We regularly take day trips from Sydney because there is so much to see and do (and let’s face it, there’s only so long you can sit on the beach at the weekend). So, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite places that we often explore when it comes to the weekend in Sydney.
And, we’re including day trips from Sydney by train and bus so if you’re new to Sydney or don’t have a car, anyone can use this blog as your go to weekend guide. If some of the day trips don’t have access to public transport, hire a car from our favourite car rental (and the cheapest) right here.
1. Spend the day at Palm Beach
Although Palm Beach is technically classified as still being in Sydney, it’s still an hour’s drive from the Harbour Bridge. We love how tropical it is and how much there is to do in this pocket of paradise.
Expect hikes to some of Sydney’s best beaches, ferry rides, Home&Away spotting, iconic lookout points and a pub that’s so big it even has an outdoor cinema in it.
Palm Beach is the perfect day trip from Sydney for everyone.
How to get to Palm Beach
By Car: It’s a 1 hour drive north of Sydney
By Bus: The L90 will take you directly to Palm Beach which takes about 1h30m.
2. Feel like you’re in Byron at Avoca Beach
Avoca Beach is one of those beach towns that reminds us of Byron Bay. It’s chilled out vibes with gorgeous beach markets and healthy food to die for will definitely have you relaxed in no time.
We recommend going to Bombini for dinner, Aqua Fun for the family, a visit to one of the BBC’s best cinema’s in the world – the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre and a cheeky Gin Distillery for some gin tasting and walks around the beautiful gardens.
We also recommend checking out the Australian Reptile Park nearby too!
How to get to Avoca Beach
By Car: Between 1h30m – 2h
By Bus: Takes 2 hours from Sydney with a combo of train and bus
3. Hike around Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is so underrated in Sydney, that in just a one hour drive, you’ll find some awesome hikes, beaches, Aboriginal sites and some cracking view points to discover.
We love the America Bay track which is an easy 20 minute bush walk which leads you out to a beautiful view point. Beaches to discover include Flint & Steel Beach and one of our favourites, Resolute Beach which looks out to Palm Beach. Above this beach you’ll find West Head Lookout which gives you a unique perspective looking out to Palm Beach’s famous light house.
How to get to Ku-ring-gai National Park
By Car: It’s a 1 hour drive to America Bay Track
By Bus: Sorry there’s no public transport to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park 🙁
4. Go on the postman’s run on the Hawkesbury River
They might well hold one of the best music festivals in Australia (Return to Rio), but Wisemans Ferry makes a fantastic day out from Sydney.
Located along the Hawkesbury River, head over to the beautiful and relaxing part of Sydney where you can go Mandarin fruit picking at Watkins Family Farm, pick up some fresh veggies at the Mountain Grove Country Markets and go on one of the many hikes in the area.
We also recommend going on the River Boat Postman Cruise which is located at Brooklyn. That’s right, you can join the postman on his run around the islands in the Hawkesbury for a fun boat trip which lasts for 3 hours. It costs $58 for adults and $18 for kids.
How to get to Wisemans Ferry
By Car: It takes 1h30m from Sydney
By Public Transport: 2h45m with a combo of train and bus
5. Have a proper Aussie day out
If you’re after an authentic taste of Aussie culture then we recommend heading over to Tobruk Sheep Station. You’ll see demonstrations in whip cracking, sheep-sheering and even boomerang throwing to keep you entertained. They even offer a proper Aussie BBQ complete with lamingtons for dessert.
If you’re visiting Sydney on holidays, make the effort to go to Tobruk Sheep Station as it’s easily one of the best day trips from Sydney.
How to get to Tobruk Sheep Station from Sydney
By Car: It takes 1h20m from Sydney
By Public Transport: It takes 2h45m with a combo of a train and bus
6. Go horse riding and abseiling… and more
A great day trip from Sydney for the family or anyone really is spending the day at Glenworth Valley. Just an hour north of Sydney will bring you to an adventurers paradise (especially for kids). Expect quad biking, horse riding, abseiling and a whole lot more.
