15 BEST Day Trips from Sydney – Destinationless Travel

15 BEST Day Trips from Sydney – Destinationless Travel
15 BEST Day Trips from Sydney – Destinationless Travel

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Sydney is one of those amazing cities that has the perfect blend of cosmopolitan city life and beautiful natural attractions. It’s not one of those cities that you really need to escape from, but with so many incredible day trips to take, it would be a shame not to explore beyond the city limits!

We’ve spent a ton of time in Sydney and as much as we love walking around the city, we also love taking day trips to the beaches, mountains, valleys, and national parks that are within easy reach. 

So whether you’re only in Sydney for a few days and want to maximize your time in this part of Australia, or you’re a local looking for something new to do, we’ve got you covered with our guide to the best day trips from Sydney and the top tours to get you there!

Table Of Contents

Best Day Trips from Sydney

1. The Blue Mountains 

Scenic Skyway in Blue Mountain National Park, Australia
Scenic Skyway in Blue Mountain National Park, Australia
The Three Sisters in Blue Mountain National Park, Australia
The Three Sisters in Blue Mountain National Park, Australia
  • Distance from Sydney: 78 kilometers (48 miles) 
  • Time needed: 11 hours
  • What you need: Car, guided tour

The Blue Mountains is a wilderness area just an hour’s drive from Sydney, and there’s so much to do here! 

The Three Sisters rock formation in Katoomba is the most famous attraction in the Blue Mountains. Legend has it that these rocks represent three sisters who were turned to stone to protect them from an upcoming battle, but the witch doctor who cast the spell was killed and unable to reverse it.

For the best views of this unique natural feature, I suggest following the Three Sisters Walk to Echo Point. Although it’s a little steep in places, the trail is only 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles) return, so most people can easily complete it in under an hour (and maybe even under half an hour if you’re speedy!).

You can also visit Wentworth Falls, which is 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) outside of Katoomba, and walk to Fletcher’s Lookout at the top for amazing views. 

We also think it’s worth a visit to Scenic World, as there are so many fun things to do here that it could be a day trip in its own right! Our favorite of them all is the Scenic Cableway, which takes you down into the Jamison Valley and back up again, past the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Orphan Rock, and Mt Solitary. It’s the steepest cable car ride in all of the Southern Hemisphere and we loved the views from up here!

If you haven’t had enough of the heights, you can glide between the cliffs aboard the Scenic Skyway. It’s suspended above ravines and rainforests and is the same cable car that Chris Hemsworth hangs off in his Disney+ series!

The best way to explore the Blue Mountains by yourself on a day trip from Sydney is to rent a car and drive yourself. However, for a really memorable day out that you don’t have to plan yourself, you can join a Blue Mountains tour from Sydney.

Our top choice is this small group tour which takes you to multiple lookout points, Scenic World, and includes a delicious chef-prepared lunch. You’ll also visit a wildlife park to see kangaroos and take a cruise back to Sydney Harbour. It sounds like so much fun and is a really stress-free way to see this epic area! Honestly, we love this tour so much that we even added it to our 2-day Sydney itinerary.

The tour costs $285 AUD including all admission fees and return trip transport from multiple pickup points around Sydney. You’ll be accompanied by professional guides who will teach you all about this beautiful wilderness area and there’s a maximum of 20 people per group, so it feels friendly and personal. It has 3,500 five-star reviews (and we agree it’s awesome!), and you can easily book your spot here!

2. Port Stephens

A dolphin swims in Port Stephens on a cruise in Australia
A dolphin swims in Port Stephens on a cruise in Australia
Sand dunes in Port Stephens, Australia
The sandboarding was fun!
  • Distance from Sydney: 203 kilometers (126 miles) 
  • Time needed: 11 hours
  • What you need: Car, bus + train, guided tour

Port Stephens is an awesome place for outdoor lovers, which is why we enjoy visiting so much! It’s a natural harbor and a well-known hub for aquatic activities like dolphin cruises, paddleboarding, and kayaking. 

You can also spot plenty of birds here and there’s lots to do on land. You can relax on the scenic beaches, visit local farms, or even go 4x4ing or sandboarding in the nearby Stockton Sand Dunes. I have lots of experience snowboarding (having grown up in Canada), but sandboarding was something I had always wanted to try and it’s so much fun!

Port Stephens is a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney. It’s possible to get here via public transport by taking a train from Sydney to Newcastle, and then a bus to one of the towns in Port Stephens.

