The price estimate mentioned in this post does not include rental car fees and tolls. A Car Rental in Sydney starts at around $50.00 per day.
Day Trips From Sydney: Palm Beach
Palm Beach is technically considered a suburb of Sydney, it’s about 41 km north of the Central Business District and it’s a great way for both younger travelers and families to escape bustling city life. It can get quite cold in Palm Beach during the winter months, so visiting in the Spring or Summer would be best. Situated on a peninsula, the suburb is surrounded by water with Pittwater located to the West, the edge of the Hawkesbury River to the North, and the Pacific Ocean on the East. There’s a lot to do in and near Palm Beach, you can explore the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, take a short 30 min drive to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, boat down the Hawkesbury River, and so much more.
- Approximate fuel cost: $5-$8
- Events like whale watching and historical cruises priced around $50 through Fantasea.
- Lighthouse Parking is $10 per hour.
Day Trips From Sydney: Blue Mountains National Park
Blue Mountains National Park is an extremely popular day trip from Sydney, especially in the Autumn and Winter. The park is about a 2-hour drive west of Sydney about 120 km away. This World Heritage site has a lot of hidden wonders that you can either explore on a tour or your own with a travel buddy if you want to save some money. With over 140 km of walking trail and countless waterfalls, caves, valleys, cliffs, and rock formations to admire, this is a day trip you won’t want to miss. Visit arguably the most popular site in the Blue Mountains, The Three Sisters, take some popular hikes that take you to lookouts over Wentworth Falls, Kings Tableland, and Mount Solitary, and marvel at the limestone crystals and underground rivers of the Jenolan Caves.
Day Trips From Sydney: Canberra
Canberra, Australia’s capital city is packed with tons of cultural attractions like museums, art galleries, gardens, memorials, and modern architecture for you to explore. A day trip from Sydney to Canberra is about a 3-hour drive and there’s so much to do that you’ll likely be spending all day there. While visiting, you can explore the different art galleries and museums, including the Museum of Australian Democracy which was also the previous Parliament House, the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, Questacon - the National Science and Technology Center, and the Australian War Memorial. You can also visit the Parliament House and take a free guided tour every day at 9.30 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3.30 pm. For nature lovers looking to encounter some wildlife, you can visit Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve which is about 40 mins away from Canberra. If you’re looking to relax for a bit or to go for a walk/run, we recommend going to Uriarra Crossing which is about 20 mins from Canberra.
Day Trips From Sydney: Royal National Park
Established in 1879, Royal National Park is the second oldest national park in the world (after Yellowstone) and is only 30 km south of Sydney. Doing this day trip from Sydney is best suited for nature enthusiasts looking for great hikes and beaches. With over 100 km of walking trails for different hiking levels, exploring Royal National Park is best done on foot. You can kick back and relax at Wattamolla and Marley Beach, or you can paddle down the Hackling River catching different kinds of fish. Along the coasts, there are several beaches where you can swim, snorkel, surf, or watch whales. Figure 8 Pools is also a very cool tourist attraction in Royal National Park.
- Approximate fuel cost: $4-$6
- Audley Boatshed provides boat rentals for Hackling River, an all-day rental is $50. You can check out the prices on the Audley Boatshed website.
Day Trips From Sydney: Hunter Valley
Driving from Sydney to Hunter Valley is about 244 km and will take about 3 and a half hours. A day trip here from Sydney may be pricier than any other day trip suggested on this list only because you’ll likely want to try the local cuisine. Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region so we’d recommend taking advantage of wine tastings. There are one-hour wine tours starting at about $60 an hour, this is great if you don’t have a car or a designated driver. If you do have a car (and a designated driver) you can do a tour of the wineries on your own. Many of the wineries in the area, including Tempus Two Winery and Mcguigan Wines, have free wine tastings. After you eat and drink till you're full, you can burn off all those extra calories by taking a stroll over to Wollemi National Park and walking the beautiful heritage trails. Alternatively, you can explore the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens, a popular tourist attraction in the area, especially when it’s lit up during the Christmas months.
- Approximate fuel cost: $21-$35
- You can find a decent sized meal in this area for under $30.
- Wine tours start at about $60 for an hour.
- Tempus Two Winery and Mcguigan Wines have free wine tastings, but other wineries may charge you around $5.
- Hunter Valley Gardens has a $20 entrance fee.
Day Trips From Sydney: Newcastle
Newcastle is a scenic town just 2 hours north of Sydney. While here, we suggest visiting the harbor which is also the oldest export port in Australia and the largest coal exporting port in the world. Make sure to see Nobbys Lighthouse, which was built in 1857 and is still a beacon guiding ships to Newcastle port. You can also indulge in a little bit of local culture and history by checking out The Newcastle Art Gallery and the Newcastle Museum.
- Approximate fuel cost: $21-$35
Day Trips From Sydney: Port Stephens
An hour north of Newcastle, this aquatic paradise is a longer drive than some of our other suggestions, but it is an absolute gem of a day trip from Sydney. Port Stephens has over 20 beaches and getting to visit all of them may be tough for travelers on a tight schedule, so we’ve narrowed down the list. We recommend visiting One Mile Beach, Shoal Bay, and Fingal Bay for relaxation. For surfers, Zenith, Wreck, Box, and Samurai beaches are all great. If you don’t know how to surf but want to learn, Port Stephens is a great place for you to take surf lessons. You can sandboard down Australia’s largest system of dunes, the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, which have some dunes rising up to heights of 30 meters. Hikers looking for a challenge can climb to the top of Mount Tomaree to get a breathtaking view of Port Stephens.
We hope that this list was helpful for those of you planning day trips from Sydney. Just an additional tip for anyone who wants a local touch to their Sydney Itinerary, you can use the section below to get in touch with locals all over Australia registered with GAFFL who would be more than happy to give you advice or show you around.