The Hawkesbury is one of New South Wales’ best kept secrets. Situated just just north-west of Sydney this gorgeous waterway is formed by the confluence of a number rivers and creeks. While at the eastern side of the Hawkesbury, near the coast, – Lion Island keeps its unrelenting watch.
After you make your way to Bankstown Airport you will be greeted by one of our friendly staff who will give you a brief of the flight. Tea and coffee is served. Should you prefer we can arrange transport at additional cost.
Soon after take-off we head north to fly over Parramatta City at about 2000 feet. Parramatta was founded on the banks of the Parramatta river the same year as Sydney by the British in 1788. Parramatta is the oldest inland European settlement in Australia and is a major business and commercial centre, sometimes called Sydney’s “second central business district”. Parramatta has many high density commercial and residential developments which you will see as we fly over.
Flying further north we arrive over Hornsby – a suburb on the Upper North Shore. Hornsby is located 25 kilometres north-west of Sydney’s CBD. The name Hornsby is derived from convict-turned-constable Samuel Henry Horne. Today Hornsby remains a busy commercial centre and serves as a prominent land-mark as we turn east overhead.
Heading further east we arrive over this prominent land-mark near Sydney’s Northern Beaches. This magnificent white structure of worship of the Bahai faith stands 38 meters tall and is one of only seven temples throughout the world. Surrounded by greenery, it serves as an easily recognisable waypoint for our pilots. We now head south-east for Long Reef.
Is an island situated in Pittwater about 32 Km north of Sydney’s CBD. The island is approximately 1 km in diameter and its highest point is about 120 metres above sea level. To the east is the suburb of Newport, west is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and south are the suburbs of Church Point and Bayview. The island was originally named Pitt Island by Arthur Phillip, Governor of the colony, in honour of William Pitt, the British prime minister at the time. The first European settler to own land on Scotland Island was Andrew Thompson where he created a successful salt works. He renamed the island Scotland Island after his homeland. He built boats on the island until his death in 1810. The island was sold as a whole several times in the nineteenth century before being sub-divided and sold off in lots in 1906. Around 1900, salt was extracted from seawater near what is now known as Tennis Court Wharf. From the air, you will notice a number of vessels moored around the island. We now set a north-westerly heading to Lion Island.
On arrival at Lion Island, your pilot will conducts some gentle orbits over this prominent feature. Lion Island is located at the entrance to the Hawkesbury River inside Broken Bay. The name for this island is descriptive and fitting because its profile view resembles a Sphinx, a mythical figure of a crouching lion. In 1956, the Lion Island Fauna Reserve was established on the island. In 1977, it was reclassified as the Lion Island Nature Reserve under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1967 and is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales. The nature reserve covers all of the island, an area of approximately 8 hectares. Due to the island’s significant biodiversity it was added to the Australian National Heritage List in December 2006. The island contains the largest population of Little Penguins in the Sydney area. We now head west to arrive at Brooklyn Bridge – a turning point for the pilot and now head south.
This feature is a 50,200-megalitre potable water supply and storage reservoir created by the Prospect Dam. Shortly after 1808, William Lawson was appointed aide-de-camp to George Johnston and was granted 500 acres at Prospect. The property was eventually acquired by the Metropolitan Water Board. The Prospect dam was the first earthfill embankment dam in Australia and was completed in 1888. At the time it was intended to deliver water from the Nepean River to the reservoir. In May 1940 the reservoir became a part of the Warragamba Emergency Scheme. Pipes (which are very prominent as you fly east) were constructed to deliver water 26 kilometres from Warragamba. Keep your eye out when flying over the eastern side of Prospect Reservoir because this is home of Sydney’s Wet’n Wild Water Park.
Upon your arrival back at Bankstown Airport, you can celebrate your Hawkesbury River Tour with a an celebrate your Sydney Tour with a glass of Champagne and a fine selection of picnic food to cap off a memorable day.