Sydney is known for its numerous attractions, including the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Yet if you are holidaying in Sydney, it may be worthwhile to plan a few day trips outside the city, as Sydney is close to some wonderful destinations, all within a short drive of your Sydney apartment or hotel. These are some easy day trips close to Sydney to add to your itinerary.
1. The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are renowned for their majestic scenery and for its laid-back pace. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Area, this mountainous area is around 50 minutes by car west of the city. It offers some of the most accessible highland views in all of New South Wales.
While you’re in the Blue Mountains region pay a visit to Katoomba, the largest town in the area; Echo Point, which is famous for its stone formation known as ‘the Three Sisters’; and Scenic World, which has cable cars, walkways, and skyways to keep tourists entertained.
There are also places to visit on your way to the Blue Mountains such as Leura, the Wentworth Falls, Blackheath, and Mountain Victoria.
Newcastle is the second largest city in New South Wales. This city of around 300,000 people is approximately two hours north of Sydney, and offers beaches, mountain scenes, restaurants, and wineries.
Major landmarks include Christ Church Cathedral, Nobbys Head on Nobbys Island and Queen’s Wharf Tower. There is also a number of museums and galleries including Fort Scratchley, the Newcastle Region Art Gallery, and the Lock Up Cultural Centre.
For an outdoors experience, visit Bar Beach (considered to be the best beach in the area), take an ocean bath, and tour King Edward Park and Mt Sugarloaf. If you’re after a place to grab a bite to eat, head to Beaumont Street in Hamilton.
3. The Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is a wine-producing region located roughly two hours north of Sydney by car. The region is famous for its striking scenery, national parks, charming towns, and hundreds of reputable wineries. The Hunter Valley is generally known as the area from Newcastle to Wollombi, and it is regarded as a foodie’s paradise, with an abundance of wine tours and produce-tasting experiences.
There is also much scenic beauty to be enjoyed in the area. The Hunter Valley is home to some unique architecture, which you can learn about by touring its museums. There are also golf courses and national parks including the Yengo and Werakata National Parks to keep you busy.
4. Port Stephens
If you prefer to remain close to the water, take a two and a half hours drive to Port Stephens. Home to Nelson Bay, this region offers crystal clear waters, over 20 unspoilt beaches and national parks. Dolphin spotting is a popular activity in Port Stephens and the area is recognised as one of the best in the world for seeing dolphins in the wild.
While Port Stephens is an outdoor lover’s paradise, it is also home to excellent gourmet restaurants. There are self-service beachside houses, luxury resorts, or budget apartments to choose from.
Travellers can enjoy snorkelling and diving in the marine parks, getting close to native fauna in the national parks, taking a 4WD adventure on the sand dunes, or relaxing on a whale-watching and dolphin-spotting cruise.