8 Best day trips from Sydney

Spread the love

The vibrant and bustling metropolis of Sydney is one of the top cities to visit for tourists in Australia. Explore the famous landmarks of Sydney Oprah House, climb Sydney Harbour Bridge or spend a beach day at Bondi Beach.  

With so much to do in the city, you may feel overwhelmed with the prospect of taking a day trip from Sydney, on such a limited time.  

And due to Australia’s vast size, it can take a couple of hours to reach some beautiful landscapes, such as the Blue Mountains, Palm Beach, or the South Coast. So, you’ll need to plan the logistics of how to get there either via car, public transport or tour.  

But despite these challenges, we would recommend including at least one of these best day trips from Sydney into your itinerary. 

I spent 8 days in Sydney, and it was a wonderful rest bite to get out and head into the mountains, even if it was for just 1 day.  

With careful planning, you will be rewarded with natural beauty and experience the cultural richness of New South Wales has to offer. 

There may be affiliate links within this article, using these links will not cost you anything extra, but we may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support. 

Best day trips from Sydney 

Australia is known to have some incredible beaches, exotic wildlife, scenic drives, unbelievable hikes and so much more.  

So, while you’re in Sydney, why not plan a day trip in your itinerary.    

Blue Mountains

Australia’s Blue Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Area and a favorite weekend retreat for people from Sydney. 

This is especially true on hot summer weekends when crowds from Sydney flock to the more temperate Blue Mountains.

Popular activities are hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, rock climbing and other adventure sports.  

The name Blue Mountains comes from the hazy blue appearance of the mountain range when viewed from a distance. 

The Blue Mountains, are a famous day trip from Sydney. But the less known location of the Three Sisters, is perfect, if you want to avoid the crowds
Australia-Blue Mountains-Three Sisters

The Three Sisters and the Jenolan Caves are two of the highlights that can easily be visited in one day from Sydney.

How to get there: You could drive, take public transport to villages and towns close to the mountain or a tour. 

Distance: 61 km, just under 1 hour by car 

Best Blue Mountains tour:

Blue Mountains Full-Day Trip

Three Sisters

The deep valleys and steep cliffs of the Blue Mountains formed about 1 million years ago.  Erosion led to the formation of three sandstone peaks, which are called “The Three Sisters”. 

There is an easily accessible vista point called “Echo Point Lookout” in Katoomba (map).

Australia-Blue Mountains-Three Sisters
Australia-Blue Mountains-Three Sisters

An Aboriginal dream-time legend states:

Three sisters from the Katoomba tribe, “Meehni”, “Wimlah” and “Gunnedoo” who lived in the Jamison Valley, fell in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe. 

Tribal law did not allow them to get married, so the brothers kidnapped the three sisters.

This caused the tribes to go to war with each other. 

When the battle got close to where the three sisters were held and their lives were in danger, a witch doctor from the Katoomba tribe turned the three sisters into stone to prevent them from getting harmed.  

Unfortunately, the witch doctor got killed and nobody else was able to reverse the spell.

How to get there: Katoomba is easily reached by car in a 1h 40min drive or by direct train from Sydney’s Central Station. 

A train ride takes between 1h 43min and 1h 58min.  The Katoomba Railway Station is about 2.6km (1.6miles) from Echo Point Lookout.  

You can either walk (30-35min) or take one of the buses (website) at the train station (686, 686G  or 696).

Best Three Sisters Tour which includes the Blue Mountains:

From Sydney: Blue Mountains, Three Sisters & Leura Day Tour

Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan Caves are a 40km (25 mile) network of limestone caves in the Blue Mountains that the Jenolan River has carved out underground. 

With an age of approx. 340 million years, they are the world’s oldest known and dated open cave system. 

The name Jenolan Caves was adopted in 1884 and it is believed that the word Jenolan comes from the indigenous word “Genowlan” which means “high place”.

How to get there: Most people drive to the Jenolan Caves, but there are buses that can be boarded in Sydney and the Katoomba train station.  

ATTENTION: Jenolan Caves Road was damaged by extreme weather in March 2021 and the caves are currently closed.  Traffic may be rerouted in the future.  Please check the Jenolan Caves (website) for updates.

Eleven caves have been developed for tourism and 10 are typically open daily for 1-2h guided tours, which require varying degrees of fitness. 

There are also 2h to full day spelunking tours that can be booked.

The Jenolan Caves are a 40km (25 mile) network of limestone caves in the Blue Mountains that the Jenolan River has carved out underground and a great day trip from Sydney
Australia-Blue Mountains-Jenolan Caves

After exploring Sydney, you may be inspired to see more of Australia.  How about exploring Australia’s Red Center with Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) and Alice Springs?  We got you covered.  Click here for some of the best things to see in Australia’s Red Center.

Contributed by Rudy from Backpack & Snorkel

How to get there:

Just under 200km from Sydney and just under 3 hours by car. The only way to get to Jenolan Caves from Sydney is by car.

Not public transport available.

