Sometimes you just have to escape the city and head somewhere a little more quieter. To a place where there's very little traffic, loads of blue sky and new places to explore. And lucky for us Sydneysiders, the Hawkesbury area on the outskirts of Sydney, is the perfect place to do just that.
It's in the Hawkesbury area that you will find Australia's oldest church, at a little village called Ebenezer. Built in 1809, this quaint church was also once upon a time a school, and as such is Australia's oldest exisiting school building as well.
The Church is surrounded by a historic cemetry, with graves dating back as far as 1825. It's fascinating wandering around, reading who is buried in each grave, and how old they were when they died (some of them sadly were so young).
What I love about this special place, is that you can explore every square inch of it. You can go into the Church (which is still used for services), you can see where they used to make bread for the school kids, and you can wander down to the river as well (make sure you don't let kids wander off by themselves although, as it's a big river!).
Next to the Church is the School Master's House which was built in 1817. And it's here you will find some sustenance! You can sit under the shade of the pergola surrounding the house, and enjoy morning or afternoon tea. It's open from 10am - 3pm, and is staffed by the friendliest of volunteers. They are more than happy to tell you all about Ebenezer and the Church, whilst serving you.
The Schoolmaster's House only serves Devonshire Teas - please do not arrive here expecting lunch or fancy cakes. It's just old fashioned scones, jam and cream, with your choice of instant coffee or tea. The scones are just like Nanna used to make. Perfectly light and fluffy - you receive 2 with each serve. They do sell some soft drinks as well as packets of chips, just in case you or your kids aren't into scones.
There's plenty of parking available, there are very clean toilets just behind the School Master's House (which don't have a baby change table), and all of the outdoor area is easy to access with a pram. And of course there's plenty of room for the kids to run around and play hide & seek, whilst you enjoy your cuppa and scones.
After your visit to the Schoolmaster's House, make sure you continue your explore of this part of the Hawkesbury. We recommend heading back out of Ebenezer village towards Tizzana Rd. If you follow this road you will pass wineries and lush farmland, and then you will end up at the Sackville Ferry where you can cross the mighty river on a car ferry (the kids will love this!). You can then drive home, or venture further out towards Wiseman's Ferry - we love the Wiseman's Ferry Inn for a cool drink, and bite to eat too!
So next time you need a good dose of fresh air, or a country drive, go to Ebenezer. Enjoy the country hospitality and learn about some of Australia's history at the same time - your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!
95 Coromandel Rd, Ebenezer NSW
02 4579 9350
Open 7 days 10am - 3pm
(closed over the Christmas period & Good Friday)