Looking for the best day trips from Sydney? Whether you’re looking for new places to visit in Sydney, or just looking to get out of the city, we’re here to help you.
Whilst there are many day trips in Sydney, we’re breaking it down with our personal favourites, which aren’t Sydney day tours, but rather places you can visit as and when you like.
We spend pretty much every weekend going on smaller Sydney day trips which we just love. To be honest, you could go on road trips from Sydney every weekend for years and you’ll still find new places to discover.
From the best beaches in Sydney, to the best hikes in Sydney, you’ll find something for everyone in this Sydney guide. This post would easily make some of the best weekend trips from Sydney as well, so we hope we can inspire you!
We’re including day trips from Sydney by train and bus, so if you’re new to Sydney or don’t have a car, you can use this blog as your go to Sydney weekend guide. We do however recommend hiring a car so you can really make the most of your day trips around Sydney below!
After living in the nearby Warriewood for a few months, we spent a lot of time exploring the Northern Beaches in Sydney that we wrote a huge guide on where to visit.
One of the best day trips from Sydney is at the beautiful beach suburb of Avalon Beach. Whilst most people skip Avalon Beach in Sydney and head straight to Palm Beach, there’s so many reasons why Avalon easily makes it onto our best day trips from Sydney list.
Firstly, you don’t just have Avalon Beach and the beautiful ocean pool to swim at. If you drive through Avalon and over to the Pittwater side in Clareville, you’ll have access to the gorgeous Clareville Beach which is popular with families.
But, you can also explore the stunning Paradise Beach which we randomly found on Google Maps. This slice of heaven feels remote, like you’ve found a real hidden gem. You can read more about Paradise Beach in our guide here.
Spend the rest of your day exploring the beautiful shops in Avalon as well as the many cafes and restaurants to choose from. Our top picks include Koto for their incredible acai bowls (it even made it onto our best acai bowls in Sydney blog!), The Sneaky Grind for a simple but delicious breakfast, Sunset Diner for burgers and Bistro Boulevard for a French inspired dinner. You can check out our full guide on where to eat in Avalon Beach here.
How to get to Avalon Beach By Car: It’s a 50m drive north of Sydney By Bus: You’ll have to take two busses to get to Avalon Beach which will take 1h30m.
2. Take A Ferry Over To Beautiful Scotland Island In Sydney
North Sydney / 40 minute drive from Sydney
If you fancy going on a boat on your day trip from Sydney then we recommend getting the ferry over to Scotland Island from Church Point In Pittwater. The boat ride itself is gorgeous and we highly recommend it even if it doesn’t take very long.
There’s not a huge amount to do on Scotland Island but there’s no cars and there’s a walking track around the entire island so you could easily spend an hour or so walking around and feeling like you’re away from it all.
When you return from your ferry ride either opt for the beautiful Church Point Waterfront Store & Cafe or pop next door to Pasadena. If you’re unsure which one is better, Pasadena has a great beer garden on the water and they do a cracking fish & chips which is slightly cheaper than the Waterfront Store & Cafe. The latter is beautiful though and definitely worth eating at even if you just want to pop into the store to pick a few snacks up.
We do highly recommend staying at Scotland Island Lodge – we’ve stayed there twice now because it’s just so lovely! Check out our review of Scotland Island Lodge here. If there’s one thing Scotland Island make you feel, it definitely one of the best day trips out of Sydney, even though it’s technically just a short road trip from Sydney.
How to get to Scotland Island By Car: It’s a 40m drive north of Sydney By Bus: You’ll have to take two busses to get to Church Point Wharf to get the ferry over which will take 1h30m.
Watch Our Video To Scotland Island Below!
3. Spend The Day At Palm Beach
North Sydney / 1h drive from Sydney
Although Palm Beach is technically classified as still being in Sydney, it’s still an hour’s drive from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We love the tropical vibes and how much there is to do in this pocket of paradise.
Looking for things to do in Palm Beach in Sydney? Whenever we go to Palm Beach our favourite things to do include; making a beeline to The Boathouse for brunch or lunch, walking up to the top of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse and exploring the beautiful Bible Garden. Plus we always stop off for a coffee in either Bigola Beach or Whale Beach on the way. The scenic drive to Palm Beach from Whale Beach is gorgeous and we always drive that way if we’re not rushed for time.
I have also been known to stalk the Home & Away set locations from time to time and even found them filming outside The Boathouse once! 🙂 We also always jump on the ferry to do our secret hike in Ku-ring-gai National Park but we’ll talk more about that in the next point.
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.
Watch Our Video Of Our Walk To Barrenjoey Lighthouse
Looking For A Day Tour To Palm Beach In Sydney?
If you’d prefer to do a tour instead, check out these popular tours below
Jump on a tour to Palm Beach below!