Jenolan Caves tour

Jenolan Caves Blue Mountains Day Tour & River Cruise

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is a beautiful little beach town located just over an hour north of the city, which is perfect for a short day trips from Sydney.

It’s located at the tip of a peninsula so you’ll get to enjoy both a surf beach as well as the side facing the Pittwater lagoon which is a lot calmer.

Palm Beach is perfect for surfing and other water sports. You’ll love the crystal-clear water and the many spots around the beach.

It can get crowded during the summer but luckily the beach is large enough that you’ll always find a place to get away from the crowds.

Palm Beach is not only a perfect beach destinations, but ideal for a quick and easy day trip from Sydney
Palm Beach

An absolute must-do in Palm Beach is hiking to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse. It’s located on the very tip of the peninsula and has some of the best views around.

You’ll get a panoramic view of one of the best beaches on the East Coast of Australia and the hike is quite manageable.

It only takes just under half an hour and although it can be steep in places even beginners can manage it easily.

The lighthouse is a great spot for a picnic and a quick rest before you head back down.

Palm Beach is known for its great restaurants and spots for drinks. Head to the Boathouse or Dunes for fantastic beach views and delicious meals.

How to get there: You could drive, or take public transport 

Distance: 44km under an hour drive from Sydney

Tours to Palm Beach from Sydney:

Northern Beaches and Ku-ring-gai National Park Tour

Contributed by Victoria from Guide Your Travel


Have you ever heard of Kiama? It’s a coastal town in New South Wales, Australia.

The shores are lined with beautiful beaches and the scenery is breathtaking. There are many things to see while visiting this lovely place! There’s no shortage of activities for visitors to enjoy during their time in Kiama.

One of the best things to do in Kiama is to head out on the Coastal Walk. This walk can take anywhere from two to five hours, depending on how much time you have.

It takes visitors around the whole of Kiama’s coastal region and has spectacular views at every turn! You’ll see the famous Cathedral Rocks from several viewpoints. 

Kiama beautiful landscape

Another great activity for those visiting is making a trip over to see the Kiama Blow Hole.

The blowhole lies between two high cliffs where marine life creatures come up from deep below the surface to feed off nutrients that seep out through cracks in the rock.

This phenomenon causes bubbles or jets of water (depending on tide level) to spray into the air creating a fantastic sight!

Another popular activity in Kiama is surfing lessons and don’t worry if you’ve never surfed before. Surfing classes on offer suit all ages and skill levels.

Kiama has become quite a trendy seaside destination with plenty of restaurants and cafes. Places to dine include Encore Wine Bar & Grill for steak and seafood by the beach while Olive & Vine dishes up a modern Australian menu.

How to get there: You could drive or take public transport 

Distance: 123km about a 45-minute drive to the south of Sydney.

Kiama tours from Sydney:

Kiama Blowhole, Beaches, and Farmlands Tour

Contributed by Christina from Travel 2 Next


If you are looking for a day trip from Sydney to a beach city with a different vibe, Newcastle is the place for you!

Just as at Bondi Beach, one of the best things to do at Newcastle is surf, chill at the beach, and organize a barbie with some travel friends. Newcastle is also the proud owner of a naturally formed ocean bath called Bogey Hole, so don’t miss out on that one either.

If you are looking for a day trip from Sydney to a beach city with a different vibe, Newcastle is the place for you!

But of course there are also some fun things to do at Newcastle, you can’t do in Sydney. And one of those things to do include paying a visit to Fort Scratchley, an old coal mine that later served as a fort during the second world war.

The fort is free to visit and you get a chance of spotting some dolphins from the fort too! 

If you haven’t had enough of history after visiting Fort Scratchley, you can also check out the free Newcastle Museum for more information about (surprise) the history of Newcastle. 

Are you more of a nature lover?

Newcastle offers two cool options for you too; The Glenrock State Conservation and The Blackbutt Reserve.

When it comes to beer, Foghorn is one of the best places to go, though you will find plenty of other fun bars if you fancy a beer.

For the best food in town head to Talulah Bar for great food throughout the day. If you are into Mexican food Antojitos is going to be your favorite place in town.

Lastly, if you are up for a drink or looking to move those hips check out King Street Nightclub, The Argyle House, or Finnegan’s Hotel. 

How to get there: It’s only a two-hour drive from Sydney and you can easily reach Newcastle by train or bus (both Greyhound and Premier stop in Newcastle).

Newcastle tours:


Contributed by Lara from The Best Travel Gifts

Kangaroo Valley

Lying 150 kilometres south of Sydney, Kangaroo Valley is the perfect getaway from the big smoke.

It is a picture-perfect lush green valley surrounded by the towering sandstone cliffs of the Illawarra escarpment.

The sharp landscape gradient between the valley and the highlands means that there are plenty of waterfalls that plunge over 80 meters from the clifftops, and dramatic lookouts with sweeping views of the valley and the coast beyond.

