The 5 Best Day Trips from Sydney (2020 Guide)

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From roaming through the wilderness of the gorgeous Blue Mountains National Park to tasting world-class wines in the Hunter Valley, these are the best day trips from Sydney.

If you are lucky enough to have already visited Sydney before and are out of new ideas on what to see and do – don’t stress, because I’m here to help!

Even though Sydney is an epicentre of culture, there is also an abundance of interesting sights and things to do outside of Sydney too!

Sea Cliff Bridge Day Trips from Sydney
The Scenic Pacific Drive – definitely worth visiting on as one of the best day trips from Sydney.

The Best Day Trips from Sydney

Here is my list of the best day trips from Sydney, most of which are easily accessible by public transport.

While on your epic Australian journey, make sure you get out of the city and check out these amazing spots too.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

The Blue Mountains

I think it is only fair to start the list with the Blue Mountains, one of Sydney’s most iconic and picturesque locations.

You may wonder why are they called ‘Blue Mountains’? The answer lies in the blue haze that surrounds the mountains.

Apparently, the intense blue colour is due to the native eucalyptus trees dispersing its oil in the atmosphere.

Droplets of oil mixed with water vapour scatter long rays of light, which are predominantly blue in colour. And now you know!

READ MORE: Check out our detailed guide on the best things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Day Trips From Sydney
The views from the hiking trails are beautiful

What To Do In The Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains National Park is located 130 km South West of Sydney. It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Blue Mountains from the Sydney CBD, depending up on whether you are driving or using public transport.

If using public transport from the city, take the train from Central Station to Katoomba. From Katoomba, you can either walk to some of the great attractions, or take a hop-on hop-off bus to Echo Point, a great launching point for adventures.

Famous for its dramatic scenery, stunning mountains, beautiful valleys, towering waterfalls, art galleries, Aboriginal art centres and eucalyptus forests, there is a huge array of amazing things to see and do in the Blue Mountains.

The Three Sisters, Echo Point, Scenic World (offering rides on the railway, skyway, and cable car) & Wentworth Falls are the major attractions, and they will all fill up your time in the area quickly.

There are also quite a few single day & multi day hikes from the Blue Mountains which can help extend your time up there.

And if you love local festivals, this is the place to be, with the Blue Mountains Music Festival happening in March, The Winter Magic Festival in June, the fun ‘Christmas in July’ event, and the Leura Garden Festival in October.

Speaking of Leura, this nearby village is a good detour stop on your way to Blue Mountains.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during the months of July and August, you will even get the chance to witness stunning cherry blooms.

Though the Blue Mountains is a year-round destination, summers can get real hot and winters can get real cold (sometimes even snow!), so having appropriate gear is very important (and a lot of sun screen!).

If you’re looking to book a day tour including transport from Sydney, lunch and all the best activities in the Blue Mountains, the best one available is on Get Your Guide.

Wollongong & Kiama

90km heading south of Sydney lies the beautiful coastal suburb of Wollongong, and a bit further south from there is Kiama. If you haven’t already added these spots to your list of day trips from Sydney, add it now!

You can easily travel to Wollongong via public transport. But since the ‘Grand Pacific Drive’ is one of the ‘must-dos’ of Sydney, driving would be a better option.

We recommend renting a car from Rental Cars, the largest and most affordable platform on the net.

While driving along the Grand Pacific Drive, make sure to stop at the Sea Cliff Bridge to get a panoramic view of the bridge and the coastline.

Don’t worry, there will be no difficulty in spotting this as you will see many cars parked along it. The only problem will be to find a parking spot!

Not comfortable with driving? No worries – you can book a day trip from Sydney here.

READ MORE: We’ve just published a complete travel guide to Australia! Don’t miss it.

Lake Illawarra, New South Wales
Lake Illawarra – located between Wollongong and Kiama

What To Do In Wollongong And Kiama

Port Kembla beach, only 10km from Wollongong and one of the most stunning in the region.

If surfing is your thing you’ll be in heaven. Wollongong is home to many surf schools, offering everything from one-hour lessons to four-week intensive classes.

If you are interested in Chinese culture & Buddhism, Nan Tien temple is another interesting stop. You can take the bus from the Unanderra Station, and conveniently enough the bus stops just outside the temple.

Into cycling? The bike trail from Wollongong to Thirroul is another attraction.

The most exciting out of all for me, was the Tandem Sky Diving, where I had my very first (and only) skydiving experience.

It is such an incredible sight to behold the coastal line from above and I highly recommend it30km from Wollongong lies Kiama, a real gem on the New South Wales coast.