However, if you’re visiting on a day trip it’s much more convenient to drive yourself or take a guided tour. The drive to Port Stephens is easy and having your own car allows you to visit lots of different villages, beaches, and farms easily. 

We also think that this guided tour is a fantastic way to visit Port Stephens. It includes round-trip transport from Sydney, a dolphin cruise, time to relax on Stockton Beach, and a sandboarding adventure in the dunes! I love that the dolphin watching cruise is included as Port Stephens is known as the Dolphin Capital of Australia since there are over 100 bottlenose dolphins who live here year-round.

This tour is such a fun way to get to know this area and experience the best of what it has to offer. It costs $179 AUD when you book online and it’s only available on Sundays, so make sure to plan ahead! There’s a maximum of 20 travelers per group, so it’s a nice small group tour too.

3. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

ku ring gai Chase National Park
West Head Lookout
  • Distance from Sydney: 27 kilometers (17 miles) 
  • Time needed: 7 hours
  • What you need: Car, guided tour

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a bit of a hidden gem, even though it’s super close to Sydney!

Granted, it may not be quite as dramatic and jaw-dropping as the Blue Mountains in terms of its landscapes, but there’s still plenty of beautiful scenery here. It’s home to lots of beautiful and quiet beaches, Aboriginal sites, and fantastic walks. 

One of the best spots in the park is West Head lookout, where you can get amazing views of Palm Beach, Barrejoey Head, Central Coast, and Couddi National Park.

Meanwhile, the Resolute Track is one of the best walks that the park has to offer. It’s an 8 km (5 mile) loop trail that starts near West Head and takes you past Aboriginal sites on the way to the beautiful and secluded Resolute Beach. 

Alternatively, the America Bay hike is 1.8 km (1.1 miles) return and takes you to a beautiful viewpoint near a small waterfall. We recommend doing this towards the end of the day so that you can watch the sunset over the water – it’s absolutely stunning.

Despite its proximity to Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is not that easy to get to or around by public transport. If you’re taking a day trip, you’re much better off driving as this will give you lots more time and freedom to explore the park. You’ll need to pay $12 AUD for vehicle access to the park but we definitely think that it’s worth it.

Alternatively, this guided tour will take you to the park and Sydney’s beautiful northern beaches. It includes a stop at West Head Lookout and a guided bush walk through the park to see some of its most significant Aboriginal sites. You’ll also visit Palm Beach, where the popular Australian soap opera Home & Away is filmed. The tour costs $325 AUD per person and there’s a maximum group size of 12.

4. Royal National Park 

Sea Cliff Bridge in Australia
Sea Cliff Bridge in Australia
Cliffs in The Royal National Park, Australia
The coastline here is stunning!
  • Distance from Sydney: 32.6 kilometers (20 miles) 
  • Time needed: 9 hours
  • What you need: Car, bus, guided tour

The Royal National Park is the second oldest national park in the world! (The oldest is Yellowstone National Park in the USA, in case you were wondering).

The park covers over 150 square km (58 square miles) and is home to hidden beaches, Aboriginal engraving sites, and crazy rock formations. There are also more walking trails than you can shake a hiking stick at!

The Wedding Cake Rock is a must-see in the park. It’s a sandstone rock that really does resemble a slice of wedding cake sticking out into the ocean! You can’t stand on it as the rock is fragile, but it’s really cool to see.

The Wattamolla Beach picnic area is also well worth exploring. It’s home to a small waterfall, a pristine beach, and a lagoon. The lagoon water is super calm so it’s perfect for a spot of swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding.

If you’re visiting the park in the winter months, make sure to visit the Coast Track, which is one of our favorites! It’s 26 km (16 mi) long in total but you can just do a section of it, and you might just spot some whales along the way!

It’s fairly easy to drive to Royal National Park, and you’ll need to pay $12 AUD per vehicle. You can also take the bus from Sydney’s Central station to Otford Station

If you’d prefer a guided tour of the park, this private day trip will take you to all of the top spots and includes a visit to Symbio Wildlife Park where you can see native Australian animals including koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies. It costs between $190-$490 AUD per person, depending on group size (max of 6), including snacks, lunch, and professional photos of your day!

Related Read: If you’re after more adventures and based in Perth for a while, these day trips from Perth will keep you busy and exploring!

