15 Fabulous Sydney Day Trips

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Sydney is a fabulous city with lots to do, but if you’re visiting for more than a few days, it’s worthwhile heading out on some day trips from Sydney. From exploring the nearby beaches to visiting World Heritage-listed rainforest to going hiking or wine tasting, there are plenty of options to choose from.

15 Day Trips From Sydney

Top Five Day Trips From Sydney By Train, Bus Or Ferry

Looking for day trips you can do using public transport? The good news is you don’t need to drive to go on a fabulous day trip from Sydney. Sydneysider Shandos Cleaver from Travelnuity.com who recommends these day trips from Sydney by train, ferry or bus. 

Sydney has a reputation for being expensive but by putting together your own day trips using public transport, you can make your Australian dollars stretch further. 

1- Day Trip From Sydney To Manly 

Travel time from Sydney CBD: 30 minutes on the ferry

sydney day trips manly
A day trip to Manly offers a few choices of beach activities. Manly also has excellent restaurants and cafes.

Heading across Sydney Harbour to Manly on the ferry is one of the most popular day trips to do in Sydney.

That’s not surprising, given the laidback charm and excellent beaches in Manly, not to mention the scenic ferry ride itself.

Manly has long been a day trip destination for Sydney-siders, as entertainment options once are plentiful in Manly. 

The Corso

Stroll along the Corso, the main shopping street in Manly, home to many restaurants cafes and surf-wear shops.

If you’re visiting on a Saturday or Sunday, don’t miss the Manly Market, held in Manly Market Place, just off the Corso.

There’s also a weekly farmers market held one more block away every Sunday morning.

Manly Beach

At the other end of the Corso in Manly is the main Manly Beach, which is a great option for enjoying a swim, going surfing when the conditions are right or just lazing on the sand.

However, my preferred beach in Manly is Shelley Beach, which you get to from a 1 km coastal pathway at the end of the Corso. 

Shelley Beach
day trips from sydney shelley beach in manly
Shelley Beach is a lovely beach to spend time on your Manly day trip.

Shelley Beach is sheltered and the bay is an aquatic reserve offering excellent snorkelling and diving. Try to spot one of the resident blue gropers. 

There are also a few local cafes to relax at, right on the water’s edge.

Manly Wharf

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to try your hand at kayaking or SUPing, head back to the ferry wharf on the harbourside of Manly.

The wharf is home to Manly Kayak Centre, which has both kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for hire by the hour or day. SUP lessons and kayak tours are also available.

I recommend booking in advance on the weekends and during holiday periods.

How to Get From Sydney to Manly

The easiest and best way to get from the centre of Sydney to Manly is on the ferry, with the beautiful trip across Sydney Harbour being one of the highlights of the day trip.

Ferries to depart from the ferry wharves at Circular Quay at least every half an hour during the day.

The older, larger ferries take 30 minutes, while there’s also a fast ferry option that takes just 20 minutes.

I recommend taking one of the traditional ferries as part of the experience but be quick during busy days to snaffle one of the outside seats on the sunny side. 

2- Day Trip From Sydney To Blue Mountains  

Travel time from Sydney CBD: 90 minutes by car or two hours by train

sydney day trips blue mountains
A Blue Mountains day trip from Sydney offers lots of options if you love being outdoors.

At the western fringe of Sydney are the foothills of the magnificent Blue Mountains.

Part of the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains Area, the region is home to the lush, seldom-visited rainforest with stunning lookouts and well-marked hiking trails, making for a great day trip.

The Blue Mountains is also a fantastic destination to plan a luxury escape, as there are many fabulous resorts and hotels. 

Echo Point Lookout
day trips from sydney the three sisters
The view of the Three Sisters is one of the highlights of a day trip to the Blue Mountains.

A popular starting point to any Blue Mountains visit is the Echo Point Lookout. 

The must-see photo opportunity here is of the distinctive Three Sisters rock formation, which is an iconic Australian landmark.

There are also glorious vistas of the Jamison Valley below and the sandstone plateaus in the distant.

Bushwalking

Echo Point lookout is the starting point of multiple hiking trails, including a popular section of the Federal Pass down below in the valley.

Head down the Giant’s Staircase next to the Three Sisters, hike along the valley floor, then climb back up to the cliff edge at Furber Steps.

Complete the loop with an easy hike back along the clifftop, passing further lookouts.

