15 of the best day trips from Sydney, Australia.
Sydney may be the most famous city in Australia.
From the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, to the fun beaches of Bondi and Manly, Sydney has so much to offer.
But if you’re staying in Sydney for longer than a few days, you may want to take some day trips outside the city.
The areas of NSW that surround Sydney are packed with natural beauty and fun activities like hiking, camping, wine-tasting, and more.
There are some stunning sights to see, from the famous Sea Cliff Bridge, to the rich green hills of the Southern Highlands, to the chalky white cliffs of the Royal National Park.
So if you have some spare time while visiting Sydney, I highly recommend doing a handful of these amazing day trips!
15 Best Day Trips From Sydney
All of these destinations around New South Wales are 2 hours away from Sydney or less.
At the end I’ll include my two favorite weekend trips from Sydney. They are 2.5 hours away, which is a bit much to do in one day.
All of these day trips I’ve done myself, and can highly recommend them to all other travelers in Australia!
1. The Blue Mountains
This rugged mountain range is one of the most popular day trips from the city.
It’s only an hour west of central Sydney, so it makes a quick and easy excursion.
For those without a car, you can also catch the train to Katoomba (one of the main towns in the Blue Mountains).
Once you arrive is this beautiful area, there are so many fun things to do.
Hike through the bush, swim in waterfalls, and hit some of the viewpoints that overlook majestic mountains and valleys.
Pulpit Rock Walking Track and Empress Falls are two of my favorite spots.
2. The Southern Highlands
This lush area of natural beauty and rural charm is one of my favorite day trips from Sydney.
Rolling green hills, vineyards, waterfalls, and small towns are scattered all over the area.
Some of the best things to do in the Southern Highlands are wine-tasting, wading in the natural pools on top of the massive Carrington Falls, and enjoying the view from the Hindmarsh Lookout near Belmore Falls.
Be sure to stop by the towns of Bowral and Robertson as well. They have some nice quiet and adorable local shops and cafes.
The Southern Highlands are a 2 hour drive south of Sydney.
3. Symbio Wildlife Park
For travelers in Sydney who want to see some Australian wildlife, this is an amazing place to go.
Symbio Wildlife Park is one hour south of the city and is one of the most fun day trips from Sydney.
This family-owned business is home to lots of local animals, including koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and more.
Animals are all treated with the highest level of respect and care.
- Address: 7-11 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Helensburgh, NSW
- Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm
- Website: https://symbiozoo.com.au
Kiama is a truly gorgeous town in the Illawarra Region of NSW.
Aside from stunning coastal walks and a quaint town center, Kiama is best known for its two blowholes.
The Kiama Blowhole is a cavern of jagged coastal rock. When water rushes into the hole at high tide, it then shoots upwards out of the rocks like an erupting volcano.
The Little Blowhole is the same, just a bit smaller.
Both are cool natural phenomenons to witness. Try to visit during stormy weather when there’s lots of swell so you can see the blowholes in all their glory!
5. Royal National Park
As one of the most common day trips from Sydney, this huge national park is located directly south of the city.
From central Sydney, it’s only about a 20 minute drive to get to the Royal National Park.
Once you reach the park, the opportunities for adventure are endless.
Complete the Royal Coast Walking Track and admire the dramatic white cliffs. Or float in the naturally symmetrical Figure 8 Pools.
Surf at Garie Beach or cliff-jump at Wattamolla. Go camping, hiking, swimming, and more!
This fun and vibrant town is actually the most southeastern suburb of Sydney.
So it is technically part of the city. But it doesn’t feel like it!
Take the train down here and spend a day walking along the Esplanade, swimming in the rock pools, and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.
Then head into the town center for shopping, eating, drinking, and listening to the local street musicians.
7. Wine Tasting
Going wine tasting is easily one of the best day trips from Sydney.
You can either visit an urban winery in the city for a more local experience, or take a day trip out to the Hunter Valley.
Hunter Valley is one of the most famous wine making areas of Australia, and it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney.
So it’s quite a hike to get out there, but it can be done in a day. You can book an organized tour that covers your transport and ensures you have an amazing experience!
8. Kelly’s Falls
Located near Symbio Wildlife Park, this majestic woodland paradise is hidden from most tourists.
It’s all rather difficult to find, but worth the adventure.
If you leave Symbio Wildlife Park and head east on Lawrence Hargrave Drive, you’ll see a small sign on the side of the road indicating Kelly’s Falls.
There is a small picnic area, and a walking track that leads to the top of the main waterfall.
You can venture off the walkway and climb down a steep and difficult-to-find trail that will lead you to the bottom of the falls.
Here you get the best view, and you can even walk through the woods to a second waterfall.
This is the type of place you should visit with someone who knows the way, as it is a bit obscure and not well marked!
This small city about an hour south of Sydney is incredible.
Wollongong is home to lots of university students, young working adults, and travelers. So it has a very multicultural and vibrant community.
You can check out the art gallery, browse through the local street markets on Thursdays and Fridays, or indulge in the nightlife.
In addition to the culture and cuisine of Wollongong, you can visit the beaches, hike the nearby Mount Kiera, relax in the Botanic Gardens, or go for a bike ride along the coastal path.