5. Wine tasting in Hunter Valley 

Enjoying a glass of wine on the Hunter Valley near Sydney Australia
Wine anyone?
Hunter Valley wine region
The Hunter Valley!
  • Distance from Sydney: 250 kilometers (155 miles) 
  • Time needed: 11 hours
  • What you need: Car, guided tour

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best (and oldest) winemaking regions. It’s a beautiful area and it’s particularly well known for its Semillion grapes, which are used to make both sweet and dry white wines.

There are over 150 wineries in the Hunter Valley, so you can have a fantastic day wine tasting here. The area is about 3 hours away from Sydney, so it’s possible to drive there and back in a day but the downside is that someone will have to be the designated driver. That’s why we think that the best way to do a day trip to the Hunter Valley is to take a guided tour. 

This wine tour is my pick since we found that it gives a fantastic overview of the Hunter Valley. Not only do you get to visit three boutique wineries, but you also get to do cheese, chocolate, fudge, and vodka tastings along the way! 

It’s a small group tour so it’s easy to bond with your fellow participants over all of the amazing food and drinks along the way, and you also get a gourmet lunch included with the price. It costs $239 AUD per person, which we think is good value considering that covers all the food and drink tastings and round-trip transport from Sydney in a luxury vehicle. The tour starts in the morning, but has you back in Sydney around 6:30 pm so you can still enjoy an evening out. You can book this Hunter Valley wine tour here!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

6. Canberra 

Parliament House in Canberra, Australia 
Parliament House in Canberra, Australia 
Australian War Memorial, Australia
Australian War Memorial, Australia
  • Distance from Sydney: 286 kilometers (178 miles) 
  • Time needed: 13 hours
  • What you need: Car, guided tour

Canberra is the capital of Australia, but it’s nowhere near as popular as cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane in terms of tourism. In fact, many non-Aussies don’t even realize that it’s the capital! 

Nonetheless, Canberra is still worth visiting and it’s a very family-friendly day trip from Sydney, although the distance means that it is quite a long day. 

There’s plenty to do in Canberra but we recommend starting off in Braddon, which is the heart of the city’s food scene. You’ll find tons of excellent cafes, bakeries, and restaurants here, so it’s the perfect place to grab breakfast or brunch after a long drive or train ride. I recommend heading to the Italian-inspired Via Dolce for one of their baked goodies and a coffee or a wood-fired pizza for lunch!

It’s also worth a trip to the National Portrait Gallery, where you can learn a lot about Australia’s history through portraits of famous Aussie citizens. It’s open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and is completely free to visit, although sometimes special exhibits will have a fee.

You should also spend some time exploring Lake Burley Griffi. You can check out the art galleries, cafes, and museums around the lake, hire a paddle boat and explore its waters, or walk the 5-kilometer (3-mile) Bridge to Bridge path around the lake.

It’s a 3-hour drive from Sydney to Canberra, so it’s possible to drive there and back in a day but we recommend going with at least one other person who you can share the driving with. 

You can also take a NSW TrainLink train from Sydney Central to Canberra Kingston if you don’t want to drive, or we think that the best way to visit in a single day is to take a guided tour.

This Canberra tour gives you a fantastic overview of the capital, with visits to the National Gallery, Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, and Mount Ainslie Lookout. It’s a fantastic way to learn more about Australian history and culture. We also think it’s good value for money at $189 AUD per person including transport and all admission fees, because train tickets alone will set you back at least $70 AUD during winter and $100 AUD during summer.

7. Whale watching cruise 

Humpback whale watching in Sydney, Australia
It’s super rare they come in this close!

We go whale watching pretty much every chance we get, and Sydney’s whale season lasts from May to November. If you’re in the city during this window, you should definitely go on a whale watching tour!

Over 15,000 humpback and southern right whales migrate to the Great Barrier Reef from Antarctica every year, passing right by Sydney, so these cruises really do offer a spectacular experience! A whale watching cruise from Sydney is usually a half-day thing that takes you out past the Sydney Harbour to see humpback whales breaching. You often get to see dolphins, too! 

There are plenty of cruises available but this whale watching tour is among the very best tours in Sydney we’ve done. It includes a whale sighting guarantee because the chance of spotting whales is so high that if you don’t, you’ll get to go on another cruise for free!

