Looking for the best day trips from Sydney?
Then you’ve come to the right article as we are experts in all things Australia – we even run group tours in Sydney – and we’ve put together a list of the best day trips from Australia.
Sydney is one of Australia’s most popular visitor destinations and is full of things to see and do. But sometimes, it can be nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the beautiful areas that surround it.
Luckily for you, Sydney is cornered in by so many naturally beautiful areas that you’ll never get tired of exploring. Even in just one day, you can see so much around Sydney and make unforgettable memories.
So to help you make those memories, we’ve created this post post which will give you 15 of the best day trips from Sydney that guarantee an amazing day out!
Day Trips From Sydney
Australians are known for classing a 12-hour drive as a short trip, but don’t worry, we’ve not included anything like that as a day trip. That being said, most of these day trips from Sydney do require a car. So if you aren’t a local, you’ll need to hire one, but trust us, that is well worth the expense as many of the day trips on this list don’t cost a penny in entrance fees!
1. Hunter Valley 🍷
Hunter Valley is a very scenic spot just a 2-hour drive from Sydney and promises unforgettable memories. Leaving behind the mayhem of a city for the peaceful countryside is one of the best switches you can make on a day trip.
Hunter Valley is renowned for its range of wineries like Tyrell’s and Brokenwood, and wine tasting is a very popular activity to do during the day trip. Sampling award-winning wines in one of the West Coast’s most picturesque spots is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on.
If you have a love for heights and panoramic views then a hot air balloon ride is another popular activity, especially in the evening – the perfect way to end your day!
We recommend leaving early in the morning and coming back later at night so you have a full day rather than just half a day in these destinations, and that goes for all of these day trip options from Sydney.
2. Blue Mountains 🗻
The Blue Mountains are one of the most enchanting locations, just a stone’s throw away from Sydney. A 90-minute drive is all it takes to reach the beginning of one of Australia’s most beautiful hiking spots.
They’re one of the most popular day trips, and nearly everyone who visits Sydney will opt to check out the nearby mountain range, and it does not disappoint.
Most people will begin their trail at the Three Sisters rock formation which offers some incredible views of the valley below before setting off on their hike.
For those who’d rather take in the scenes of Jamison Valley while seated, then a cable car ride is the perfect way to get panoramic views. But we prefer the old-fashioned hiking route 😎.
There are so many natural attractions in the Blue Mountains that many people make a few day trips out of seeing a couple each time. Some of the most exciting include the Katoomba and Wentworth Falls, the ancient Jenolan Caves and the Bridal Veil Lookout.
And if you visit in winter, the Blue Mountains get snow and you can even go skiing…who knew you could ski in Australia?!
3. Palm Beach 🏝
Palm Beach is one of the most pristine sections of coastline so close to Sydney. While there are great beaches in Sydney, it’s definitely worth heading a bit outside the city too.
Located just an hour away by car, the beach is a favourite amongst both tourists and locals. The beach boasts some incredible crystal blue water and golden sand – a picture-perfect setting for grabbing some pics for the ‘Gram.
The spot is home to an iconic lighthouse (where in Australia isn’t, right? 😂) and the headland gives some great views out into the Pacific Ocean and Pittwater.
It’s popular with both surfers and those who prefer dry land, it’s truly an all-rounder beach.
4. Kiama ⛱
Kiama is another coastal gem that lives in the hearts of visitors long after they leave Sydney. The natural beauty of Kiama is off the scale and there are lots of fun things to do in the area.
The most famous attraction to pay a visit to is the famous Kiama Blowhole which is a natural rock formation that spouts water from the sea as waves crash in. If you’ve ever visited Iceland, it’s kind of a similar phenomenon to Brimketill.
And the town itself is like somewhere out of a movie with enchanting little boutiques and cafes lining the streets – perfect for a lazy and relaxed day. It’s the definition of “quaint”, it’s so pretty.
Should you want a more active experience then taking a walk to the Kiama Lighthouse at the top of rugged cliffs is the perfect way to stretch your legs and take in some amazing sea views. We told you everywhere in Australia is known for their lighthouses!
5. Royal National Park 🏞
Royal National Park cannot be missed when visiting Sydney; it is one of the most beautiful locations in New South Wales. The park allows you to completely escape the city and immerse yourself in fresh air and nature.
The Royal National Park has a wonderful combination of coastal cliffs, hidden beaches and a treat for the senses with acre upon acre of bushlands, with walking tracks suitable for all abilities available to explore. Make sure to take advantage of that treat, and really soak in all of the sounds, smells and senses which you get while in the area.
