Best Day Trips from Sydney

by Brad Fein

No matter if you live in Sydney or are there just for a visit, you will quickly learn that the city has enough attractions to keep you occupied. But if you want to venture into Australian nature and see its gorgeous landscapes, flora, and fauna, you don’t have to go far. These places are perfect getaways to recharge the batteries and get away from the city in one quick drive. So, if you are seeking for a short adventure, here are the best day trips from Sydney that has it all.

1.Royal National Park

Just like any national park, the Royal National Park offers a lot of things to see and experience. Eucalyptus bushland is perfect for walking, while coastal cliffs are ideal spots for a picnic and admiring a breathtaking view. Swimming under waterfalls and canoeing the Hacking River are the most popular activities here, but those less adventurous can cycle the Loftus Loop Trail only 6 miles long. 

Whale watching starts in May and ends in November when these amazing animals migrate north for the winter. Marley Beach and Jibbon Beach are remote and offer perfect secluded spots to go surfing and sunbathe away from the crowds. Climb to the Wedding Cake Rock to take a better and more magnificent look of the whole area with the most romantic sunsets in New South Wales.

2.Blue Mountains

With only two hours away, Blue Mountains are one of the most often visited places from Sydney. The region is full of astounding nature with lookouts like Echo Point to marvel at the view of the whole area. This is the favorite spot for hikers with trails like Grand Canyon Walk and Federal Pass going through the native flora and waterfalls.

To get better acquainted with the local plant life, visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah. Glow Worm Tunnel is an otherworldly attraction in Lithgow where countless bioluminescent fungus gnats line the walls and ceilings giving it an eerie glow. Scenic Railway – the steepest railway in the world – runs down to the Jamison Valley, but for something more relaxing, book a treatment at the Echoes Day Spa.

3.Southern Highlands

Southern Highlands is barely an hour away from Sydney but it offers a completely different feel. Full of forests and hills, this is the region that has numerous towns and villages you can explore. If you like antiques, stop by Dirty Janes – a large indoor market. It also has a tea salon where you can sip this hot beverage from the finest china and have a light meal.

The Carrington Falls offers benches and tables for picnics right by the waterfall and you can go for a bushwalk in the nearby area. Wombeyan Caves are a popular tourist attraction in the Southern Highlands with many endangered species living here like possum, wombat, and wallaby.   

4.Kangaroo Valley

South of Sydney, you will find a true Australian countryside ready to serve as an ultimate escape from the urban chaos. Visit Yarrawa Estate Winery to taste locally produced wines, as well as jams from the fruits grown by the vineyards. Kangaroo River offers a lot of fun activities like kayaking, especially if you have children. Mannings Lookout is ideal to take a look at the whole area, while you can hike or ride a horse through the eucalyptus forest and hills.

If you are lucky, you may spot wombats in your exploration since many of them live here especially in the meadows. Sandstone Hampden Bridge is a true testament to Victorian architecture and you can walk to the top of the Fitzroy Falls from there. Flavors of the Valley offers cooking and soap making classes that will teach you how to eat healthily and take your mind off the daily troubles.

5.Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Combining history and lush landscapes, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a wonderful way to meet Aboriginal culture. Take a tour of the area on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk that will show you art made by the Guringai people.

Climb to the West Head Lookout for a better view, but the real charm here is in many creeks and coves you can explore by the paddle boat. Only 90 minutes away from Sydney, this is a favorite camping ground for families and people looking for an idyllic escape, like The Basin campsite surrounded by wildlife. 

Park scenery
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6.Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley is not only a famous wine region in Australia but the whole world. Its Sémillon and Shiraz are one of the most appreciated wines among the sommeliers and tourists come here purposefully for tasting tours. For a truly relaxing day away from the city, pair vineyard sightseeing with luxurious Hunter Valley accommodation and fine dining in one of the many restaurants.

Indulge yourself in spa treatments, walks through the vineyards and visit the chocolate factory. Hikers can have a relaxing walk down the Mountain View Trail, while those interested in something less strenuous can play mini-golf and enjoy many adorable gardens.


Kiama is a charming seaside village full of cafés and famous for Kiama Blowhole – a gorgeous salty fountain created by waves spurting out through the crevasse in the nearby cliff. But this is not the only reason you should visit this Australian community. One of the best ice creams spots Ice Creamery is right here in Kiama, as well as many golf courses to have a relaxing afternoon.

Trails like the Kiama Coast Walk will take you through lush scenery over rocky shores, secluded beaches, and rivers. Besides exploring the area, you can go on a cruise for dolphin watching, do some kayaking and even rock climb the local cliffs.

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8.Palm Beach

If you want to escape the crowds of the famous Sydney beaches, take a ride outside of the city to Palm Beach. The Boathouse cottage is a great way to start your day trip with fresh buttermilk scones and a cup of coffee.  A view from the Barrenjoey Lighthouse will give you a good view of the dunes and the surrounding area. 

Pittwater kayaking tour will show you the Palm Beach from the see, but you can also have a good look at it when surfing. If you want to hang out with your friends for a day, have a go on the Palm Beach Golf Course and go sailing the Broken Bay.  West Head Lookout is full of Aboriginal art and a perfect way to have a family picnic and hike.

9.Nan Tien Temple

A Buddhist temple of Nan Tien is located some 50 miles from Sydney and is a wonderful way to find out more about this religion, architecture and relax. This is one of the biggest temples in the world completely built based on Chinese architecture in 1995.

Besides enjoying the views and peacefulness of the temple and its surrounding area, you can also participate in some of the activities. The temple offers daily meditation classes and tai chi lessons in nature, but you can also learn calligraphy and more about Buddhism. For those looking for a truly serene place to escape the city, Nan Tien Temple is a great way to get to know yourself and de-stress.

10. Port Stephens

Another destination you can reach by the two-hour comfortable ride from Sydney, Port Stephens won’t disappoint you with scenic views and fun adventures. This is where the wild dolphins live and you can even go snorkeling to play with them on one of the many available tours. Another popular water activity in Port Stephens is kayaking although with 26 beaches it’s hard not to simply sunbathe and swim.

Whale watching cruises start from Nelson Bay but are only available from May to November, so if you miss them, go horse riding on the Stockton dunes. On the other hand, camel riding at Oakfield Ranch and fresh seafood at local restaurants will also be a great way to spend your day trip from Sydney.


With so many amazing places for the best day trips from Sydney, it would be a shame not to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. Just choose a destination one weekend, hop in your car and head to a relaxing adventure that will help you forget your worries at least for a day.

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