There is normally sufficient water on board to last a week, economic use will of course extend this. You may fill up at Brooklyn Marina free of charge. However, you will be charged if you refill the water tanks elsewhere on the river.

How much fuel is there ?

This depends on which houseboat you are on. However, you should have sufficient fuel for the week. Each boat has a gauge which indicates how many hours you have traveled. Motoring charges are based on the hours traveled, which covers fuel, gas, oil and engine maintenance. This, we feel is fairer to the hirer as you can see exactly how much you will be charged. Travelling time can be affected by tides and wind, so plan your journeys.

Is there power on board the boat ?

Our boats are fitted with 12 volt DC power, which may be accessed by a normal USB plug socket.There is NO cigarette lighter plug on our houseboats. There is also no 240 volt power, you may NOT use appliances which run on 240 volt, such as a hair dryer, lap top charger etc. Our boats do however, have quite large solar panels which assist in maintaining a reliable supply of power. However, sparing use of power (do NOT have all lights going unnecessarily for example) will retain the power on board.

How do we keep food cold ?

Our boats are fitted with either a gas operated or 12 volt operated fridge of adequate size. Each fridge has a small full width freezer compartment. Since gas fridges have trouble keeping the cold in very hot conditions our boats have generously sized eskys for your drinks - which help give you more space in the fridge. Ice kept in these eskys can remain surprisingly long.


What do we do if there is an emergency ?

Use your mobile to phone our base (a text message to our mobile phone will ALWAYS get through to us) or other emergency numbers supplied on board. All our boats are fitted with a Marina band radio. They are easy to use and emergency assistance is not far away.

If all else fails contact a boat or people who are closest to you.

In extreme situations call 000 or 112 in areas of no reception.

All accidents and incidents must be reported to NSW Water Police (Ph: 99794044)

How well are we prepared for our holiday ?

We send you a Handbook designed to prepare you for your houseboat. This Handbook can also be downloaded as a PDF file from our website. It offers a map with a 3 day suggested itinerary, explanation of permitted moorings, rules of the River and much more. You are required to read and comprehend this Handbook before departing.

Are there taxis on the Hawkesbury River?

Yes but understand rates commensurate with time of day/night and distance travelled. Bookings are essential. You can contact Hawkesbury Water Taxi (Neil) 0422 300100

Can I organise a Seafood Platter or Provisioning or perhaps even have someone cook for us?

You have 2 options:

  1. Contact Hawkesbury River Provisioning on 0411 443 944 and they will organise food supplies prior to hiring the Houseboat
  2. Contact Mark or Josh jjsriverchef@hotmail.com (0423932665). These guys will either supply you with a meal of your choice or even come out and cook something for you, off their own boat.

What is our cancellation policy ?

The deposit less $65 cancellation fee will only be returned if notified 6 weeks before the hire period, or after this period only if we are able to relet the vessel for the full period.

Covid-19: If any Government restrictions interfere with your Booking your full deposit will be paid, less $150. Evidence of a positive Covid test will be required. However full forfeit of the deposit occurs if canceled within 7 days of the hire.

What do we do with lost or forgotten property.

We take no responsibility for any of your items left behind, forgotten or lost. If found we keep it for a week but then throw it out. It is your responsibility to collect your item(s) within a week, if in fact it has been found by us.

What activities are there on the Hawkesbury River ?

  • refer to our 3 Day Itinerary
  • go to Refuge Bay and hook up to a mooring - access the beach with a dinghy/kayak or travel up the creek at low or high tide and explore
  • hire single kayaks from us and explore
  • book in at our local Pub (the Anglers Rest) for a great meal, maybe a band, bet on the races - you will need to stay on one of our courtesy moorings at Hawkesbury River Marina and organise for the water taxi to take you to shore and pick up later
  • Oyster Farm Tours at Mooney Mooney - you will need to stay on one of our courtesy moorings at Hawkesbury River Marina and organise for the water taxi to take you to shore and pick up later www.sydneyoystertours.com
  • play board games or card games on the houseboat - Sequence, Monopoly, Twister, Poker...
  • dinghy across to the beach and have a game of cricket 
  • have a vanilla slice or lamington cook-off - premake these and then organise a taste test competition on the houseboat
  • fish .....
  • relax ....
  • read that novel you have always wanted to read
  • restaurant at Berowra Waters - pre-book and organise with them to stay on one of their moorings   www.berowrawatersinn.com
  • karaoke night on the houseboat - you can hire a 12 volt karaoke machine from us ($50)  but remember the neighbours and noise restrictions still apply on the water
  • Mooney Mooney Club – book a table and enjoy their menu, they may have a trivia night on or similar. They also have lawn bowling.
  • Dangar Island – explore this island or book lawn bowls but you will need to stay on one of our courtesy moorings at Hawkesbury River Marina and organise for the water taxi to take you to shore and pick up later
  • Bushwalking
  • Jetski (no licence required) – you will need to stay on one of our courtesy moorings at Hawkesbury River Marina and organise for the water taxi to take you to shore and pick up later


Do we have tracking devices on our vessels?

Yes, we do. In fact, before leaving on your holiday you can down load a QR code which will allow you to see where you are on our map in real time. This allows you to check safe areas and other interesting places on the River.