How to get to Glenworth Valley
By Car: It takes 1h20m to get there from Sydney
By Bus: There’s no public transport to Glenworth Valley 🙁
7. Discover the gem of Newcastle
Often disregarded by many Sydney peeps, Newcastle is actually a proper little gem. Just a two drive north of Sydney, Newcastle has many incredible beaches you’ll find not nearly as busy as any Sydney beaches.
We recommend checking out the Bogey Hole, Merewether ocean baths, Blue Door for the best acai and Darby Street for an abundance of places to eat. Don’t forget the coastal walk along the Anzac Walk which easily rivals the Bondi coastal walk.
How to get to Newcastle
By Car: It’s just a 2hr drive north of Sydney
By Train: It takes 2h30m to get there with a combo of train and the newly built tram line into the centre of Newy.
8. Easily entertain the kids at Port Stephens
Just an hour’s drive north of Newcastle is the beautiful Port Stephens. It’s one of those places that has something for everyone. There’s loads of activities to keep the family entertained like a toboggan run, sand dunes to explore the set of the recent Mad Max movie, camel rides and much more.
With a harbour twice the size of Sydney Harbour, we recommend hiring a small boat for a couple of hours to go dolphin spotting. We love the drive over to Shoal Bay. You’ll wonder if you’ve just landed on a tropical Thai island.
How to get to Port Stephens
By Car: It’s a three hour drive north of Sydney, past the city of Newcastle
By Bus: It takes an hour from Newcastle on the bus.
9. Go wine tasting and eat awesome food
The Hunter Valley is known as NSW’s wine country, and it can be on the pricey side too. But, we’ve done our research and found some great gems when it comes to exploring this area. We recommend eating at Cafe Enzo and going on a DIY wine tasting tour. Also, how could we forget, visit the Hunter Valley Gardens for a great family day out – there’s a couple of fair ground rides as well.
How to get to Hunter Valley
By Car: 2h30m drive from Sydney
By Bus: There’s no public transport but there’s loads of tours to Hunter Valley from Sydney.
10. Get some space in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is our favourite winter getaway from Sydney. There’s loads of hikes to tackle with our favourites being Hanging Rock and Wentworth Falls, as well as Insta famed lookout points that you can drive right to such as: Lincolns Rock and our favourites, Hargraves Lookout and Blackheath Lookout.
We also recommend visiting Yellow Deli in Katoomba for lunch as I doubt you’ll ever find a more beautiful restaurant than this as well as having a mooch around the vintage shops on the same street.
There’s also Scenic World to visit for the family and of course the steepest railway in the world!
We also recommend stopping by Leura as it’s a gorgeous little town a few kms away from Katoomba. Go and explore the Everglades Gardens whilst you’re there.
How to get to Blue Mountains from Sydney
By Car: It’s a 2h drive from Sydney
By Train: One of the easiest places to get to from Sydney via public transport is Blue Mountains. It’s a 2h20m on the train.
11. Wonder around the most beautiful gardens
Right near to Blue Mountains in Mount Wilson lies Breenhold Gardens. It’s only open during a few weeks in the year during Spring and Autumn but we reckon these gardens are the best to see the autumn and spring colours. If you’re British, these gardens will certainly remind you of home.
Breenhold Gardens is one of our favourite days trips from Sydney and is an absolute must visit for the whole family. It’s $10 to get in but they only accept cash. There’s also many other gardens to visit in the area too if you have enough time.
How to get to Breenhold Gardens from Sydney
By Car: It takes 2h10m to get to Breenhold Gardens
By Public Transport: Unfortunately there’s no public transport to Breenhold Gardens 🙁
12. Go to the best outdoor spa in NSW
Another amazing day trip from Sydney is Sparadise, a Japanese Bath House in the middle of the Blue Mountains.
We absolutely love this gem where you’ll be sitting in 30C+ water, looking out to magnificent views and wondering how on earth you didn’t know anything about it before. Best of all it costs just $70 per person. Money well worth spent!