Depending on what time of day you go, you’ll get either an onboard breakfast or barbecue lunch, and you’ll have a naturalist guide to teach you all about humpback whales. There’s also free tea and coffee on board or alcoholic drinks available to purchase if you fancy a beer or a glass of wine during the cruise. We found it was also a bit of a sightseeing tour too since the boat passed by iconic sights like the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Manly Beach, and The Gap.

The tour costs $99 AUD and we think it’s worth every penny because whale watching really is a must if you’re in Sydney between May and November! You can check available dates and book your whale watching cruise online ahead of time.

Related Read: Fancy an evening experience on the water instead? Booking a Sydney dinner cruise means fine dining and gorgeous views of the skyline as the sun sets and the city lights up.

8. Kiama 

Kiama Blowhole, Australia
Kiama Blowhole, Australia
  • Distance from Sydney: 121 kilometers (75 miles) 
  • Time needed: 9 hours
  • What you need: Car, bus, train, or guided tour

The cute seaside village of Kiama is definitely worth a day trip from Sydney. Kiama is most famous for the Kiama Blowhole, which is the largest blowhole in the world. Watching the waves spurt out of it is pretty amazing to watch – they’ve even reached heights of 98 feet (30 meters)!

Kiama is also known for its cafes and the amazing Ice Creamery – try the passionfruit cheesecake ice cream or a classic banana split and thank me later! There’s also a great golf course here and one of Australia’s most scenic walks: the Kiama Coast Walk. 

The Kiama Coast Walk offers spectacular views of the area’s unique rock formations, untouched beaches, and beautiful ocean. It’s 20 km (12.5 mi) long in total, but you don’t have to do the whole thing. It’s usually divided into three sections, and we recommend the North Section. 

The North Section of the Coast Walk takes you from the Minnamurra River to the Kiama Blowhole, and you get spectacular views throughout. If you want to do this, you can easily drive or take the train from Sydney Central to Minnamurra Station, where the walk begins. It’s 8.5 km (5.2 mi) one-way, which should take roughly 3 hours. You can also take the bus from Sydney to Kiama by catching the PM2 bus from Sydney Central to Kiama Bombo, or book a guided tour. 

We like this all-inclusive Kiama tour because it’s a small group tour that includes a barbecue lunch (prepared by your guide Terry) as you admire the Kiama Blowhole and a guided Coast Walk. You’ll also visit the Jamberoo township, which is known for dairy farming, and Bald Hill lookout for beautiful views of the lllawarra coast. There’s also a stop at Bundeena Beach in the Royal National Park area for a remote bush trail walk to find Aboriginal carvings and watch the sunset from a remote beach.

Terry is a fantastic guide on this tour and packs in so many incredible sights and experiences without it feeling rushed. It’s like touring around with a friend – a very knowledgeable friend who is a great cook too! The tour is only available on Mondays and Saturdays for $260 AUD, so book ahead before it fills up!

9. Kangaroo Valley 

Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Village Museum
Photo credit: Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Village Museum
  • Distance from Sydney: 155 kilometers (96 miles) 
  • Time needed: 8 hours
  • What you need: Car

The Kangaroo Valley is another underrated day trip destination. It’s about two hours south of Sydney and it’s best to drive yourself, as getting there via public transport is too tricky and time-consuming for a day trip. 

There are lots of wholesome and outdoorsy things to do here, from kayaking or taking a river safari boat to visiting the Pioneer Village Museum. The museum has replica buildings and artifacts like a water pump you can try and there’s a suspension bridge that leads to a bushwalk track where you might actually spot kangaroos!

For more adventures in Kangaroo Valley, there are also horse riding trails and you can go wild swimming at Flat Rock or under the Hampden Bridge

We love wine tasting and the Kangaroo Valley is a fantastic place to do it. You can head to the Yarrawa Estate Winery, which is pretty famous locally, to try their amazing wines and visit Mark and Sue’s “wine dogs” Muscat and Jack. The wines are exceptional, but the cheese platter and Sue’s homemade pickles are to die for! Tastings are generally offered just on the weekends, but you can buy a bottle of wine if you visit during the week.

And if you’re looking for natural attractions, head to Fitzroy Falls. It’s an impressive 266-foot (81-meter) waterfall surrounded by wildlife and gorgeous scenery. Plus it’s easy to get to. I love a good hike, but sometimes a short walk is all we have time for! Luckily the falls are just a 5-minute walk from the Visitor Centre (which is also worth wandering through!). We also recommend following the 1.2 km (0.8 mile) East Rim Wildflower Walking Track to the Warrawong Lookout for fantastic views and yes, colorful wildflowers, so bring a camera along!

