Best Day Trips from Sydney
The capital of the Australian state of New South Wales, Sydney is a city with almost too much to do, at least on a short trip. Whether it's enjoying stunning views of the harbour, the Sydney Opera House, and Sydney Harbour Bridge or immersing yourself in the local food scene, there's enough going on in Sydney to keep you occupied for days, if not weeks.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Sydney, and you'll be ready to explore everything the city has to offer. Once you've enjoyed excellent food, incredible nightlife, and the best museums in Sydney, you may find yourself wondering what else there is to do to keep yourself entertained.
That's where the best day trips from Sydney come into their own. The truth is, Sydney is surrounded by incredible places to explore, and no matter what you like to do, it's easy to find a day trip that will give you a fantastic time. Take a look through this list of the best day trips from Sydney to give you some inspiration for an unforgettable Australian journey.
How to get out of Sydney
In Australia, distances can be vast, and outside of major cities like Sydney itself, the population density can be quite low. As a result, Australia doesn't have the public transport infrastructure you'll find in places like Europe and Asia.
That's not to say that the city itself isn't well served by public transit, because it is. Check out our guide on how to get around Sydney for more details on navigating the urban environment.
But once you get out of the city, things change. Some of these day trips from Sydney can be visited by train, but more often, it's a bus or a car that will get you where you want to go. Some of the best day trips and Sydney can be booked as bus tours, which is certainly the easiest way to get around. Alternatively, rent a car and get ready for a great Australian road trip.
From Sydney to Royal National Park
By world standards, Australia is a relatively young country, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its share of historic places. Believe it or not, Royal National Park is the second oldest national park in the world, and it has been a destination for the best day trips from Sydney almost since the city was founded.
Less than an hour south of Sydney by car, the park offers stunning coastal views, as well as miles of hiking and biking trails and even a few beaches where you can take a dip.
How to get to Royal National Park
Royal National Park sits just to the south of Sydney, and you can reach it by car in around 45 minutes. Alternatively, there are bus tours available that will take you there. However, given the isolated nature of certain locations in the park, it's better if you can to bring your own vehicle.
From Sydney to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
For something a little closer to Sydney, head to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, located just 20 miles north of the city. The park is home to an impressive array of Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and even koalas. That makes this the perfect place to encounter the charismatic wildlife of Australia, and an excellent day trip from Sydney if you want to see the wilder side of the country.
There are also plenty of hiking trails to explore, as well as lookouts with sweeping views over the national park and beyond, including iconic locations like West Head Lookout. As close to the city as this National Park is, it feels a very long way away, making this a fantastic day trip for anyone who wants to recharge their batteries in nature.
This is also an excellent place to learn more about the aboriginal history of Australia. The ancient art here will give you a much deeper understanding of the culture of Australia's first inhabitants.
How to get to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
This National Park lies north of the city and is only a 30-minute drive away. Unusually for a National Park, it's possible to reach this one on commuter rail by taking the Central Coast and Newcastle Line from Sydney to Mount Colah station.
From Sydney to Blue Mountains National Park
One of the most popular day trips from Sydney is a visit to the Blue Mountains National Park. The park gets its name from the blue haze that hangs over it, caused by the oil released by the eucalyptus trees that blanket the area.
The national park is just a one-hour drive from Sydney, and there are plenty of things to do once you get there. Take a ride on the Scenic Railway, which takes you through a tunnel cut into the side of a cliff, or hike one of the many trails that crisscross the park.
You can also choose to stay overnight in one of the many campsites or hotels located in and around the park, making this a great option for a longer trip.
How to get to Blue Mountains National Park
This is another National Park that you can actually reach by public transit, making it one of the best day trips for those who don't drive. The Blue Mountains Line travels from Sydney to Wentworth Station on the edge of the park in just over three hours. Alternatively, driving there will take around one hour.
From Sydney to Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is located in the world heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, just 1.5 hour's drive from Sydney. The garden covers more than 30 hectares and features more than 10,000 different plants, making it one of the largest collections of native plants in Australia.
The garden is open every day except Christmas Day, and there is no entry fee. That makes it a great option for a budget-friendly day trip from Sydney.
How to get to Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
It's about one and a half hours' drive from the center of Sydney to the botanic Garden. It is possible to get there by public transit on a range of different buses, but you'll spend about three hours making the journey.