10. Nan Tien Temple
Did you ever think you could find the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere in Australia? I definitely didn’t, until I stumbled across Nan Tien Temple.
This massive temple complex is very impressive.
The main attraction is the big, main temple and the towering pagoda.
But there is also a landscaped garden, a museum, a cafe and tea shop, classrooms for lessons and retreats, and more.
It’s just 20 minutes south of Wollongong. So you could even combine the two into one day trip from Sydney.
- Address: 180 Berkeley Rd, Berkeley NSW 2506
- Hours: 11am – 3pm Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm on weekends
- Website: https://www.nantien.org.au/en/
11. Killalea State Park
For a fun day of surfing, swimming, and sunbathing, Killalea State Park is a beautiful place to visit.
Also known as The Farm, this local surfing reserve consists of a gorgeous beach with golden sand and turquoise water.
Soft green hills surround the beach, and small tide pools sit at the edges of the sand.
The long beach has small, easy waves for beginner surfers and bigger waves for more advanced surfers.
Killalea State Park is about 1.5 hours south of Sydney.
This quaint, historic town 2 hours south of Sydney is incredibly charming.
If you’re taking a day trip to Killalea State Park or Kiama, Berry isn’t too far away so you could stop here as well.
There isn’t tons to do in Berry besides walk through the small town, admire the adorable shops, and chill out in one of the rustic cafes.
The highlight of Berry is the famous Berry Donut Van. This little takeaway shop sells delicious, fluffy cinnamon donuts that are well-loved on the South Coast of NSW.
It’s worth stopping in Berry just for the donuts!
- Berry Donut Van Address: 73 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535
- Hours: 8:30am – 4:45pm every day
13. Dharawal National Park
For forests, waterfalls, wildlife, and untouched natural beauty, visit Dharawal National Park.
It’s only about an hour drive southwest of the city so it’s one of the quickest and easiest day trips from Sydney.
This park is home to the traditional land of the Dharawal Aboriginal people, and there are still some remnants of the land’s ancestors, like drawings.
My favorite thing to do in Dharawal National Park is visit on a hot summer day and hike to a swimming hole.
The Jingga Walking Track and Minerva Pool Walking Track both reward hikers with large natural freshwater swimming holes.
14. Grand Pacific Drive
If I had to recommend just one day trip from Sydney, it would be this one.
If you drive south of Sydney along the coastal route, you’ll find yourself on the Grand Pacific Drive.
This road actually stretches all the way to Kiama, but you can follow it for as long as you like.
The most popular sight on this route is the Sea Cliff Bridge; a huge cliffside bridge that sticks out over the ocean.
There are also a few hikes through the Illawarra Escarpment where you can get a good workout and enjoy beautiful views over the coastline. My favorite is the Sublime Hiking Trail in Thirroul.
Gorgeous beaches, nice cafes, and coastal walking and biking trains line this whole coastline.
So spend a day exploring along the Grand Pacific Drive. It’s one of the best day trips from Sydney as it’s only an hour away and it’s packed with beauty.
15. Stanwell Park
At the northern end of the Grand Pacific Drive lies Stanwell Park, another one of the best day trips from Sydney.
This quiet town is most well known for its large beach that is fun for swimming, surfing, and relaxing.
Just north of Stanwell Park is Bald Hill, an amazing lookout point that provides sweeping views of Stanwell Park beach and the surrounding hills.
You can also head just south of Stanwell Park to Coalcliff and hike the Wodi Wodi Trail. This bushwalk only takes about 30 minutes and offers incredible views from the summit.
Bonus: 2 Best Weekend Trips From Sydney
(Can Also Be Day Trips From Sydney)
These next two destinations in NSW are about 2.5 hours away from Sydney. So it is possible to visit them as day trips, though that’s about 5 hours of driving to do in one day.
These are two of the most beautiful places in NSW in my opinion. If you’re short on time, you can see them in one day if you start early!
But I recommend spending at least 1 night and 2 days in these spots so you can really enjoy everything without rushing.
#1 Best Weekend Trip From Sydney: Port Stephens
Port Stephens is quiet and peaceful, and it’s 2.5 hours north of Sydney.
The coastline here is surprisingly rugged. There are many mountains, hills, inlets, bays, and islands, making it an incredibly scenic spot.
Visit one of the many beaches, including Fingal Bay, Zenith Beach, and Wreck Beach.
The best thing to do in Port Stephens is hike Tomaree Mountain. It’s only a 30-minute climb and provides an amazing view of the hilly coastline.
I recommend going at sunrise for beautiful lighting!
#2 Best Weekend Trip From Sydney: Jervis Bay
I previously wrote about Jervis Bay in my article, 6 Beautiful Places In New South Wales, Australia. But it deserves another mention!
Jervis Bay is 2.5 hours south of Sydney. This coastal area is also very peaceful and relaxing and is packed with picturesque beaches.
Completing the White Sands Coastal Walk is the best way to see all the best spots; you’ll weave in and out of the bush and stop at amazing beaches.
Be sure to visit the famous Hyams Beach, known for having some of the world’s whitest sand!
Jervis Bay and Port Stephens are both famous for whale watching in winter as well!
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Thanks for reading!!
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