How to get to Sparadise
By Car: Approx. 2h30m from Sydney
By Train: Unfortunately there’s no public transport to Sparadise 🙁
13. Visit the less touristy caves near Sydney
Our another awesome day trip from Sydney without the crowds is at Wombeyan Caves. You might have heard of Jenolan Caves but if you drive just an hour longer, you’ll come to Wombeyan Caves. We actually couldn’t believe how amazing these caves are, especially as we hardly saw another person in sight. You can do a tour or a self guided tour into the caves.
If you feel like you want to stay nearby, there’s an awesome camp site at Wombeyan Caves too.
If you’re brave enough, we recommend popping over to the Mares Forest Creek Canyon, one of the best things we’ve ever done in Australia.
How to get to Wombeyan Caves
By Car: It takes around 3hr to drive there
By Bus: Unfortunately there’s no public transport to Wombeyan Caves
14. Be totally wowed by the views
Very few know about Kanangra-Boyd National Park and although it’s a bit of a drive to get there, you’ll be in complete amazement of the beauty of this part of the Blue Mountains. You’ll honestly think you’re in somewhere like Borneo when you see the views from this stunning day trip from Sydney. There are campsites here too if you need to stay over.
How to get to Kanangra-Boyd National Park
By Car: It takes around 3hr to drive there
By Bus: Unfortunately there’s no public transport to Kanangra-Boyd National Park 🙁
15. Visit the glow worm tunnel
Newnes is one of the proper gems to visit near Sydney. It might take a while to get there but it’s totally worth it. Even the scenery on the way to Newnes is exceptional. We recommend going on the glow worm tunnel hike (good for families too) where you have to walk through a very black tunnel along the old railway tracks to see the glow worms.
If you fancy staying for a few days, there’s an awesome free campsite there too. We want to head back to see the old zig zag railway bridge too!
How to get to Newnes from Sydney
By Car: It can take up to 3h30m to drive to Newnes
By Bus: Unfortunately there’s no public transport options to get to Newnes 🙁
16. Visit the second oldest park in the world
We absolutely love The Garie and Big & Little Marley Beach the most, but Wattamolla is a fantastic beach for families with a shallow lagoon on one side and the beach on the other.
You can hike all the way from Bundeena to Otford but it would take a couple of days to complete. We’ve done this trek in stages on day trips from Sydney so we recommend starting with an easy walk from Bundeena to Big Marley Beach (and it’s public transport friendly too!)
How to get to The Royal National Park from Sydney
By Car: It’s just a 1 hour drive from Sydney
By Bus: Jump on the train to Cronulla, then a ferry to Bundeena
17. Hike to an Insta phenomenon
Although it’s part of The Royal National Park, we felt it was only right to give the Figure 8 Pools hike a section of its own. This fantastic 1 hour hike is so beautiful that when you reach the pools, you won’t even care how they look because the hike is so wonderful.
Make sure you read this post before you go as you’ll need to time the hike with the tides to get there.
How to get to Figure 8 Pools from Sydney
By Car: It’s a 1 hour drive from Sydney
By Bus: It’s a 1 hour train ride to Otford, then hike from there
18. Find the famous lookout
Who would have thought there’s so much to do right at the end of The Royal National Park when you arrive at Stanwell Tops. You’ll find a beautiful lookout point at Stanwell Tops which reaches over to the famous Sea Cliff Bridge in the distance.
We loved the short hike up to the view point, although it’s technically not illegal, it’s also not a hugely noticeable trodden on track and you have to find the secret access to it. Don’t take children up there and if you go be super careful and always wear hiking boots as thongs or trainers won’t cut it.
How to get to Stanwell Tops
By Car: It’s a 1 hour drive from Sydney
By Bus: It’s also a 1 hour train ride from Central to Stanwell Park Station
19. Have a fun packed day in Wollongong & Kiama
You’ll find not one but two incredible temples to visit in Wollongong, a couple of awesome lookout points, brilliant hikes and ziplining for the family.
Don’t forget to visit the biggest blowhole in the world down at Kiama as well.
How to get to Wollongong from Sydney
By Car: It takes 1h30m to drive from Sydney
By Bus: It takes 1h30m to get the train from Sydney – Wollongong.
20. Bring out your inner child at Jamberoo
Image via Visit NSW
Jamberoo is a brilliant day trip from Sydney during the summer. Set in the country on the outskirts of Kangaroo Valley, this water slide park is a great day trip for the whole family.
