Snapshot of Spencer


Spencer on the NSW Central Coast 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. 

Get to know Spencer
The Hub of the Hawkesbury (or universe!)

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.

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!


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Spencer Bucket List
7 things to try in Spencer and surrounds

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, several makeshift chairs and a table not too dissimilar from a family backyard BBQ, but with river views. This is the kitsch Dunkirk Hotel where you can soak up fantastic river views before grabbing a cold drink at the nearby venues after a day of 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.

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Spencer Thai
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The Anchor
Explore nearby
Take a look at what is around the corner from Spencer

With several other Hinterland towns located on your way to the riverside town of Spencer, it's easy to shape your journey around connecting with the best bits of many Central Coast rural villages, such as Mooney Mooney for indulgent oysters at the Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed, or an immersive tour on the iconic flat-bottomed boats at NSW's only pearl farm, or Mount White saddlery and bakehouse and restaurant rolled into one and surrounded by Australian bush...there's also Mangrove Mountain with its incredible local produce (and homemade cheesecakes) for sale at The Hub of Mangrove Mountain, and then onto the quaint Wombat Cafe at Gunderman on your way to hike The Old Great North Road in Dharug National Park.

A lot to squeeze into one weekend... but when heading home south on the M1, why not take a short detour at the Mount White exit to Marlow, to FJ's secret lookout. Time it for sundown. Here, on the opposite bank to where you were just immersed in Spencer life, you'll reflect on how much colour and culture can bloom in one tiny little town.

Rural adventures
Travel smartly & safely

When planning your visit to the Central Coast Hinterland via Spencer and its surrounds, it's important to remember this is a rural and riverside town so the normal city amenities are not always nearby. Fuel up, stock up on snacks, pack plenty of water and ensure you have a fully charged phone or map to know where you're headed.

Make sure you always check ahead of your journey for weather events and road closures on Council's website. You should also take smart steps to trek safely if venturing into the Dharug wilderness - a good place to start is by following our bushwalking guide here, and to always check the NPWS website for the latest alerts before visiting a national park.