Bounded by sandstone gorges, tranquil waterways and lush eucalypt forests, Berowra Waters is a tributary at the south-east edge of the Hawkesbury River. Calabash Bay Lodge, tucked snugly into the folds of the bay and accessible only by water, offers complimentary boat transfers from the Berowra Waters public jetty, or there’s the (rather pricey) option of arriving by seaplane.
Lounging on the deck while taking in the sun-speckled waters that surround the lodge, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were aboard a particularly swish houseboat. This self-contained luxury retreat sleeps eight in four sumptuous queen bedrooms, all with balconies and kitted out with 500-count organic cotton bedlinen and Missoni bath towels. The sleek, atrium-style living room is furnished with all the mod cons, including an LCD flat screen and a MiniMac loaded with movies and music for those content to just bliss out on the couch.
If hedonism in the form of in-house massages, yoga on the top deck or champagne-swilling on the private pontoon leaves you feeling a little slothful, there’s plenty of action-packed adventure to be had, too. Hop into the lodge’s double kayak to explore the nearby mangrove creeks, discover the ruins of the abandoned Federation-era Calabash Bay Hotel just metres from the back door, bushwalk through the adjoining Marramarra National Park, take a turn about the river in the lodge’s four-seater runabout or drop one of the supplied fishing lines into waters teeming with bream and flathead.
For a lengthy pit stop on the way to the lodge, slip across from the Berowra Waters public jetty in a flat-bottomed skiff to the two-hatted Berowra Waters Inn. Louvred floor-to-ceiling windows proffer views of the river and surrounding rugged gums that are almost as delectable as the signature degustation menu concocted by chef Dietmar Sawyere.
Calabash Bay Lodge
hawkesbury river, nsw
calabash road, berowra waters
phone: (02) 9365 1238
cost: $1800 for a weekend (low season; prices vary from season to season).
distance: 40km north of Sydney.
pets: by prior arrangement.
wheelchair access: no.