You don’t have to be a Sydneysider to enjoy the best day trips from Sydney. Just jump in the car and within a couple of hours you can find yourself in some of the most beautiful spots in the state. Spoilt for choice? Yes, we know. So we’ve hand-picked a selection of the best day trips from Sydney featuring quaint villages, seaside hangouts and mountain escapes.
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3. The Royal National Park
1. Blue Mountains
A day trip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains is a must-do activity for anyone travelling in New South Wales. Only a 90-minute drive from Sydney CBD, The Blue Mountains is world-famous and home to some of Australia’s most dazzling and breath-taking sceneries. Fancy an adventurous hike, rock climbing or a simple walk through lush rainforest and waterfalls? How about a relaxing afternoon strolling through charming country villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens? While you’re there, don’t miss other top attractions including Jenolan Caves, Scenic World Blue Mountains, Three Sisters, Echo Point and Wentworth Falls.
2. The Hunter Valley
Who doesn’t love the Hunter Valley? Only two hours from Sydney and surrounded by magnificent natural beauty, the Hunter Valley is an unrivalled holiday destination that keeps travellers coming back time and time again. Boasting the most cellar doors than any other wine region in the country, world-famous wineries, delicious local produce and acclaimed restaurants, the Hunter Valley is perfect for that quick day trip or an extended break. For something extra special, book a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards or book a tour by horseback. The Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley Zoo near Cessnock and Yengo National Park are also close by so there’s something to keep the little ones entertained.
3. The Royal National Park
Popular for picnics, family days out, bushwalkers, cyclists, surfers, the Royal National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the world. Only about an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD, the Royal National Park is surrounded by pristine beaches, rainforest and abundant wildlife and offers an endless amount of things to see and do. Take a stroll down the coastal cliff walks in Stanwell Tops, reconnect with loved ones on an expansive bushwalk or chase waterfalls in Wattamolla. For something a little tamed, hire a canoe from the Audley Boatshed and spend the day paddling down Hacking River while you take it all in.
Pic by: Dee Kramer Photography
4. The Entrance
The ultimate seaside escape awaits and it’s only a 95 minute drive from the Sydney CBD! Set between the calm waters of Tuggerah Lake and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, The Entrance is an aquatic playground with plenty of fun activities, watersports, bike trails, fresh seafood and, of course, the famous pelicans. A popular spot for family holidays and beach breaks with plenty of local cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect day-trip destination. While you’re there don’t forget to check out the enchanting Vera’s Water Garden, a great splash pool with magical sea creatures for the kids to enjoy!
Pic by: Central Coast Tourism
Wollongong, often referred to as "The Gong" is a vibrant coastal city about 80kms south of Sydney. Take the scenic drive along the Grand Pacific Drive and enjoy spectacular coastal views of surfing beaches and rock pools. Once you get into the hub of the city, visit the Wollongong Art Gallery for some of Australia’s finest art collections or take a trip to the Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre and discover the inspiring and interactive technologies of the ‘future world’. There’s also the Science Space, the only dedicated immersive science experience in NSW. With over 100 interactive exhibits & a planetarium show, it’s sure to keep you and family entertained. Other attractions around the area include the Nan Tien Temple, Jamberoo, the Kiama Blowhole, Port Kembla and Shellharbour.
Pic by: Above Down Under by Kramer Photography
6. The South Coast
The South Coast region of NSW provides the ultimate day trip or weekend getaway. Within easy reach from both Sydney and Canberra and blessed with immense natural beauty, including breathtaking beaches, national parks, rivers, mountains and native flora and fauna, you’ll find plenty to see and do. Stop by one of the laid-back coastal towns of Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Jervis Bay and sample the regions’ fine food and wine. Known as a ‘foodies delight’ the South coast even has a ‘South Coast Foodie Trail’ where you can indulge in more local wines, ciders, cheese, olives and chocolates. Can’t get enough of the South Coast? Venture out a little further and discover Batemans Bay, Merimbula and the Sapphire Coast.
7. Southern Highlands
For a little touch of Old England, head to the Southern Highlands. From picture perfect villages set amongst green rolling hills to spectacular waterfalls and sprawling national parks, it feels like a whole world away but in reality is only about a 90 minute drive from Sydney. The Southern Highlands is a foodie’s paradise and is home to some of the best produce including beef, dairy and truffles. Spend the day exploring the historic towns of Bowral and Berrima and top it all off with an indulgent meal at one of the many acclaimed restaurants such as Eschalot, Ludo and Biota. For jaw-dropping views, visit the dramatic Fitzroy Falls or take a stroll down the Lover’s Walking track.
Beautiful Hawkesbury, a historic riverside town 50 minutes’ drive northwest of the Sydney CBD is the perfect day trip for those wanting to experience a touch of old Australian colonial times. Discover a World Heritage convict road whilst sampling fresh local produce and go fruit picking on food and wine trails. Need a bit of adventure? Cruise or kayak down the Hawkesbury River, go bushwalking, horse-riding, fishing and mountain biking, the list is endless and a day out in the Hawkesbury will leave you wanting more. While you’re there don’t forget to check out the thrilling tree trop adventure in Yarramundi. It’s perfect for the kids!
9. The Northern Beaches
Sydney’s Northern Beaches offers a fun-filled day trip for everyone. Stretching 40kms from Manly and all the way up the famous Palm Beach, it provides the perfect back-drop for day full of sun, sea and sky. On your way discover a coastline of fantastic beaches and take advantage of great coastal views. Start or stop at Manly, an eating-and-drinking hub offering a wide range of dining options or sign up for surfing lessons as the Manly Surf School. There’s also a fantastic range of bushwalking and cycling tracks around Narrabeen Lagoon and multiple scenic look outs along the coast from North Head to Barrenjoey Head. Don’t forget to try and make time for Palm Beach, Pittwater and Whale Beach, it’ll be well worth the trip!
10. Kangaroo Valley
Visit Australia’s most beautiful valley and immerse yourself in spectacular wilderness and a tranquil riverside lifestyle. This secluded spot in the Shoalhaven region is about a 2 hour drive from Sydney and is a popular destination for kayaking, canoeing, golf and wine tasting. Take a stroll on the historic Hampden Bridge, Australia’s last surviving wooden suspension bridge and take in the cool country charm of this quaint little town. Check out the Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Village Museum and discover fascinating colonial history whilst you enjoy a freshly made pie from the Kangaroo Valley Bakehouse or from Southern Pies Kangaroo Valley. For dessert, visit the Kangaroo Valley Fudge House and Ice Creamery.
Pic by: Dee Kramer Photography