The 5 Best Day Trips From Sydney
The vibrant, metropolitan capital of New South Wales – Sydney is arguably Australia’s most iconic city. Home to world-famous architecture such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, tourists are certainly not short of things to see within the CBD.
Even if you should wish to escape the hustle and bustle, relaxation is only 30 minutes away on the 333 bus. Dramatic coastline stretches along the length of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, blessed with sunkissed beaches such as Bondi and Coogee. Why, you may wonder, would you ever want to leave?
After calling Sydney home for the past 8 months, Eibhlis Gale-Coleman shares her top day trips to lure you away from the ‘Emerald City’.
1. The Blue Mountains
Approximately 50 kilometres west of Sydney, lies the blue tinged mountainous region of the Blue Mountains National Park. The area is densely populated with Eucalyptus trees – which cause the optical illusion of a blue haze. Home to the famous rock formation of ‘The Three Sisters’, the mountains make an ideal day trip for those wanting to try some real ‘Aussie’ bushwalks and get back to nature.
A day trip to the Blue Mountains can be adapted for families or those who don’t want to trek the longer bush walks by visiting ScenicWorld. ScenicWorld has a series of cable cars and lifts to allow visitors to interact with the National Park in a more novel way. Although tickets are slightly pricey - $44 for a single adult – you have unlimited use of the rides. The amusement park also hosts the world’s steepest incline railway and a glass-floored Skyway ride for its thrill-seeking visitors.
For a leisurely stroll or browse, the area is dotted with country villages and towns. Katoomba is closest to the ‘Three Sisters’ and is popular amongst tourists. The Yellow Deli is a hippie styled café offering quirky beverages such as dandelion lattes. Its interior is designed like a treehouse and it makes for a pleasant and memorable dining experience. Katoomba is also home to a ‘Street Art Walk’ which can be found along Beverly Place.
A gorgeous seaside escape popular amongst tourists and locals, Kiama is famous for its Blowhole – a natural phenomenon caused by a cavity in the cliffs. In fact, the town gained its name from its blowhole; indigenous local fisherman called the town ‘Kiarama’, meaning ‘place where the sea makes a noise’. Nowadays, photographers and tourists flock to witness the spectacle.
120 kilometres south of Sydney, the town is situated on the route of the Grand Pacific Drive which means you can incorporate the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge into the trip should you drive. Kiama also boasts an array of crystal-clear sea pools – ideal for those avoiding the huge Australian waves.
Despite technically being in Sydney, visitors will quickly find that the Northern Beaches remain quite separate from the rest of the city. Manly is accessible by bus and car, however, the most scenic route is by catching a ferry from Circular Quay. The ferry offers spectacular views over the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the CBD – making the journey well worth your money.
Manly Beach is renowned for surfing and hosted the world’s first surfing contest back in 1964. Beginners can easily hunt down surfing lessons along the promenade shops and more experienced surfers can opt to rent boards. Although if you’d prefer to stay dry, there is plenty of waterfront dining at Manly Wharf to take in the scenes from the shore.
What trip to Australia would be complete without a visit to the country’s controversial capital? Situated in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra is certainly a contender for an ambitious day trip from Sydney.
The Parliament House is Canberra’s most iconic attraction, open to the visitors who can choose to partake in a free guided tour or explore at their own leisure. The Australian War Memorial closely follows, as a national memorial to those who have participated or died as a member of the armed forces.
A quiet city in comparison to Sydney, it is certainly possible to sightsee Canberra as a day trip. As the drive is a bit longer, the trip might be better suited to an organised tour or coach trip. Although, the company Murrays offer roundtrips for approximately $50 for those wishing to visit independently.
5. Port Stephens
Towering sand dunes, countless deserted beaches, fresh seafood and pods of resident dolphins – Port Stephens is where you fall even deeper in love with Australia.
For idyllic views over the coastline, head to Tomaree Head for a mere 2.2km climb. At the summit, you are greeted by 360 degrees views and can even spot dolphins and whales in the waters below. The entrance to the walk is additionally situated a stone throw from stunning beaches such as Zenith Beach.
Similarly to Canberra, the drive to Port Stephens is slightly longer, so you may want to opt for a group tour. Tours to Port Stephens typically include sandboarding, camel rides or 4WD tours across the dunes at Worimi Conservation Lands. Dolphin or whale watching excursions are usually offered too in day trip itineraries.
On A Final Note
When travelling around the state, be mindful of alerts for weather warnings and bushfires. These can be found on the site visitnsw.com, along with further information on the area.
For those travelling on a budget, a major hack is to travel on a Sunday. When travelling using an Opal Card, adults can travel all day and their fare is capped at $2.80. This applies to ferry, bus and train networks across the entirety of New South Wales. Opal cards are easy to purchase from post offices or information centres around Sydney and can be topped up online at www.opal.com.au.
Have you ever been to New South Wales? Got any recommended destinations to visit that didn't make my list? Let me know in the comments section below.
By Eibhlis Gale-Coleman