NSW Top Tourism Town Finalist

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Tiny Town: population under 1,500 residents

09:00 Fri 28 April - till - 17:00 Fri 12 May.
Members of the public may lodge only one vote for one town in each category. See Terms & Conditions.

Spencer - Hub of the Hawkesbury (or universe!)

Spencer is the kind of place you need to see to believe. This small community is nestled within such vast natural and accessible beauty; between Dharug National Park and interconnecting waterways, where the Hawkesbury River meets Mangrove Creek. When visiting, you will find eclectic local characters, live music, excellent fishing spots, fresh seafood and Thai cuisine. You'll be invited to traverse educational kayak tours, spot sea eagles, and even trace ancient pathways of the Dharug peoples, carved deeper by Convicts on the Old Great North Road in the 19th Century. 

When entering Spencer as you've followed the river along Wiseman's Ferry Road, you will notice a bold sign welcoming you to the 'Hub of the Universe'. If this vibe is anything to go by, prepare to soon uncover the small but colourful community who call Spencer home. This includes taking a tour with Dr Bernadette Flynn who leads Heritage Ventures and holds an impressive knowledge of the area's history and 'voices' of the river, or listening to Mark, former bass player of Australian Crawl, share his tunes by the tide in one of the town's Sunday sessions.




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Arrive early in the morning to watch the mist softly rise over the mountains that hug the Hawkesbury River, or soak up the ambience late into the evening dining on fresh river prawns caught especially for you. Try the only Thai in the village to wrap up an unforgettable day on the waterways. Perhaps you'll simply go with the flow as far as Wiseman's Ferry, or perhaps you'll realise in the first few hours spent in Spencer there's something pretty special about this place... and you kind of want to keep it to yourself!

Spencer Bucket List - 7 things to try 

1. Attend the annual Voices of the River

For the adventure seekers and history buffs! Focused on the Hawkesbury River, Voices of the River is a flagship annual event that takes you on an unforgettable tour of the past, cruising Dyarubbin to alight at 'secret locations', abandoned sites and islands of mystery. Stories flood in from historians, geologists, astronomers, and raconteurs to bring the magic of the Secret River to life! Did we mention a quaint riverside lunch is included?

2. Book a guided heritage tour

Experienced historians and guides host regular heritage tour experiences, meandering village explorations, river cruises and bush strolls, ranging from half day to full day, plus 'tag along' adventures and weekend tours, with kayaking. Based at The Hawkesbury Duck, you can arrange ahead to peruse the memorabilia displayed from years gone by.

3. 'Gone Fishing' tinny time

Whether you visit Spencer by car, on foot, or by boat, there's an adventure in itself awaiting if you hire your own private tinny. The waters here are calm and inviting, brimming with fish and swimming with opportunities to spend hours exploring the Central Coast's southern waterways, with Mooney Mooney (NSW's only pearl farm) and Wisemans Ferry (travel bank to bank on a free 24:7 ferry) nearby.

4. Anchor up for brunch

The Anchor is a refurbished local hub for barista coffee, cold drinks and fresh brunch designed with local produce. Their warm hospitality is the perfect welcome, complemented with one of the best seats in the village, atop the wharf overlooking the Hawkesbury River confluence. Doubling as a general store and bait shop, this hub is all you need for fuelling up (except fuel itself!).

5. Snap sustainable art by a floating pontoon

Grab a photo or excitable selfie of the iconic local art sculpture by Pete Rush. This reclining woman was commissioned to support Spencer with a stunning piece of permanent, sustainable art on its riverbank. Slightly damaged in the 2021 floods, on closer inspection you'll see the sculpture, "Serenity", is made of Gymea lilly, creating a strong symbol of community resilience. Only exhibiting until the tide takes her...

6. The invisible "Dunkirk Hotel"

Not only is this not a hotel, but it's not even in Dunkirk. To further add to the mystery, this quirky spot has its own Facebook page! By Mangrove Creek it consists of a tree, decorations, makeshift chairs not too dissimilar from a backyard BBQ, a table or two and a firepit, with river views! This is Dunkirk Hotel, a fantastic patch to enjoy a lemon lime & bitters after a day hiking, boating, fishing or kayaking.

7. Dinner at Spencer Thai

Wrap the day up with enticing Thai food, made fresh and available for dine-in, delivery (if you're staying locally) or takeaway. Featuring all the classics plus vegan and gluten free options, grab a bench out the front at sunset with your BYO favourite bottle, and breathe deeply as you feel a world away from the daily grind on the other side of that river.


Two days in Spencer

Venture into the Central Coast's Hinterland gems via Spencer and you may just feel like you’ve found the “Hub of the universe”... Spencer is the hub of many things – from sustainable art, to scenic sips, from vast waterway vistas, to secret stories from the past.

The Anchor, Spencer, Central Coast, NSW for Love Central Coast.
17/2/2023. Picture James Horan
The Anchor, Spencer, Central Coast, NSW for Love Central Coast.
17/2/2023. Picture James Horan


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