We recommend the Jibbon Loop Track, which is the easiest route and the most popular one too. But if you’d prefer a more hands-on trail experience then cycling along the Loftus Loop Trail is quite a popular activity. Or you could even take to the water by hiring a canoe to take on the Hacking River.
6. Southern Highlands
New South Wales’ Southern Highlands are another great day trip location from Sydney, just 90 minutes from the city. The region is like something from a fairytale with cute villages, rolling hills and sophisticated but rustic wineries.
The historic town of Bowral is the first stop for most with its renowned gardens and boutiques, especially while the Tulip Time Festival is heaving in the spring.
A relaxed drive through the countryside will allow you to uncover hidden gems like Fitzroy Falls and you might even stumble upon Berrima’s colonial-time architecture.
The many local cafes and wineries will be glad of your company and will offer you some top-class hospitality and friendliness. Even though it’s a popular day trip, it still feels a little off the beaten path.
And that’s what we always look for when travelling, and an added bonus is supporting small local businesses in the process.
Although Canberra might seem like quite a distance from Sydney, it actually only takes just over 3 hours to drive. The Australian capital is well worth a visit and a day trip can easily be extended to make the most of your journeying.
Did you know that Canberra is the capital of Australia? Many people mistakenly think it’s Sydney!
If you plan on only staying for a short while then the best way to view the city is from Mt. Ainslie which gives views of the entire city and beyond. You can then hike down to see the Australian War Memorial and museum.
We also highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Parliament House. It’s not every day you’re in the capital of Australia! The tour allows you to take a deep dive into Australian politics and get an insight into how the country is run.
Even if politics isn’t your top interest, you’ll still love Canberra as there is a wide range of museums and galleries such as the National Museum of Australia or the National Gallery.
8. Port Stephens
Just over 2 hours from Sydney is Port Stephens, yet another beautiful coastal spot.
Port Stephens is renowned for its dolphin-watching tours, offering you the chance to see these playful creatures in their natural habitat. One of the biggest appeals of Australia is the wildlife, and while dolphins probably aren’t what you immediately think of, you can still see them in the wild!
The area also boasts some spectacular beaches, such as One Mile and Zenith Beach, both of which are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing by the sea.
Not to mention that the Stockton Sand Dunes provide the perfect landscape for sandboarding and quadding. Port Stephens has a little bit of everything!
9. Hawkesbury River
For a shorter day trip just outside of Sydney, you could consider heading to the Hawkesbury River and its surrounding villages and towns.
The river, winding its way with countless twists and turns, offers so many scenic landscapes which are best appreciated from the water. And it’s only an hour outside the city.
Australia is such a diverse place- one minute you have a city, and the next minute you have stunning natural beauty.
You can opt for a relaxing river cruise or maybe even rent a boat in one of the charming towns along the Hawkesbury. A journey along the river promises some excellent photos and up-close glances at nature. Take a look at this…
Windsor is a great location to stop off in – both for hiring a boat and exploring. Windsor is a historic town with a great attraction- the Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler. The town also hosts old heritage buildings dating back to the earliest European settlement days.
Downstream from Windsor, the Australiana Pioneer Village provides a fascinating glimpse into 1800s life through its open-air museum. All in all, the river is filled with little gems to check out.
Newcastle, not to be confused with Newcastle in England, offers breathtaking ocean views and a haven for surfers as the city’s beaches offer some of the best surfing spots in the region, with waves suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers.
But all the city’s beaches, like the famous Nobby’s Beach, on top of surfing, are also perfect for swimming and of course, just soaking up the sun.
Aside from the beaches, there is also a lot on offer in the city too. Newcastle’s rich history is evident in its heritage buildings and historical sites, and there are also lots of galleries and who could forget, a vibrant street art scene.
11. Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is located just a few hours south of Sydney and beckons with its pristine beauty and marine wonders.
It’s for having some of the whitest sands in the world at Hyams Beach, and frankly, we agree! The turquoise waters of this bay are also a haven for dolphins and seals, which is good if you’re an animal lover.
Taking this day trip will lead you to the stunning Booderee National Park, where native flora and fauna thrive. You can tour the botanical gardens, unwind on Murrays Beach, or embark on coastal walks with breathtaking ocean views, all in one day trip from Sydney. Quite the day, right?
The bay is also a paradise for water sports enthusiasts, offering snorkelling, kayaking, and paddleboarding opportunities. Jervis Bay is a real gem on the coastline of New South Wales.
But one of the best things about Jeris Bay is the bioluminescence. If you stay at the beach until it gets dark, the algae in the water glow blue when they are touched. It’s extraordinary to see.