Scenic World

It’s also possible to take the Scenic Railway or the Scenic Cableway back up to the top of the cliffs and skip the climb.

Alternatively, drive or walk along the cliff-tops to Scenic World to make a loop of taking the Scenic Railway down to the valley and the Scenic Cableway back up to the top, no steep steps required.

At Scenic World there is also the Skyway with its glass floor.

Wentworth Falls

Two other beautiful locations to visit in the Blue Mountains are Wentworth Falls and Govetts Leap Lookout.

Wentworth Falls are not far from Katoomba, back towards the city. Hike out past the falls for the best views, or hike the full National Pass track.

Govetts Leap Lookout

Govetts Leap Lookout is more remote and less-visited spots near Blackheath, overlooking the Grose Valley.

The pretty town of Leura is also worth a visit.

How to Get From Sydney to the Blue Mountains

Sydney to the Blue Mountains by car

The quickest and easiest way to get to the Blue Mountains is by car.

Driving from the centre of Sydney to Katoomba takes about 90 minutes and is the easiest way to visit multiple spots in the one day.

It’s also the only option if you want to visit Wentworth Falls and Govetts Leap Lookout.

Sydney to the Blue Mountains by train

Alternatively, there are regular train services to Katoomba, with the journey taking about two hours.

Note however that the main sights such as Echo Point aren’t that close to Katoomba train station – it’s about a 2.5km walk.

The easiest way to see the sights around Katoomba is on the Blue Mountains Explorer hop-on-hop-off bus, which costs $55 per adult and can also be purchased in combination with a Scenic World ticket. There are also limited local buses.

3- Royal National Park Day Trip

Travel time from Sydney CBD: 1 hour by car or two hours by train and ferry

sydney day trips royal national park
A day trip to the Royal National Park is a great way to explore nature at Sydney’s doorstep.

The Royal National Park on the southern edge of Sydney is the second oldest national park in the world.

Over 150 square kilometres in size, it contains a diverse range of landscapes, from towering sea cliffs to coastal lagoons, rainforested gullies to eucalypt bushland.

The highlight of any visit to the Royal National Park is a bushwalk on its many hiking trails.

The most impressive trail is the 26km-long Coast Track, which stretches from the park’s northern boundary to its southern edge, hugging close to the coast.

The hike is best done as an overnight hike, camping one night at North Era Beach.

Coast Track
day trips from sydney southern edge of the royal
Royal National Park has some excellent hiking trails.

If you’re just visiting the National Park as a day trip, it’s also possible to hike part of the Coast Track, then return to your starting point. Options for Royal National Park day trip hiking are:

  • Start at Bundeena in the north and hike to Marley Beach (an 8km return walk) or
  • Start at Otford in the south and complete the Palm Jungle and Burning Palms Beach hike, looping back up to Garrawarra Farm for an easy amble most of the way back along a fire trail.
The Beaches

One popular attraction these days in the park is the Figure Eight Pools, not far from Burning Palms Beach.

However, be warned that this is a dangerous spot to visit.

Look out for warnings about the current tides and wave conditions – never visit at high tide or during rough seas, and never turn your back on the ocean.

If you’re looking for somewhere to swim in summer, Burning Palms Beach is sometimes patrolled, while Marley Beach is rough and not suitable for swimming.

Two other popular safe spots to swim are Wattamolla and Garie Beach, which are patrolled in summer, and Wattamolla also has a lagoon with calm waters.

If you love beaches, try a trip to the NSW South Coast but you’ll need more than just a day to explore. 

How to Get From Sydney to the Royal National Park

Sydney to Royal National Park by car

There are multiple ways to access the Royal National Park, which is less than an hour’s drive south of Sydney.

The main entrance is at Audley and an entry fee is charged per vehicle.

Sydney to Royal National Park by train and ferry

To access the Royal National Park on public transport, one option is to take the train to Cronulla, then a small, local ferry across to Bundeena.

Sydney to Royal National Park by train

Otherwise, take the South Coast line train to Otford, and hike up the hill to the edge of the national park. (Be aware that trains stop only every two hours at Otford on Sundays and public holidays.) 

4- Day Trip From Sydney To Hunter Valley

Travel time from Sydney CBD: two hours by road

hunter valley day trip

Australia is home to a wide variety of wine regions, in nearly every part of the country.