To sample the best sights, follow the winding mountain roads to visit Belmore Falls and Cambewarra Mountain Lookout. There is a cozy cafe at the top of Cambewarra Mountain which is a great spot for lunch with a view. 

The cascading waterfalls at Kangaroo Valley, make this a tranquil day trip from Sydney
Kangaroo Valley

For something a little bit more active, there are plenty of bush walks, from a 570-meter stroll to Carrington Falls to the 9.5 km Three Views Walking Track.  

A more adventurous option is to hire a kayak at Kangaroo Valley Safaris and explore the valley by cruising down Kangaroo River. And if paddling is not your thing, there is a great swimming hole near the fortress-like Hamden Bridge.

Kangaroo Valley is also home to an abundance of adorable native Australian animals. If you are keen to see kangaroos and wombats in their natural habitat, head to Bendeela campground at dusk. 

How to get there:

Around 155km from Sydney and about 2 hours by car. Public transport is available but travel time is around 7 hours.

Driving to Kangaroo Valley is the practical way to get from Sydney.

Contributed by Margarita from The Wildlife Diaries 

Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a fantastic beachy day trip from Sydney, filled with great nature, hikes, and white sands.

One of the best things to do on a Port Stephens day trip is the Mt Tomaree Summit hike. Although only 2.2km to the summit, it’s a steep, uphill walk that has a wonderful payoff from the 360 views at the top.

Mt Tomaree National Park actually has many hiking trails to choose from, so keen hikers can choose something longer if they wish.

The coastal views make walking around this area a real treat.

Port Stephens
Port Stephens

To relax after the hike, there are many amazing beaches to choose from. These include Zenith Beach, Wreck and Box beaches, and the curved, 2km Fingal Bay Beach.

Nearby Nelsons Bay is also home to a lovely sandy beach closer to the nearby restaurants. Sunbathing, swimming, whale watching, and surfing are all popular activities. 

For something memorable, don’t miss the Stockton Sand dunes!

These dunes reach up to 30m and are the longest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.

Walk, sandboard, or quad bike for a unique experience! You could also simply park up at Anna Bay and watch the sunset here.

How to get there: The drive from Sydney to Port Stephens takes 2-3 hours, though trains and planes also run between Sydney and nearby Newcastle.

Port Stephen tours from Sydney:

Port Stephen

Contributed by Cassie from Cassie the Hag

Tips for planning your day trip from Sydney 

Planning a day trip from Sydney can be a breeze with careful organisation.  

Whether you’re in Sydney for a long weekend or a week, it is worth exploring the regions surrounding the city.  

Research transport options 

Due to Australia’s vast size, navigating a day trip from Sydney needs to be carefully planned.  

Start by choosing the destination that fits your interests and preferences, but also the logistics of getting to the destination that’s within your budget.  

In our opinion, a road trip in and around the regions of Sydney, will give you a greater scope of visiting more in a little time.  

I drove in Australia on my gap year and found the road and infrastructure was safe and easily navigable. 

The advantages of driving, allows more freedom, as there is no need to rely on public transport schedules. If public transport is delayed or cancelled, you can continue the journey.  

If public transport is a favourable option, then research and plan how you will navigate your way to the destination.  

While public transport is reliable and covers most areas of Australia, some locations are remote, and a car is required.  

If planning the logistic of getting to the destination will take up some of your time, then a guided tour might be something to consider.  

If we plan to take a tour, we will purchase our tickets from Get Your Guide. And we provide you with the best tours available for each destination, where possible. The transport is included AND activities in the destination, so you can get the best experience while visiting Australia. 

Plan your itinerary 

Once you have decided on the location and researched the logistics of travelling to the destination, now create a rough itinerary for your day trip from Sydney.  

Prioritise the best sights and activities you would like to do but keep it flexible for some unexpected discoveries along the way, or weather changes that deviate you from your original plan. 

Check the opening times for any sights and activities you plan to do and create your itinerary around these. Book any tickets in advance to prevent disappointment. 

Budget setting 

Creating a budget for your entire trip to Australia including any day trips you take.  

Include in your budget all expenses, from transportation, entrance fees, meals, accommodation and any additional purchases you may have to make.  

Look out for any discount or deals to help stretch your budget further.  

If you need more tips on how to set a budget and save money as you travel, then check out our tips on how to set a budget for travel. 


Whether you’re seeking an adventure, relaxation or cultural immersion, these best day trips from Sydney offer something for everyone and all within a short distance from the city. 

Enjoy the picturesque Blue Mountains, stunning Newcastle, to the pristine beaches of Palm Beach and Kangaroo Valley. Whether you have only a few days or a week in Sydney, a day trip is a great way to explore the beauty that New South Wales has to offer.  

Get set for a journey of discovery. There is always something new to see and experience within a short distance from Sydney.  

Continue your budget travel adventure, with these useful posts:

Best day trips from Sydney
Best day trips from Sydney
8 Best day trips from Sydney
8 Best day trips from Sydney
Best day trips from Sydney
Best day trips from Sydney