10. Jervis Bay

Two dolphins swim in Jervis Bay, Australia as seen on a cruise
So cool to see!
  • Distance from Sydney: 196 kilometers (122 miles) 
  • Time needed: 12 hours
  • What you need: Car

Jervis Bay makes for a beautiful day trip from Sydney. It’s 2.5 hours away by car so it is a fairly long day, but trust us when we say that it’s 100% worth it!

One of the things that Jervis Bay is best known for is being home to around 100 bottlenose dolphins. You can take a 1.5 hour dolphin cruise around Jervis Bay to see these beautiful creatures swimming and playing in the waves, and it only costs $35 AUD! It’s available all year round and takes place aboard a catamaran with five different viewing levels. It’s a close second for us compared to the chance to swim with wild dolphins in Perth.

Or, for something a bit different, you can go on a boom netting tour, which is where you sit in a net attached to the rear of a boat as you ride around the bay, spotting dolphins as you go. It’s kind of like combining rafting, dolphin watching and a boat ride all in one! Tickets are $55 AUD for this unique tour.

There are also a ton of beautiful beaches to visit in Jervis Bay. Cave Beach is fantastic for surfing, while Murrays Beach is the ideal spot to relax. With its pale white sand and clear blue water, it’s easy to see why National Geographic named it one of the top 10 beaches in Australia. 

If you’d prefer to beach hop rather than spend hours on just one beach, consider the White Sands Walk. It’s a flat 10-km (6.1-mi) return walk that will take you past many of the area’s best beaches, and it ends at Hyams Beach which according to the Guinness Book of Records has the whitest sand in the world!

Related Read: For more ideas for your Sydney trip, check out the best free and cheap things to do in Sydney. We have over 30 suggestions!

11. Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie near Newcastle, Australia
Lake Macquarie near Newcastle, Australia
  • Distance from Sydney: 138 kilometers (122 miles) 
  • Time needed: 10 hours
  • What you need: Car

Lake Macquarie is a somewhat underrated area located between Sydney and Newcastle. Lake Macquarie itself is the largest permanent lake in the southern hemisphere, so unsurprisingly this area is known for boating and fishing. 

There are also some fantastic walking and cycling trails here, including the Caves Beach Coastal Walk, which is a 5-km (3-mi) track offering incredible views. It’s graded as a moderate hike, so for an easier journey my pick is the Fernleigh Track. It’s built on an old railway between Adamstown and Belmont so I love seeing the landmarks as I follow along the track like the old signs and stations and even a railway tunnel!

We also like this tour which starts and ends in Lake Macquarie. It includes a cruise around the lake and a guided bushwalk. You’ll get to see lots of the area’s most picturesque beaches and bays, and spot tons of wildlife. It costs $140 AUD per person, including lunch in Dobell Park, which overlooks Pulbah Island Nature Reserve. It’s only offered a couple of times a month, so make sure to book ahead of time!

As for getting to Lake Macquarie, you can drive there from Sydney in around 2 hours. It’s possible to get here via a bus and train, but it takes too long for a single-day trip. 

12. Stanwell Park

Views of Stanwell Beach in Stanwell Park, Australia
One of the most beautiful places in Australia!
  • Distance from Sydney: 138 kilometers (122 miles) 
  • Time needed: 8 hours
  • What you need: Car, train 

Stanwell Park is a coastal village in Wollongong, and it’s a nice, easy day trip from Sydney. You can drive there in just under an hour, or the train from Sydney Central to Stanwell Park Station takes about 1 hour. 

One of the top things to do in Stanwell Park is to go to Bald Hill Lookout for paragliding or hang gliding. This tandem hang gliding flight is one of the best-rated in the area! The chief instructor has four decades of hang gliding experience, so you’re in good hands. It’s just a few steps off of Bald Hill Lookout before you’re soaring in the sky and your pilot even lets you take the controls during the 30-minute flight! It’s offered on the weekends (weather dependent) for $319 AUD per person.

However, you don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy a day trip to Stanwell Park. You can hang out on the gorgeous Stanwell Park Beach, visit the Articles Fine Arts Gallery, or complete a section of the Grand Pacific Walk between Stanwell Park and Coalcliff. It’s 3.5 km (2.1 mi) one-way and is basically a giant viewing platform looking out over the coast. It’s a gorgeous walk!