The top wine region close enough to visit from Sydney on a day trip is the beautiful Hunter Valley region north of the city.

Wineries

The plan for a day trip to the Hunter Valley is simple: visit one winery, then another, maybe a few more?

There are dozens of wineries with cellar doors open to the public in the Hunter Valley, and it can be difficult to choose which ones to visit.

The wineries vary from some of the most prestigious names in Australian wine to small boutique operations.

Don’t miss out on trying some of the renowned Hunter Valley Semillon, both the younger style and cellared examples.

Wine is not the only option on the menu in the Hunter Valley.

Food

The region is also home to many fine-dining restaurants, cheese and chocolate factories, and a boutique brewery or two.

The Hunter Valley Gardens are beautiful to stroll through, particularly when decorated with snow in the winter and over the Christmas season.

Hot air ballooning is also a popular option if you arrive early in the morning and there are a enough things to do in Maitland to keep you busy for the rest of the day.

How to Get From Sydney to the Hunter Valley

Sydney to Hunter Valley by car

The Hunter Valley is just over a two-hour drive north of Sydney, centred on the village of Pokolbin. Take the M1 freeway that starts on the northern outskirts of Sydney most of the way, then the turn-off for Cessnock.

Sydney to Hunter Valley tour

Alternatively, there are plenty of bus tours that leave Sydney daily for the Hunter Valley and going on an organised tour means no one has to volunteer to be the designated driver.

Ideally book a smaller mini-bus tour, so that you are still able to visit some of the smaller, friendlier cellar doors.

5- Day Trip From Sydney To Palm Beach 

Travel time from Sydney CBD: One hour by car or 90 minutes by bus

sydney day trips palm beach
Take a day trip to Palm Beach to experience the best of Sydney’s northern beaches.

If Manly isn’t far enough removed from the busy streets of Sydney for your liking, another great beach destination to visit for the day is Palm Beach, the northernmost of the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Palm Beach is famous for two things: its many holiday homes of the rich and famous, plus being the setting for the popular TV soap Home and Away, where it’s known as “Summer Bay”.

If filming is taking place, you may be able to spot some action, but otherwise, it’s a place to relax.

The Beaches

Palm Beach and the beach immediately to the south, Whale Beach, are long stretches of golden sand, perfect for swimming.

Make sure you stay in between the red and yellow flags, where lifesavers patrol.

Baranjoey Lighthouse

During cooler months pack your sneakers and hike through the bush to historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse, standing tall on the headland and offering superb views over Broken Bay.

Afterwards, enjoy lunch at the popular Boathouse at Palm Beach.

Ferry trips

It’s also possible to take a number of ferries from Palm Beach to explore further. Take the ferry across Pittwater to the golden and isolated sands of Great Mackerel Beach.

This beach is only accessible from the water or via a hiking trail. Alternatively, take a ferry to the Central Coast townships of Ettalong or Wagstaffe.

How to Get From Sydney to Palm Beach

Sydney to Palm Beach by car

Palm Beach is about a one-hour drive north of Sydney, with the drive passing by many other beautiful Sydney beaches.

The drive can be slower on summer weekends or public holidays.

Sydney to Palm Beach by bus

Alternatively, the L90 bus is a limited stops bus that runs all the way from Wynyard in the city to Palm Beach, a long 90-minute plus trip.

It only runs during off-peak hours; during peak hours take a combination of express bus services. 

Bonus Tip: In Sydney over the weekend? Take public transport using an Opal card on a Sunday and your fares are capped at $2.70, all day long, excluding the airport station access fees. This includes the ferries and the trains all the way to the Blue Mountains. On other days of the week, the daily cap is $15.80 for adults.

A long-time resident of Sydney, Shandos Cleaver loves the city’s beaches and sunshine, not to mention being fond of hiking and a glass or two of local wine. Recently returned from travelling around Europe and the USA with her Miniature Dachshund, she runs the blog Travelnuity, providing information and inspiration to others to travel with their dogs. 

Also read:

Day Trips From Sydney Under One Hour

6- Day Trip From Sydney To Kurringai Chase National Park

Travel time from Sydney CBD to Barranjoey Lighthouse: 50 minutes by car

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is Australia’s second-oldest national park and a stunning place to escape to nature on a Sydney day trip.

