We all know that Sydney is one of the most popular destinations in Australia to visit and rightly so, but there’s plenty beyond the city walls to keep you amused too.
If you do fancy getting out of the metro area for a bit to see some quieter and more peaceful destinations, then check out some of these super excursions.
Easy to access and well worth the effort, you won’t be disappointed by any of these 8 great Sydney day trips, which will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
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#1 Hunter Valley
With over 100 vineyards, the Hunter Valley is New South Wales’ premier wine region.
There is plenty to keep you busy here if wine tasting tours are your thing, otherwise sampling some of the other local produce, such as cheese, olives or chocolate, is bound to tempt you.
There are also 174 national parks in the Hunter Valley, another reason it’s one of the best Sydney day trips so there really is no excuse not to enjoy the best of this beautiful country area.
#2 Blue Mountains
Tucked behind Sydney to the west of the city, sit the wonderful Blue Mountains, so called because of the fabulous blue mist the multitude of eucalyptus trees there create.
A range of little towns dot this breathtaking area and Katoomba, in the heart of the Blue Mountains, is probably the best place to head if you’re just enjoying this fantastic Sydney day trip.
From Katoomba you can enjoy a trip on the great skyway or stretch your legs with a wonderful walk to views of the 3 sisters – one of the most famous Australian lookouts.
A little further away and caves, abseiling and bushwalking opportunities all present themselves.
It can get a bit chilling up here however, especially outside of the summer months, so make sure you bring a few layers with you!
#3 Royal National Park
Situated south of the city, a visit to the Royal National Park is certainly one of the most incredible Sydney day trips to make.
The Royal National Park is actually the world’s second oldest national park and is most famous for the incredible figure-8 pools which have become a huge Instagram hit.
Hike down to the pools to enjoy a refreshing dip and snap a selfie in one of Australia’s most iconic locations, although please do read the warning signs regarding high tides and other dangers VERY carefully.
Besides the pools, there is so much to see and do in the Royal National Park, that you’ll be hard pushed to cover even a fraction of it in a day.
My advice, therefore, is to start early (the park opens at 7am) and plan as much as you can in advance.
The easiest way to get to Royal National Park from the Sydney is to drive. Vehicle entry fee is $12 per day.
#4 Taronga Zoo
Located in the city, Taronga Zoo is one of the best Sydney day trips if you’re more limited on time.
Established in 1916, Taronga was the first public zoo founded in New South Wales and is now home to over 4000 animals.
As well as exhibiting a huge range of different species, the zoo also has some wonderful breeding and education programmes you can easily learn about during a visit there.
A really great day out for all the family.
#5 Northern Beaches
Simply catch an easy ferry across Sydney harbour and you can find yourself at the start of the city’s northern beaches.
One of the most famous Sydney day trips is a pilgrimage to the enclave of Manly, which has some great cafes and a lovely beach.
Another great one is to Palm Beach.
Whale watching on the northern beaches is also popular at the right time of year and the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is another must see here.
#6 Cockatoo Island
A UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the middle of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island is one of the easiest Sydney day trips because you don’t have to go too far!
Hop on a ferry there and very shortly you’ll feel as though you’re in a different world.
Enjoy a ghost tour or an audio tour and learn about the fascinating history of the island, including the important role it played in the early European settlement as a penal colonial and key shipbuilding site.
Otherwise, just go on a stroll or savour the fabulous views of the city.
Either way, a trip to Cockatoo Island is not to be missed and, if you want to stay a little longer, camping or holiday house accommodation is available to book for overnight stays.
#7 The Basin
Located in Ku-Ring-Gar Chase National Park, The Basin is Sydney’s most popular beach camping spot and one of the top weekend or day trips from Sydney.
North of the city, you’ll need to get a ferry or water taxi to this great spot, but once there you’ll be rewarded with great picnic spots and fantastic swimming beaches.
The Basin is a perfect outing with a group of friends, so why not round up a crew and get out there – the entrance fee is only $3 each!
5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR AUSTRALIA
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national park! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strollling, I love mine
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
#8 Kangaroo Valley
Known as Australia’s most beautiful valley, and only 2 hours from Sydney, Kangaroo Valley is the perfect city escape.
Relax in some beautiful natural surrounds among rainforest trees, sparkling rivers and waterfalls as friendly country communities welcome you.
A rich cultural heritage encases the area, which is now renowned for its great dairy production.
There are also plenty of walking and kayaking opportunities for the active or vineyards and cellar door tastings for the more sedate!
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So those are the 8 fantastic Sydney day trips I think it’s well worth leaving the city for …. where will you go first?!
8 thoughts on “8 Fantastic Sydney Day Trips Worth Leaving The City For!”
Timely advice, I am moving to Sydney next week. and are planning a weekend in the Hunter Valley to hit all the wineries (obviously for research purposes)
Awesome Darren. Enjoy the wineries and hope Sydney treats you well 🙂
Thanks very much. Very impressive blog. Kindly advise the most economical and reliable water taxi company from Airlie Beach to the Whitsunday Islands – Daydream, Hamilton, etc. We wanted to do walk-off the beach type snorkelling for 30minutes – an hour just for the experience before they are all destroy by coral bleaching. Any recommendations greatly appreciated. I realise that it is very weather and tide dependent. Thanks/Ann
Hi Ann, thanks for your comment and glad you are enjoying the blog. I can only speak from experience and tell you that I used a company called Scamper to get from Airlie Beach (Shute Harbour) to the Whitsunday islands. This was for an overnight, independent camping trip, but snorkel gear was included. I thought there were very good. Otherwise, strolling the Airlie high street will give you tons of options for snorkelling tours. Booking just the night before is likely to give you more bargaining power as they always have spaces left they are looking to fill. See my posts on 10 Free Things to do in Airlie Beach and How to See the Whitsundays the Cheap Way for more ideas. You can also sign up at the bottom of these posts to receive free my eBooklet about 8 Ways to see the Whitsundays for Less! Hope that helps 🙂
One day trip that I enjoyed in Sydney was to Featherdale Wildlife Park. Wish I could’ve made it to the Blue Mountain s!
Oh I haven’t heard of the Featherdale Wildlife Park Shelly, so thank you for bringing to my attention. I can definitely vouch for the stunning scenery of the Blue Mountains however! Highly recommended!
You mention some good day trips. Your readers may not be aware that the Northern Beaches is not really a day trip by public transport as the ferry from the city is 36 mins each way and the bus from Manly to Palm Beach is almost 2 hours each way. There are lots of great stops on the way and moreover, away from public transport routes. A better way may be to take a tour. There are a number of private and group tours available.
Hi Bruce, thanks for your comments here – appreciate you leaving your expert opinion, but I do also see you work for a Sydney Tour company, so wondering if your views may be swayed by this at all? That said, I do love to build multiple stops into day trips (super idea) and if this is possible on a budget, then great! Otherwise, it’s likely to be public transport for me. Wishing you all the best, Steph 🙂