Wollongong is a coastal city rich with culture and charm, only a short 90-minute drive from Sydney. And it’s a beautiful one too, along the Grand Pacific Drive which gives some stunning coastal views.
One of Wollongong’s most iconic attractions is Skypoint which towers over the city with panoramic views extending out across the Pacific Ocean. It should not be missed on a day trip from Sydney.
Immerse yourself in a new cultural experience with a visit to the Nan Tien Temple- one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Buddhist temples. You can extend the peaceful feeling from your visit to the temple by wandering through the botanic gardens to end your day.
You’ll leave Wollongong feeling like a new person, that’s for sure.
13. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
If you’re up for exploring a hidden gem in New South Wales outside of Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a must-visit.
West Head, located deep within the park, is the ultimate starting point. From West Head Lookout, you’ll be able to soak in all of the stunning Broken Bay views, stroll down to quiet beaches, and discover the Red Hands Cave, which contains some incredible indigenous rock art created by the Guringai people.
It’s one of the best places in Australia where you can see the history of the country first-hand, rather than reading things in a museum.
The Basin Trail and the Resolute Track take you on bush walks to some amazing coastal landforms. The Basin Trail even treats you to the Guringai Land Aboriginal Engraving Site. The Basin Trail is excellent at combining Aboriginal heritage and natural beauty in one unique adventure.
Visiting the National Park is definitely one of the most unique things you can do while in Sydney, and we really recommend it as a day trip.
14. Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley offers pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the name. You can see kangaroos in the Bendeela Recreational Area, which is in a valley.
It’s pretty close to the Southern Highlands, so you can definitely combine the two into one day trip from Sydney.
After the kangaroos, one of Kangaroo Valley’s most-loved features is the Hampden Bridge, a picturesque wooden suspension bridge erected in 1898. Nearby, the open-air Pioneer Village Museum provides insights into the lives of 19th-century settlers. The two attractions go hand in hand.
We also recommend kayaking down the Kangaroo River and venturing to Morton National Park to witness the breathtaking Fitzroy Falls. The rainforest surrounding Fitzroy Falls offers numerous hiking trails, providing opportunities to spot local wildlife along the way. As we said, you can combine this with the Southern Highlands.
15. The Entrance
Last but by no means least on our list of day trips from Sydney is somewhere called The Entrance. Quite an unusual name, right?
The Entrance is a unique coastal town just 90 minutes from Sydney and is a fabulous day trip location from Sydney. Driving along the scenic M1 highway, you’ll reach your destination in no time, taking in stunning views along the way.
Once you arrive, you’ll want to head straight to the waterfront to enjoy the picturesque landscape and witness the daily Pelican Feed spectacle. The pelicans are on a strict schedule and gather to be hand-fed at the same time every day, taking advantage of all the treats that visitors bring for them.
It’s one of the most surreal things you will ever see. They’re such fascinating animals. And feeding them is pretty cool, make sure to bring some food that is safe for them to eat. You can buy some on location if you don’t bring your own.
On top of the pelicans, The Entrance is a wonderful location for water activities such as paddleboarding, fishing and boat cruises. There are also some great markets in the town where visitors can shop for local crafts and foods.
Day Trips From Sydney: FAQ
Below are some questions related to day trips from Sydney along with our answers to each question.
Katoomba in the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley region are popular destinations about two hours from Sydney, known for their stunning natural scenery and cultural attractions
Yes, you can definitely do the Blue Mountains as a day trip from Sydney as it only takes approximately 90 minutes to drive from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. In fact, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Sydney.
Wollongong is a charming coastal town just an hour’s drive from Sydney famed for its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture.
Final Thoughts: Day Trips From Sydney
And there you have it, a complete guide to our favourite day trips from Sydney.
There are many great options to choose from when considering a trip outside of Sydney you’ll find something suitable for anyone and everyone.
Whether you want a relaxed day by the sea, taking in the coastal air, a hike high in the towering mountains or want to explore charming towns and villages at your own pace – you’re sure to find a great day trip location on our list.
Most of Sydney’s best day trips are just short drives away but a few can have you spending multiple hours in the car. If you want, you can even turn these day trips into an overnight stay.
Nonetheless, make sure to pack your car tight with snacks, good friends and lots of games to play to make the hours tick by faster!
Whether you’re looking to travel solo or bring a friend along for the ride, our group tours in South East Asia & Australia are the perfect balance of culture, adventure, chill time & nightlife. You’ll arrive as strangers and leave as the best of friends.