Sydney is one of the top cities to visit for tourists in Australia. The highlights of Sydney, is the Sydney Oprah House, the Harbour Bridge, art galleries, museums, famous beaches and so much more.
I spent 8 days in Sydney, either wandering the city, or relaxing on Bondi Beach. But it’s also nice to take a short break from the skyscrapers and the fast-paced lifestyle.
And there is no better way to get out of the city, than with a day trip into the mountains, or to a glorious beach, take in some fresh air on a hike and plenty more adventures await.
As you start to plan your trip to Australia, also include at least one of these best day trips from Sydney.
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How to get around Sydney
The roads and public transport in Australia, is one of the best. Making day trips from Sydney, easy and simple.
You could hire a vehicle and take a road trip around Australia, plan your day trip from Sydney via public transport, or you could book onto a tour.
When I visited Australia, I booked onto a couple of tours. It took away all the hassle of planning the logistics of getting around and I met some incredible travellers along the journey.
The choice is yours, with these Sydney day trips.
Best day tours from Sydney
Take the hassle free approach when you book onto one of these best day tours from Sydney:
We have hand picked the best tours for you.
Best day trips from Sydney
Australia is known to have some of the most amazing beaches, exotic wildlife, scenic drives, unbelievable hikes, wonderful landscapes and many more, just waiting to be uncovered. Why miss out on an adventure of a lifetime, when you could be scouting out more of what Australia could offer.
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 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:
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).
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:
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.
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
Best tours covering Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
Contributed by Lara from The Best Travel Gifts
Best tours activities to do in Newcastle:
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.
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.
Contributed by Margarita from The Wildlife Diaries
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.
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.
Contributed by Cassie from Cassie the Hag
Best selling tour in Port Stephens:
So, there we have it, some of the best day trips from Sydney.
Visiting the top tourist spots in Sydney will always be a must on your first trip to Australia, but so should getting out and head into the mountains, visit a popular beach location, learn about history and so much more.
Oh, I did love Sydney, but I also loved getting out and experiencing something completely different, with different landscape. Which is why you must add one of these day trips from Sydney to your itinerary.
What was your favourite place to visit on a day trip from Sydney? Is there somewhere we didn’t include that should be on this list? Is there specific place you can’t wait to discover? Let us know, by leaving a comment below.
Continue your Australian travel planning, with these useful posts:
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- Best Australian road trips
- Best day trips from Brisbane
- Best tourist spots to visit in Australia
- Best day trips from Melbourne
- Travel guide to Australia
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- Best day hikes in Australia
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