The Hawkesbury stands as a bountiful farming region, cherished by the Dharug and Darkinjung people for centuries as a vital source of sustenance. Orchards laden with fruits, dairy farms, vegetable gardens, and local producers' stalls dot the landscape, becoming a well known food bowl of Western Sydney.
A surprising, yet popular activity in the Hawkesbury is the game of polo. This game, steeped in class and prestige, has found a serene home in the greenery of the region. With numerous events annually, polo rallies enthusiasts and players from all corners of the country, and everyone is welcome to spectate.
Polo, a team sport played on horseback, involves teams using long-handled wooden mallets to score goals. Originating in the Persian Empire, it was once a pastime enjoyed by Persian Kings. Gaining popularity across the east and west, it became known as "the sport of kings", and today, a day at the polo in the Hawkesbury remains an immersion in culture and tradition.
In Australia, we are fortunate to have a range of local, regional, national and international events and tournaments that attract talent and visitors from across the globe. One notable event is the Countess of Dudley Cup, held every year at the Windsor Polo Club. Dating back to its inaugural event in 1910, this cup is one of the most coveted trophies in Australian Club Polo and involves teams from around the globe competing over several weeks.
The polo season has two distinct seasons, missing the extreme cold and extreme heat, and features a myriad of events and galas scattered across the year. These events are open to visitors and spectators free of charge, promising a delightful day out in the Hawkesbury. It’s a one-of-a-kind family day out. Bring a picnic rug and a platter of cheese to linger in the cool shade and soak up the atmosphere.
Numerous polo clubs line the Hawkesbury River near Richmond, with Windsor Polo Club, situated just off Kurrajong Road, hosting many major events. For details on upcoming events, check the Windsor Polo Club or NSW Polo Association websites.
On polo day, dress in your finest and commence the day with a coffee. If you’re passing through Historic Windsor, then you don’t want to miss The Watchmakers Garage. This converted garage is a bustling café and burger joint with plenty of character. You can't miss the mesmerising wall art by well-known Western Sydney surrealist artist Le Grizz. Take your time here to enjoy a coffee, brekky, or even a cheeky breakfast burger.
Another great coffee stop is The Second Home Café on Windsor Street in Richmond. As its name suggests, this café is super homey and offers delectable meals to fuel you before the polo spectacle on the flood plains of the Hawkesbury.
Post-polo, you’ll be looking for somewhere great to take the family. Join fellow spectators at The Richmond Inn. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a drink outside in the sun, and so The Richmond Inn has created an excellent al fresco dining area to enjoy the daytime. The best part is – kids eat free every single day of the week.
We love their menu of trusty pub classics done very well including their pineapple topped chicken parmi, house tacos, and bruschetta. This is a trusty and classic pub with a great buzz on the weekend. Everything is completely house-made so the flavours are fresh, clean and like nowhere else.
The Hawkesbury has so many fantastic old-meets-new pubs, and another is The Royal Richmond Hotel, a cherished pub in the heart of Richmond for over 170 years and a sponsor of the Windsor Polo Club. Committed to a paddock-to-plate philosophy, The Royal Richmond serves high-quality meals reflecting the region's culinary richness.
The Royal Richmond and The Richmond Inn are within walking distance of each other so why not try both!
If you’re looking for a special dining experience, we recommend visiting Harvest Restaurant which is located inside the beautiful Crown Plaza Hawkesbury Valley. This is a sophisticated modern Australian restaurant elevating the freshness of local produce and celebrating the flavours of the Hawkesbury. Sit down for long meal in this pristine and very relaxing venue.
Whether for the Polo or a leisurely weekend away, a range of hotels and guesthouses await your arrival.
For a touch of luxury, consider booking a stay at the Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley. Overlooking the Windsor Golf Club, this exquisite hotel provides the perfect haven to unwind after a day in this fertile and green region. Don't miss the chance to indulge in a high tea overlooking the sensational gardens.
The Richmond Inn offers some charming, stylish rooms for an easy local stay. For something different, head towards Kurrajong where you'll find some charming Bed and Breakfasts nestled amidst bushland, including The Willows and Annie’s Cottage & Garden at Trafalgar.
The Hawkesbury Region, with its rich agricultural legacy and the sophisticated allure of the of polo welcomes visitors to an experience of tradition and fun. Whether polo enthusiasts or seekers of tranquil retreats, the Hawkesbury stands as a timeless destination of cultural and natural splendour.