Although we still have a couple of minutes to spare, Captain Chris is keen to set the Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler on course and get The Devonshire Tea Cruise in motion. Launched in 1982, the iconic paddlewheeler has been plying the Nepean River, showing off the steep cliffs of the Nepean Gorge and the wilderness of the Lower Blue Mountains National Park for the past 35 years. Decked out in polished cedar and teak, the interior feels undeniably masculine, while the exterior and churning paddlewheels feels as though I should be in America’s deep south. Offering The Devonshire Tea, lunch, and dinner cruises; the friendly and capable crew make us feel at home. Pretty soon after we cast off and head upriver, we are served our scone. Already dressed with chilled firm Chantilly cream and a better-than-most jam, the scone is freshly baked and served in true British fashion – at room temperature. It’s delicious, and if you skipped breakfast, you’d probably want another. The mint chocolates are a nice touch too. There are no set dates for this particular cruise, so check the website for sailings.
Tea: Pre-brewed loose-leaf tea poured at the bar and served in a cup. Or alternatively, there’s a choice of Twining tea bags.
Overall: It’s not all about the scones – it’s a beautiful river, and a lovely way to enjoy it.
Location: Jetty at Tench Reserve, Tench Ave, Jamisontown NSW 2750
Ph: 02 4733 1274 nepeanbelle.com.au
Reviewed in July, 2017