You can also visit Symbio Wildlife Park to see lots of Australian animals and even hand-feed kangaroos and snuggle with koalas. This is a particularly great thing to do with kids! Tickets are $42 AUD for adults and $27 AUD for kids and the park is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm.

Related Read: If you’d prefer to get even higher than paragliding to take in the views, we loved our recent helicopter tour in Sydney!

13. Mermaid Pools + Tahmoor Gorge

  • Distance from Sydney: 100 kilometers (61 miles) 
  • Time needed: 8 hours
  • What you need: Car

Tahmoor Gorge is a deep gorge about 1.5 hours away from Sydney, and it’s home to the stunning Mermaid Pools. While you’re here, I say opt for the gorgeous and severely underrated Tahmoor Gorge Walk which takes you right around the area in a loop through eucalyptus forest, deep canyons, and across the Bargo River.

The walk to Mermaid Pools is 3.7 km (2.3 miles) return and it’s pretty easy, although you’ll need to follow a makeshift path of chalk arrows, ribbons, and other markers left by fellow hikers since this isn’t a formally maintained trail. The pools themselves are technically closed to visitors and not safe for swimming. The only way to get into the pools is by jumping off a cliff and there have been several fatal accidents, so this is not recommended.

Instead, if you’re looking for a swim, you can stop at See Thru Pools on your way back to the parking lot. It’s 750 meters (about half a mile) from the Mermaid Pools and 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) from the parking lot, and it’s pretty easy to access. Plus, it’s beautiful with a waterfall you can swim right up to! Just follow the path marked “ST” to get there.

If you’re a pretty capable hiker, then we recommend tackling the full Tahmoor Gorge Walk. It’s a 10.3 kilometer (6.4 mile) circuit and it’s very well marked. The terrain can be challenging, but it’s a very rewarding hike and you can stop at several swimming holes on the way around, including the ones we talked about above. We’d recommend budgeting around four hours for this hike including time for swim stops and snacks.

Sadly, there’s no public transport to the area but it’s a pretty easy 1.5-hour drive from Sydney. 

14. Scotland Island

Coastal views on Scotland Island, Australia
Coastal views on Scotland Island, Australia
  • Distance from Sydney: 26 kilometers (16 miles) as the crow flies
  • Time needed: 6 hours
  • What you need: Bus + ferry

Scotland Island is a great place for a relaxing weekend trip from Sydney, but if you’ve only got a day then that’s still more than enough time to get a feel for this picturesque little island. 

To be honest, there’s not a ton to do on the island but if you’re looking for a nice change of pace, then it’s a wonderful place to kick back and relax. 

There are lots of fantastic walking tracks on the island, and they’re all pretty easy. Elsie’s Track is arguably one of the best, as it takes you to a viewpoint at the top of the island for fantastic views. 

You can also go kayaking and paddleboarding around the island, and there are two playgrounds that kids will love. 

To get here, you’ll need to take the 156 bus to the Church Point Ferry Terminal where ferries typically depart hourly. It is possible to drive, but parking around Church Point can be really tricky. From there, it’s roughly a 30-minute ferry ride over to Scotland Island, which costs $17 AUD for a round trip. 

15. Long Jetty

The long jetty in Long Jetty, Australia
The long jetty in Long Jetty, Australia
  • Distance from Sydney: 106 kilometers (66 miles) 
  • Time needed: 8 hours
  • What you need: Car

Long Jetty is a small town along the Central Coast. One of the best things about it is its quirky boutiques, where you can find some amazing vintage clothes, vinyl records, and even furniture! 

Plain Janes is a fun stop for some retail therapy – it’s a clothing boutique, but there’s lots of cute stuff for the home too. If you’re doing a morning road trip from Sydney, make sure to stop for brunch at Green Tangerine. It’s a bit of a twist on typical cafe food with everything from waffles with ice cream to beef brisket and the latte art on the drinks amazed me!

The 12-kilometer (7.5 mile) Tuggerah Lake cycleway is nice and flat, so it’s perfect for families, and you get nice views of the lake on the way round. You can bring your own bikes or rent them from the automatic stations nearby.

And of course, you just have to walk along the long jetty that the town was named after! At 351 meters (1,151 feet) long, it’s the longest jetty in New South Wales. At the end, I really felt like I was right in the middle of the lake! There are a couple of other jetties you can walk out on, too, but the original long jetty is the best. 