The main attraction of Kiama is the natural blow hole which keeps blowing high depending up on the tides. Also, there is a light house located next to it.

Kiama is quite a busy area – the beautiful beaches and the coastal walk are the reason why.

With plenty of food options along the coast , Kiama is an ideal place for a perfect afternoon on the beach.

If you’re planning on making Kiama a day trip from Sydney, we recommend driving though so you can get out to the best spots and back in time for dinner.

The Natural Blow Hole In Kiama, Day trips from Sydney
The Main Attraction Of Kiama: The Natural Blow Hole


Newcastle is located about 160km north from Sydney, as part of the Central Coast.

There are regular trains departing from Sydney, or you can drive up as well. Both will take approximately 2:30 – 3 hours.

What To Do In Newcastle

If you decide to drive, The Entrance is a nice pit stop along the way where you can have a cup of coffee or brunch at the wharf.

Newcastle is famous for its beers, beaches & food scene, so make sure you set some time aside to hit up places like Merriweather Beach and try some fish and chips!

BlackButt Reserve is a nature park which has a lot of wildlife and a few picnic areas. A great spot to hit in case the waves are too rough at the beach.

There is no entry fee, and you get to see peacocks & kangaroos roaming freely.

Fort Scratchley boasts over one hundred years of history of protecting the land from invading naval vessels, and is also a great spot for whale watching during winters. There is no entry fee and the guided tour is only $12.50!

Merriweather Ocean Baths are popular sea baths/swimming pools, where locals and tourists enjoy their summer (similar to Bondi Iceberg Pool).

Bogey Hole is a rock pool and another brilliant spot for swimming. The view of Newcastle coastal line from here is spectacular.  

Nobby’s Light House and Newcastle Memorial walk are other interesting things to do.

Nobby's Beach Newcastle
Do not miss seeing Nobby’s lighthouse.

Hunter Valley

A bit of a longer drive as it’s 4 hours away from Sydney, but it’s a great destination for all wine aficionados.

The region is the most proclaimed wine region in NSW and showcases dozens of different vineyards.

This is an ideal opportunity to learn about winemaking, the impact of the Australian weather and soil on the winemaking process, and of course to taste world class wines!

If you don’t know much about wines, the best way to pick and choose a bottle for yourself is to consult the information centre or ask the experts in the cellar doors.

Wine Region, Hunter Valley
Wine Region, Hunter Valley

What To Do In The Hunter Valley

There are other things to see/do in Hunter region such as biking through the vineyards, enjoying a romantic stay in one of the boutique vineyards etc.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris over the wineries is another amazing activity which you don’t want to miss.

Hunter Valley Gardens situated in the heart of the region are a beautiful and serene spot to visit.

The Southern Highlands

If you want to relax and enjoy some of the best countryside in New South Wales, drive down to the Southern Highlands, located just 2 hours outside of Sydney.

This region is for those who would love to see rolling mountains, countryside living, charming village markets and beautiful wineries.

Southern Highlands are also famous for the beautiful spring colours, and a visit during the month of April will take your breath away!

What To Do In The Southern Highlands

Bowral is famous for being the birthplace of Don Bradman, the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen.

Here you can visit the Bradman Museum and the International Cricket Hall of Fame. Learn all about Bradman’s milestones in his private life as well as in the world of cricket.

Also worth mentioning is that Bowral hosts the Tulip Time Festival in the month of September at Corbett Gardens.

Berrima has a Court House, Heritage Walk, Harper’s Mansion (Gregorian Style mansion), Art Galleries and lots of food shopping centres to keep you engaged.

Also to be found is of one of the oldest licensed pubs in Australia, the Surveyor General Inn.

Fitzroy Falls & Mittagong (famous for its stunning wineries and countryside living) are two other places worth paying a visit.

Statue Of Don Bradman, day trips from sydney
Statue Of Don Bradman

That’s it for our list of the best day trips from Sydney! What would you add? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Rohini Nair

A techie by profession, travel writer by choice. Born & brought up in India but had the real taste of travel after moving to Australia & then to New Zealand for work. Currently living in Sydney & travelling around the globe. While juggling work & travel, I created Why You Wander as an initiative to help & inspire people to plan short term travel effectively. Strongly believe in Travel being inclusive, and hence constantly exploring ways to travel without compromising on work & family. My key focus for now is Australian Travel & Solo Woman Travel .

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  1. Media

    These are absolutely stunning places! I have yet to really explore Wollongong and Kiama but I’m looking forward to it now after reading this article. Awesome read!

      Alesha and Jarryd

      Thank you. Glad you liked the article. 🙂

    Sydney Bus Hire

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing. Sydney is a nice place for the holiday.

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