From Sydney to Port Stephens
If you're looking for a beach day trip from Sydney, Port Stephens is the perfect place to go. Just two and a half hours north of the city by car, Port Stephens is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. It's also a great place to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can refuel after a day in the sun.
A day at the beach is about as Australian an activity as you can do, so don't miss the opportunity to enjoy the environment around Sydney the way the locals do with one of the best day trips from Sydney.
How to get to Port Stephens
You can reach Port Stephens on the Central Coast line to the Newcastle interchange, then take a bus the rest of the way. However, you probably don't want to unless you plan on staying in Port Stephens for at least a few days, since the journey will take close to five hours. Better if you can drive, which will only take two and a half hours.
From Sydney to Morton National Park
For a taste of the Australian outback, head to Morton National Park, located just under four hours southwest of Sydney. The park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, with towering sandstone cliffs, pristine forests, and cascading waterfalls.
There are also plenty of walking trails to explore, as well as lookouts with sweeping views over the National Park. And if you're lucky enough to visit during the wildflower season (usually from October to November), you'll be treated to a colorful display of native flowers.
This is another Sydney day trip there will make you feel like you're much further from the city than you really are. The unspoiled scenery of Morton National Park makes this an excellent place to reconnect with nature, and one of the best day trips from Sydney for fans of the great outdoors.
How to get to Morton National Park
This one is a little further from Sydney, requiring a drive of over three hours to reach. For that reason, it's probably better to plan to stay at least a night here to make the journey worthwhile.
From Sydney to Grand Pacific Drive
Sometimes, the journey is the destination. That's certainly the case with the Grand Pacific Drive, a 185-mile stretch of road that winds its way along the New South Wales coast.
The drive takes you from Sydney to Wollongong, and there are plenty of things to see and do along the way. Stop in the seaside town of Kiama for a swim or a surf, explore the rainforest at Royal National Park, or take in the panoramic views from Bald Hill Lookout.
There are also plenty of places to eat and drink along the way, so you can make a day (or two) of it if you want. The Grand Pacific Drive is one of the most scenic routes in Australia, and definitely one of the best day trips from Sydney.
How to get to Grand Pacific Drive
Grand Pacific Drive starts right in Sydney and winds its way along the coast from there. Of course, you'll need a car to take part in this great Australian road trip.
From Sydney to Great Lakes Marine Park
The Great Lakes Marine Park is located on the New South Wales coast, about four hour's drive north of Sydney. The park is made up of five lakes - Wallis, Myall, Bowen, Torrens, and Macquarie - as well as a stretch of coastline that includes some of the most pristine beaches in Australia.
There are plenty of things to do in the park, from swimming and surfing to fishing and kayaking. You can also take a scenic walk or hike through the rainforest, or just relax on one of the many beaches.
If you're looking for a day trip from Sydney that will allow you to get away from it all and enjoy some time in nature, the Great Lakes Marine Park is a great option.
How to get to Great Lakes Marine Park
The marine park is just outside Port Stephens, so you can take transit, but you probably want to drive.
From Sydney to Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in Australia, and it's located just a short drive from Sydney. The region is home to more than 150 wineries, as well as a number of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.
A day trip to Hunter Valley is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the local wines, as well as learn about the wine-making process. There are a number of tour operators that offer wine tours of the region, or you can explore on your own.
Whether you're a wine connoisseur or just looking to enjoy a day out in the country, a trip to Hunter Valley is one of the best day trips from Sydney.
How to get to Hunter Valley
To reach the Hunter Valley, you'll have to travel by road. It's a three-hour drive from Sydney, or you can hop on a bus with one of the many tour companies that will take you there and also take you around the wineries, which is probably a good idea if you're going to be sampling their products.
From Sydney to Hunter Valley Gardens
Hunter Valley Gardens is a world-class botanical garden located in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The gardens feature more than 10,000 different species of plants, as well as a number of sculptures and water features.
The gardens are open all year round, and there are a number of events and activities held throughout the year. A day trip to Hunter Valley Gardens is the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
How to get to Hunter Valley Gardens
You can reach Hunter Valley Gardens with a two hour drive from central Sydney.
There's so much to do in Sydney that you won't be in any hurry to leave. But if you do have a little more time to spend in this iconic city, it's worth checking out some of these day trips. Exploring the many National Parks, beaches, and other attractions in the area is a great way to get better acquainted with this part of Australia.