4. Go On A Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Walk
North Sydney / 1 hour drive from Sydney
As we mentioned above about our secret hike we do from Palm Beach, you can get to the beautiful Resolute Beach from Palm Beach Wharf. We tend to jump on the ferry to Great Mackerel Beach which is stunning in itself, then walk 40 minutes or so around to Resolute Beach. This makes a fab day out but I wouldn’t take young kids as it’s hiking in the bush next to the water on a not so well trodden on track, not on a boardwalk.
If you’re driving over to Ku-ring-gai National Park, you can head down the Resolute Beach track from the beautiful West Head Lookout. West Head Lookout is stunning and has a great perspective of the famous Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Palm Beach.
Watch Our Video To Resolute Beach Below
Before you get to the lookout, you could stop by for a 20 minute walk to America Bay. It’s an easy walk and not hard to find when you reach the gorgeous lookout. Bring a picnic with you and spend the day there. You can read our guide about the America Bay walk right here.
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 🙁
5. Go On The Riverboat Postman Cruise On The Hawkesbury River
North Sydney / 45min drive from Sydney
We loved our experience on the River Boat Postman Cruise which is located in Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River. 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.
Down the road at Wisemans Ferry also makes for a fun day out from Sydney. 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 recommend taking on the Old Great North Road walk which is a historical walk where you’ll find some of the remnants from convict life when it was built between 1825 and 1836.
This is also a really easy day trip from Sydney by train. You just need to jump on one train from Central and it will take just over an hour to get there. Best of all, the train station at Brookyln is directly opposite the Riverboat Postman Cruise!
How to get to Brooklyn By Car: It takes 1hr from Sydney By Public Transport: 1h15m train from Central station
If you’re looking an authentic taste of Aussie culture then we recommend heading over to Tobruk Sheep Station for a bit of a different Sydney day trip. 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
7. Relax At Patonga & Pearl Beach
A bit further north of the Hawkesbury River and you’ll come to the beautiful Patonga Beach and Pearl Beach. You can actually get a ferry from Palm Beach over to Patonga so it’s up to you how you decide to do your day trip from Sydney.
There’s a campground at Patonga Beach which we always said we’d love to stay at one day because it’s right on the water and looks beautiful. Plus, it’s just a short walk down the road to The Boathouse at Patonga. You could spend all day in their outdoor setting and walk back to your campsite ready for a few beers to watch the sunset.
Around the corner from Patonga Beach is the beautiful Pearl Beach. It really has a beautiful feel to this beach and you could pop by the beautiful Pearls On The Beach for dinner or to the local Pearl Beach & General Store for breakfast or lunch.
8. Check Out The Beautiful Avoca Beach
North Sydney / Between 1h30m – 2h drive
Avoca Beach is one of those beach towns which reminds us a little bit of Byron Bay. The chilled out vibes combined with beautiful beach markets and healthy food to die for will definitely have you relaxed in no time.
9. Go Horse Riding Or Abseiling At Glenworth Valley
North Sydney / 1h20m drive from Sydney
A great family day trip from Sydney 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 unfortunately.
10. Spend The Day At The Hippest Town On The Central Coast, Long Jetty
North Sydney / 1h30m
Whilst The Entrance attracts many holiday makers, I must admit, we only found out about the awesome hip town of Long Jetty recently which is nestled right next door to The Entrance. We were actually really surprised to find somewhere that’s actually pretty cool which is full of awesome antique shops, healthy cafes, beautiful homeware stores and fab street art.
If that’s not your thing then head over to The Entrance to the public pelican feeding on the beach next to the Memorial Park at 3:30pm daily.
For swimming, head over to the beautiful Toowoon Bay which basically has two beaches in one, it’s gorgeous!
How to get to Long Jetty By Car: It should take 1h30m to drive from Sydney to Long Jetty By Public Transport: You’ll need to take the Newcastle train to Gosford, then take the B21 or B22 bus to Long Jetty which will take 2h30m total.
Often disregarded by many Sydneysiders, 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 beach.
We recommend checking out the Bogey Hole, Merewether Ocean Baths, Blue Door for the best acai and Ginger Megs for excellent Asian food. Darby Street has some fantastic local independent shops, our particular favourite is a vintage shop called Sourced On Darby.
Don’t forget the coastal walk along the Anzac Walk as well as the walk out to the end of the breakwater at Nobby’s Beach. Both are excellent!
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 Newcastle.
Read Our Newcastle Guides
Looking for more things to do in Newcastle NSW? Check out our popular posts below which goes into much more detail about our favourite hidden gems.
Looking To Do A Newcastle Tour? Find the most popular below.
12. Spend The Day At Hunter Valley
North Sydney / 2h10m drive from Sydney
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 fairground rides as well. Go at Christmas time and you’ll get to see the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas lights. It’s way more impressive than you can ever imagine!
Read Our Hunter Valley Guides
Looking for more things to do in Hunter Valley? Find our detailed guides below!
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.
Jump On A Hunter Valley Tour From Sydney Below!