The heritage-listed national park is a joy to drive around past forests, cliffs and waterways.

Highlights of a day trip here include visiting Baranjoey Lighthouse, picnicking at Bobbin Head, taking a cruise from Akuna Bay, bushwalking, cycling and fishing.

The park’s natural beauty makes it a perfect place for a drive, with scenic places to stop and enjoy the views, stretch your legs at a marina or stop for a snack in a cafe.

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is open from sunrise to sunset. Note that the Bobbin Head and Appletree Bay entrance closes at 8 pm (during daylight savings) and 5.30 pm at other times while the West Head entrance gate closes at 8.30 pm (during daylight savings) and 6 pm other times. Both gates open at 6 am all year round.

7- Day Trip From Sydney To Windsor

Travel time from Sydney CBD: 50 minutes by car.

Walking around the historic settlement of Windsor on the Hawkesbury River with an ice cream in hand is a lovely way to spend the day.

Windsor is the third-oldest British town on the mainland of Australia and is visiting this region is a day trip for history lovers.

Its historic past is evident in its architecture, which is reminiscent of the era and if you happen to be visiting on Sunday, the market in the mall is a bonus.

Pop into The Church Bar for a meal or the Macquarie Arms Hotel for a pint and soak up the ambiance of Windsor’s birthplace.

Other attractions to learn more about history are St Matthew’s Anglican Church, which is home to the graves of the chief magistrate (Andrew Thompson) and explorer William Cox.

Read this post for more things to do in Windsor.

Day Trips From Sydney Under Two Hours By Car

8- Day Trip From Sydney To Central Coast

Travel time from Sydney CBD to Wisemans Ferry: One hour 15 minutes by car.

NSW’s Central Coast is blessed with amazing beaches, waterways and is so close to Sydney many residents commute to the city for work.

From cafe hopping and strolling on the beach at Terrigal to feeding the pelicans at The Entrance to enjoying the village atmosphere at Brooklyn, a day trip tot he Central Coast offers a range of attractions.

The famous pelican feeding is at 3.30 pm each day, when dozens of pelicans flock up to gawk at the crowd.

The Entrance is also a great spot for kids as there is a Ferris wheel, carousel and playgrounds.

If you’re looking for a day at the beach, Patonga Beach is an isolanted beach town on the Hawkesbury River and at the doorstep of Brisbane Water National Park.

9- Day Trip From Sydney To Wollongong

Travel time from Sydney CBD: One hour 26 minutes by car.

NSW’s third-largest city is a vibrant hub and a destination with ample city pleasures combined with a more relaxed environment.

This south coast destination is only 80 km from Sydney and has stunning beaches, adventure activities and a chilled vibe.

One of the top attractions is the Grand Pacific Drive, which is a scenic road trip that is simply stunning on a beautiful day.

Other activities and attractions are diverse, from watching the hang gliders at Bald Hill (or if you’re game, give it a try yourself!) to learning about Buddhism at the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are plenty of family attractions, such as Jamberoo Action Park, Symbio Wildlife Park and Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk.
Lake Illawarra is a popular place to go boating and fishing.

Read this post for more things to do in Wollongong.

10- Day Trip From Sydney To Kiama

Travel time from Sydney CBD: Two hours by car.

If you can spare more time, keep driving south to Kiama, which is a lively seaside town famous for its blowholes.
Kiama’s most famous blowhole is the largest blowhole in the world.

These blowholes have been making a racket for hundreds of years before settlers came to the South Coast.

The indigenous people of the area revere the Kiama Blowholes, which are naturally carved by the ocean.

When the swell runs from the south to the east, water shoots through the 2.5 m gap in the rock face in a spectacular show of nature, sometimes as high as 30 m.

There are several viewing platforms, and the blowhole pulls in around 900,000 visitors a year to Kiama.

Other things to do in Kiama include fishing, going on a heritage walk, taking a scenic drive, a nature walk or spending time at the beach.

11- Day Trip From Sydney To Southern Highlands

Travel time from Sydney CBD: One hour and 30 minutes by car.

A popular escape for Sydneysiders, the Southern Highlands is a lovely destination with waterfalls, national parks, picturesque country drives, wineries and fine dining.

A drive around the charming country towns and villages such as Mittagong, Bowral, Moss Vale, Bundanoon and Berrima is a romantic way to take a day trip.