The Coast to Lake Walk is also nice. It’s a 7.6 kilometer (4.7 mile) loop that takes you along Tuggerah Lake, past the Entrance Channel and several beaches, and back into town. It’s really pretty and fairly easy – it should take you around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on your pace.

The best way to get from Sydney to Long Jetty is by car, as there’s no direct route with public transport. We think it’s a nice place for a quick and easy getaway from Sydney, and that it’s ideal for families with its easy walking and cycling paths. 

Other Things to do While You’re in Sydney

Bailey smiles at the camera while the helicopter pilot fly's over Sydney
So much fun!

Sydney is a city full of exciting things to do and see, so you’re going to want to fill your schedule while visiting this iconic city. Below are a few of our favorite activities that you should consider adding to your Sydney itinerary:

  • Helicopter Ride – Sydney is a beautiful city; there is just no doubt about it! But it’s even more stunning from the sky on a helicopter ride! We did this helicopter ride the last time we were in the city and it was incredible! We got the most amazing views of the bridge and Opera House, not to mention the beautiful coastline. And to top it off, we even saw whales!
  • Visit Manly Beach and/or Bondi Beach – There are some pretty amazing beaches right in Sydney, so you should definitely plan for a beach day (or three!). Manly Beach is one of our favorites and you can easily get there via the public ferry. Or, head to the famous Bondi Beach! Once there you can do the walk to Bronte or Coogee Beaches – they are both also stunning!
  • Tour the Sydney Opera House – Did you even visit Sydney if you didn’t go to the Opera House?! You can walk around the Opera House for free, but if you want to see the inside, then you’ll have to join a guided tour or buy tickets to a show. We did this guided tour and found it super interesting! They took us to all of the different theatres and we learned about the history of the building – all for only $43 AUD!
  • Explore Darling Harbour – One of our favorite areas in Sydney is Darling Harbour. This trendy harbour features more restaurants, bars, and cafes than I can count! Plus, almost everything is waterfront! Here you can also enjoy the Chinese Garden of Friendship, walk across the Pyrmont Bridge, or visit other popular attractions like Madame Tussauds, the SeaLife aquarium, and Wildlife Sydney Zoo.

Where to Stay in Sydney

Get the best views of Sydney at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Australia
Photo credit: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

With so many things to do in and around Sydney, you’re going to need a place to stay. Luckily Sydney has a huge variety of accommodations to fit every budget. If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, check out our top picks for places to stay from luxury rooms to budget-friendly hostels. We’ve got you covered!

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney – $$$

For stunning views of Sydney Harbour and the iconic Opera House, book a room at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. You’ll have unobstructed views of the city from the comfort of your room. The hotel is located in the city center within the historic Rocks neighborhood – nice and close to lots of activities and restaurants.

Rooms here start at $400-$500 AUD per night and can be reserved with Booking.com.

Meriton Suites Kent Street Sydney – $$

Stay right in the heart of Sydney in a modern luxury apartment at Meriton Suites Kent Street. The suites are air-conditioned and have laundry facilities and either a kitchenette or full kitchen to make longer stays more comfortable. You’ll also have access to an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and hot tub.

These full apartments are $230 AUD nightly when booked in advance with Booking.com.

Sydney Harbour YHA – $

For a hostel with a view, head to the rooftop terrace at the Sydney Harbour YHA. Located in the historic Rocks district, you’ll have amazing views of the harbor and be within walking distance of all the major sights. You can opt for a shared dorm room or a private room here. There’s a communal kitchen, TV lounge, billiards, and a 24/7 reception desk.

Dorm rooms are around $70 AUD nightly and private rooms are more around the $180 AUD mark. You can check for the best rates and book on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on a cruise in Sydney, Australia
Thanks for reading!

Well, there you have it, 15 of the best day trips from Sydney! When you’re planning a trip to Sydney, there is so much to see outside of city limits and I hope we’ve given you a few ideas. For us, a visit to this part of Australia isn’t complete until we hop in our rental car and do a bit of exploring!

If you need more inspiration for your upcoming trip, have a look at our other blogs about Australia including a few popular ones below:

12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Sydney Tower Eye

11 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Lunch Cruise in Sydney

Penguin Island, Perth – Visiting the World’s Smallest Penguins

15 BEST Tours in Darwin

Source: destinationlesstravel.com

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