Watch Our Video Of Steve’s Surprise Birthday Weekend In Hunter Valley
13. Something For Everyone At Port Stephens
North Sydney / 2h30m drive from Sydney
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 going sandboarding on the dunes, as well as exploring the set location of the Mad Max movies, camel rides and swimming with wild dolphins (the only place you can do this in NSW).
With a harbour twice the size of Sydney Harbour, we recommend hiring a small boat for a couple of hours relax in. 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.
The Blue Mountains is one of our favourite day trips 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.
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 kilometres 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.
Read Our Blue Mountains Guides
Here’s just a small selection of our Blue Mountains guides so you can read in more detail about the amazing things to do there. You can find all of our Blue Mountains guides in our Getaways From Sydney section.
Jump On A Blue Mountains Tour From Sydney Instead!
Watch the best lookouts in Blue Mountains you can drive to!
15. Experience A Slice Of England At Breenhold Gardens
Western Sydney / 1h50m drive from Sydney
Right near to Blue Mountains in Mount Wilson is the beautiful 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 in Sydney. If you’re British, these gardens will certainly remind you of home.
It’s no wonder Mount Wilson is often used as the set location for many movies including The Great Gatsby. You can read our guide to 18 Hollywood movies filmed in Sydney here if you’re interested to learn more about various movies filmed around Sydney. I would move to Mount Wilson in a heartbeat because it’s just so beautiful!
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. Make sure you stop off in Bilpin to do some wine tasting and to eat at the amazing The Grumpy Baker. The baked eggs dish is amazing!
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 🙁
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 $85 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 🙁
Watch Our Video At Sparadise Japanese Bath House In Blue Mountains
17. Visit The Less Tourist Caves Near Sydney
Western Sydney / 3hr drive from 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.
18. Be Totally Wowed By The Views At Kanangra-Boyd National Park
Western Sydney / 2h45m drive from Sydney
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 2hr45m to drive there By Bus: Unfortunately there’s no public transport to Kanangra-Boyd National Park 🙁
Watch Our Video To Kanangra-Boyd National Park Below!
19. Visit The Secret Glow Worm Tunnel In Newnes
Western Sydney / approximately 3h30m drive from Sydney
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 🙁
The Royal National Park is clearly one of our favourite day trips from Sydney. As the second oldest national park in THE WORLD, you’ll find plenty of incredible beaches and hikes to go on. You can read our full list of the 15 Best Royal National Park Walks if you want to know all of our favourite places to visit.
Some of our favourite hikes include the Wedding Cake Rock walk which leads onto the stunning Big Marley Beach as well as the Palona Cave walk.
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
Jump On A Royal National Park Tour Below!
Read Our Royal National Park Walks
Looking for more places to visit in Royal National Park? Check out our guides below.
Although it is 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 check the tides before going there otherwise you might have wasted your day as it would be too dangerous at high tide. We recommend reading our full blog post about Figure 8 Pools first before you go.
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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
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, but just be careful if you do attempt it. Please 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 Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout 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
If you stopped off at The Royal National Park or at Stanwell Tops, you should have enough time to check out some of Wollongong’s top attractions.
You’ll find not one but two incredible temples to visit in Wollongong being the beautiful Nan Tien Temple and Sri Venkateswara Temple, a couple of awesome lookout points, brilliant hikes and zip lining for the family.
Obviously 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.
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
25. Visit The Beautiful Southern Highlands
Southern Sydney / 1h30m drive from Sydney
Southern Highlands 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. You’ll find o 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!).
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.
Also, not forgetting, if you’re a foodies lover, then definitely check out Bowral and Berry. Berry is on the map for having some of the best cafes and restaurants in NSW, not forgetting the famous doughnut van. You can detour her onto your way into or out of Kangaroo Valley.
How to get to Southern Highlands By Car: It takes about 1h30 to drive there. By Public Transport: Catch a direct train from Sydney and you’ll be in Bowral in 1h30m.
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 weekend retreats, you can visit every Sunday from 11-4pm. Just make sure you cover your shoulders, arms and below the knees for 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.
27. Discover The Whitest Sand Beach In The World At Jervis Bay
Southern Sydney / 3hour drive from 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. Plus there’s car parking throughout the walk so you can start it from various points.
Jervis Bay is a fantastic day trip from Sydney, 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 🙁
We were blown away by the amazing things to do in Canberra. Although everyone we spoke to always said ‘we weren’t missing out on much’, we were really surprised about how cool the city actually is. Expect amazing art galleries, some of the best we’ve seen, fantastic wine bars and great places to eat.
Our top picks include visiting the amazing National Gallery of Australia, stay at the incredible Ovolo Nishi Hotel, eat at Lazy Su in Braddon and drink at Bar Rochford. If you’re visiting during Floriade, make sure you stop off at the gorgeous Tulip Tops Garden on the way back to Sydney. Want to know more? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Canberra.
Read Our Canberra Guides
Looking for more details on our hidden gems to visit in Canberra Check out our guides here.
If you’re looking to get out and explore more hidden gems in Sydney, you’ll find some of them in our 18 best hikes in Sydney guide. 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.