Explore Bowral during the Tulip Time Festival and visit the Bradman Museum, which pays homage to legendary cricketer Sir Donald Bradman.

Bowral is the largest of the Southern Highlands towns and has an excellent choice of cafes, restaurants and shops.

Across the region, you’ll find vineyards, cellar doors and winemakers and the Southern Highlands Wine Region produces cool climate wines such as Pinot Noir and sparkling varieties.

It’s also a destination with lovely gardens, unique boutique shops, cool cafes, bars and restaurants, and a popular destination for high tea.

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12- Day Trip From Sydney To Lake Macquarie

Travel time from Sydney CBD: One hour and 54 minutes by car.

The main attraction in Lake Macquarie, which is a city in the Hunter Region, is its eponymous lake.

Aside from the lake, which is the largest saltwater lake on the coast in Australia, the region has 30 km of coastline with beautiful beaches and 90 villages and towns.

Most of the attractions in Lake Macquarie revolve around its beaches and the lake.

The region’s most photographed beach is Catherine Hill Bay, for its rocky platforms and historic jetty.

It’s a top spot to go snorkelling, surfing and scuba diving. Other beaches to explore are Caves Beach for its sea caves and rock pools, Redhead Beach for four-wheel driving.

Other things to do in Port Macquarie include fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking and sailing.

Day Trips From Sydney Under Three Hours By Car

13- Day Trip From Sydney To Newcastle

Travel time from Sydney CBD: Two hours 14 minutes by car.

Beautiful beaches, coastal walks and lovely architecture are upfront and centre in this former industrial city.

An iconic landmark of the city is the Merewether Ocean Baths, which has an attractive Art Deco pavilion.

The historic baths were pre World War I and where many Novocastrians learned to swim and is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest bathing complex.

Another famous spot in Newcastle is Merewether Beach, where surfers from around the world come to compete at Surfest.

Sipping coffee in a beachside cafe followed by a walk along the beach promenade is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

The Newcastle Memorial Walk recognises the sacrifices Australian troops made during WWI and was constructed using 64 tonnes of stainless steel as a homage to Newcastle’s history as a steel city.

Another lovely walk in Newscastle, Bathers Way connects Nobbys Beach and Merewether Beach, offering cliff-top views and has night lights along the path.

Read this post for more things to do in Newcastle.

14- Day Trip From Sydney To Goulburn

Travel time from Sydney CBD: Two hours by car.

Turn off the Hume Highway at the Big Merino and you’ll find yourself in Australia’s first inland city.

Declared a city in 1863 by Queen Victoria, Goulburn once thrived as Australia’s wool capital.

These days, visitors can stroll past a blend of intriguing architectural buildings, which are a reminder of its past.

A fun time to visit Goulburn is during the Australian Blues Music Festival or when the Steampunk Victoriana Fair is in full swing.

As a historic centre, it’s not surprising that some of the top attractions in Goulburn will appeal to history buffs.

The Goulburn Historic Waterworks Museum is home to an original Appleby Beam Engine pump, which is the only original steam-powered municipal water supply that has survived in the Southern Hemisphere.

This historical 19th-century treasure is a State Heritage and National Trust-listed site.

Goulburn’s churches are unexpectedly impressive for a small city and St Saviour’s Anglican Cathedral is particularly worth a visit.

Railway fans won’t want to miss popping into the Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre.

The surrounding areas offer adventures, such as exploring caves, canyoning, rock climbing and abseiling.

Read this post for more things to do in Goulburn.

15- Day Trip From Sydney To Bathurst

Travel time from Sydney CBD: Two hours and 40 minutes by car.

Australia’s oldest inland settelement, Bathurst is a city with a vibrant foodie culture, natural attractions, picturesque villages and a rich heritage.

Established in 1815, there’s a rich historical tapestry woven into the city, with restaurants and shops housed in former historic buildings.

Wander through lanes named after bush ranger gangs and explore one of the city’s attractions, it’s Victorian-era Machattie Park, which has a stunning fountain, bandstand and begonia house.

With over 20 museums, history lovers are well-catered for and the top ones to tick off your list are the Bathurst District Historical Society Museum, which is in the 1880 Bathurst Courthouse, the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum for rare minerals and fossils, the National Motor Racing Museum and Bathurst Rail Museum.

For more Sydney attractions read:

sydney day trip

best day trips from sydney

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