5 Must-Do Day Trips from Sydney

mazebackpackers - 5 Must-Do Day Trips from Sydney

Three Sisters, The Blue Mountains

One of the best things about staying in Sydney is there’s so many amazing places to visit that are only a short drive or train ride away. Whether you’re heading up north towards Newcastle, west to the Blue Mountains, or down south to Wollongong, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to day trips from Sydney. So get your friends together, hire a car, and check out one or more of these day trip adventures.

1. The Blue Mountains

If you’re looking for endless bushwalking tracks, waterfalls, gardens, boutique shops and great food, a must-do Sydney day trip for you is a visit to the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains is roughly a two hour trip from Sydney city either by car or train, so if you don’t have access to a car, you won’t lose any time.

The tops spots in the Blue Mountains are Katoomba and Leura. For adventure seekers, Katoomba is your pick. The stunning Three Sisters rock formation is just a short walk from the train station and begins a number of bushwalking tracks suitable for different walking abilities. Or you can choose to take the Science World cable car side through the treetops for breathtaking views of the mountain ranges. After a long day of walking you can then head into the quaint village of Leura – full of quiet cafes, bookshops, the biggest toy museum in the Southern Hemisphere and one of Australia’s best sweet shops.

Make sure to pack warm clothing for your trip to the Blue Mountains as, even in summer, it can get quite cold.

2. The Central Coast

The Central Coast is known for being a laid back and beachy destination, so can be a great break from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. The Central Coast is roughly an hour and a half drive along the M1 and about the same amount of time if you take the Central Coast/Newcastle Line train from Central Station. If you’re driving up, the Australian Reptile Park is just off the M1 Freeway at the Gosford exit – keep an eye out for the big yellow dinosaur on the side of the road.

One of the most popular spots on the Central Coast is Avoca. Avoca is a unique town because unlike many coastal areas, it hasn’t been subject to overdevelopment, so gives off a vintage sort of vibe. The area is also full of great restaurants and cafes to indulge in. Another good spot, just a north of Avoca, is Terrigal. Throughout summer the main beach is patrolled by lifesavers and is perfect for swimming or surfing. There are also a number of rockpools to check out and public pelican feedings in the evening at The Entrance.

3. The Hunter Valley

A two hour trip along the M1 will get you to the world class vineyards of the Hunter Valley, for a day of wine and indulgence. Besides the stunning vineyards, the Hunter Valley is also home to heritage buildings, restored pubs and art galleries, and is the place for adventures like hot air ballooning over the country yard, and skydiving. Throughout the year, there are also a number of concerts and festivals held in the area. For bread lovers, make sure to visit Morpeth, the sourdough capital of the Hunter Valley, or spend some time in Newcastle, for a bit of shopping or swim at the beach. If you’re around after sunset, the ANZAC Memorial Walk is ideal for an evening stroll.

mazebackpackers - 5 Must-Do Day Trips from Sydney (2)

Sunrise over the Hunter Valley

4. Kangaroo Valley

Two hours in the opposite direction, is the Kangaroo Valley. The valley is the perfect place for a quick retreat, nestled among steep, rocky hills, lush rainforests and farmland. If you want a day of adventure, there are plenty of walking tracks and horse riding opportunities, or you can even have a go at paddle boarding on the river. Wander along the Hampden Bridge – the oldest surviving suspension bridge in Australia, and visit the lookouts along the Cambewarra Range.

You should also check out Fitzroy Falls, where you can learn about Aboriginal history in the area and discover the falls – an 80 metre plunge over water into the valley below. If you want to visit the areas surrounding the Kangaroo Valley, Berry is a quirky little destination, with the main street full of great food, including famous Berry Donut Van.

5. Grand Pacific Drive

If you’re after a science drive, rather than an actual destination, the Grand Pacific Drive is the day adventure for you. The drive begins at the Royal National Park and features perfect picnic spots along the way, as well as beautiful beaches and lookouts including Stanwell Tops, all the way down to Wollongong and Kiama. It doesn’t get much better than winding down the window as you drive along the edge of the Cantilevered Sea Cliff Bridge and take in the views.

If you make it all the way down to Kiama, the blowhole is a real highlight of the trip. Watch as the wind sends waves into the rock aperture, compressing the air and sending a spout of water into the air. There are also rock pools on either side of Kiama Harbour and the main street is full of great places to stop for food. Otherwise, there’s plenty to do in Wollongong – you can get your culture fix at the Wollongong Art Gallery, cycle along the waterfront from Thirroul to Port Kembla, or visit one of the many beaches to cool off after the drive.

Plan your day trip

From gorgeous beaches, coastal walks, and great food, to adventurous bushwalks and natural formations, there are so many things to see outside of Sydney. So grab a car and your mates and take a trip to one of these must-visit destinations for a memorable day out.

Don’t feel like heading out of the city? Check out our article on 10 things to do in Sydney, all absolutely free!