And if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, head over to the Illawara Fly Tree Top Walk or hike over to Macquarie Pass Jump Rock. This 30 minute hike will bring you to the most beautiful swimming spot, with jumping platforms included. Just be careful if you decide to jump in.
How to get to Jamberoo from Sydney
By Car: It takes between 1h30m-2h to drive there
By Bus: It takes about 3hr with a combo of bus and train
21. Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley is one of our favourite weekend getaways from Sydney. Famed for having not one but two statues to go and visit… cricket veteran Don Bradman (there’s even a museum in honour of him) and Marry Poppins. Apparently the writer lived here in her teenage years.
There’s plenty of hikes to take on and waterfalls to visit. We love visiting Belmore Falls, Carrington Falls, Fitzroy Falls and Gerringong Falls (just don’t try to get to the bottom of Gerringong Falls as it’s too dangerous, trust me, we tried!).
If you have kids in tow, check out Minnamura Rainforest park.
There’s also a Tulip Festival usually around the end of September which is worth a visit.
We also love mooching around the shops in Bowral and recommend visiting Lancelot Hill Antique shop on the main street which is amazing. We used to visit a lot of antique stores in England, and this one matches the quality of them easily.
If you’re wondering where the centre of Kangaroo Valley is, we recommend checking out Bowral, then smaller towns like Berrima, Mittagong and Robertson.
Also, not forgetting, if you’re a foodies lover, then defo check out Berry. This small town is on the map for having some of the best cafes and restaurants in NSW. You can detour her onto your way into the Kangaroo Valley.
How to get to Kangaroo Valley
By Car: It takes about 2hr to drive there.
By Public Transport:It takes about 4hr to get to Kangaroo Valley by a train and a couple of buses.
22. Visit a Thai Buddhist Monastery
We absolutely love Sunnataram Thai Buddhist Monastery in Bundanoon which is west of Kangaroo Valley. If you’re not up for doing one of their donation based retreats, you can visit every Sunday from 11-4pm. Just make sure you cover your shoulders, arms and below the knees out of respect for the monks.
How to get to Sunnataram Forest Monastery
By Car: It takes about 2 hours to drive there.
By Public Transport: It takes between 2-3 hours to get there with a combo of buses and trains.
23. The best beach town near Sydney
Just a three hour drive south of Sydney lies Jervis Bay. If you’ve not heard of Jervis Bay yet, you’ll want to know about it because it’s one of the most stunning beach towns you’ll come across near to Sydney.
With the title known as the world’s whitest sand beach, we recommend going on the white sands walk which is one of the most beautiful coastal walks in Australia. You’ll pass by loads of incredible beaches with white sand and turquoise waters, you’ll wonder if you’re still in Australia. Best of all, the track is pretty quiet and it’s a nice flat walk meaning you can take your kids along too.
Jervis Bay is a fantastic day trip from Sydney, that you’ll be coming back time and time again.
How to get to Jervis Bay from Sydney
By Car: It takes 3 hours to drive there.
By Public Transport: Unfortunately there’s no public transport to Jervis Bay from Sydney 🙁
24. Find the best swimming spots in Sydney
Various Sydney Spots
If you’re looking for some day trips from Sydney that involve finding some of the best wild swimming spots around, check out our Top 9 Wild Swimming Spots In Sydney.
We’ve also found some of the best beaches near Sydney as well that won’t have many or anyone else on them. You can thank us later for this 🙂
25. Explore some of the best hikes in Sydney
Various Sydney Spots
We’ve tried and tested all 18 best hikes in Sydney mentioned in this post. These hikes are some of the best secluded places near Sydney and if we mentioned them all in this post, it would go on forever. So take your time, check out this post and start planning your day trips from Sydney.
I think we’ve covered a fair few places in this post to keep you entertained for some day trips from Sydney.
Check out some of these posts to inspire you!
If you’re looking to do a tour in Sydney check out the below!
25 best day trips from Sydney
Save for later and pin below
If you liked this post, please share with your friends below 🙂