Winter warmers at Cross Park
Winter can be the perfect time to visit the Hawkesbury. Long nights and open fires followed by misty mornings make for a perfect escape from the city.
Whilst many people think of The Hawkesbury River as the perfect summer getaway, there's plenty on offer for a winter weekend. In fact, for those that don't want to spend time trying to escape the summer sun it can be the best time to visit. At only just over an hour from Sydney, Cross Park offers a slice of paradise to all who venture here, summer or winter.
Cross Park is located on 3 kilometres of the river and offers visitors a peaceful and serene location - perfect for a relaxing Sydney winter getaway. For active types there is loads to do on the property and surrounding area. For those looking for a quieter time, escaping the city, there's really nowhere better to switch off, but without having a long drive to get here.
Whilst it's impossible to predict the weather, it's generally a degree or two warmer during the day and cooler during the evenings. This offers the perfect blend of bright blue winter skies with clear nights full of stars. The star gazing opportunities are infinite! The outdoor fire pit is the perfect place to take them all in. It's really quite special to be outside in the countryside where the stars seem to reach the paddocks - just don't get too distracted from toasting your marshmallows.
Frosty and foggy mornings call for gum boots and wrapping up warm - that includes the animals as well as homestead guests. You'll see us making sure our resident horses are rugged up and cosy and even a few of the farm hounds want an extra layer to get them going in the mornings at this time of year.
Whilst the ornamental trees may have lost all of their leaves by winter, the veggie patch is thriving. You can expect broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and lettuces or spinach - just help yourself. Perfect for soups or salads or accompanying a winter roast. You certainly won't go hungry.
Winter is a special time on the farm. our horses and ponies grow fluffy winter coats and if you get a particularly cool night you can even spot an icy whisker or two first thing in the morning. Many of our animals will be pregnant over winter - so you'll spot lots of big bellies preparing for the round of spring births. You'll spot us out and about hand-feeding a lot of the animals each day with our 'hay runs' to the cattle, sheep and horses.
Our chickens have just finished their annual moult, so they'll be back laying eggs for you again - you may even be lucky enough to spot one of our special double-yokkers!
In terms of wildlife, it's ducks galore around the pool in winter, but you'll also probably spot pink galahs, kookaburras, wood ducks and even hawks.
Even in winter there's still loads to do. Kayaking on the river can be even more fun when the sun isn't as strong (as long as you don't fall in!). For those fishermen and women among us winter is the start of superb fishing on the Hawkesbury and its tributaries. For the serious fisherman, you can read about what to expect here. For those just wanting to have a go, our private beach has a number of rods for guests to try their arm.
A long lunch at the nearby Settlers Arms Inn is a great way to while away a winter afternoon. Sitting in the winter sun, tucking into one of their hearty pies and hanging out with the peacocks who wander around the property is quite a unique experience,
And don't forget hanging out by the pool with a book in the winter sun still counts as an activity in our book!
When the sun sets, its the perfect time for that glass of red, keeping warm and toasty in front of the beautiful log fire in the homestead.
"Spent a wonderful weekend at Cross Park. The whole estate is geared up for a tranquil retreat from the city. It’s just so peaceful. As you get on the ferry you can feel that you're leaving the city behind you - yet it's only an hour away. It was the perfect blend of roaring fires, red wine and fresh country air. Our dog certainly enjoyed all the farmyard smells and was particularly intrigued by the alpacas. Will definitely be back."
"Relax around the cottage or go fishing down at the river where rods and kayaks were provided. We managed to catch a Bream. Great fun. There is an outdoor fire pit which was nice to sit by and chat."
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