There’s plenty of things to do in Sydney, but if you’re looking for something different a little further afield, the city is perfectly placed for day trips into the mountains or the coast. Whether you’re looking for a calm break away from the Big Smoke, a nature excursion or an afternoon exploring charming sandstone villages, these day trips from Sydney will be perfect for you.
The Blue Mountains
Famed for the Three Sisters, the Blue Mountains are a collection of villages that stretch along the spine of the range. Katoomba is the largest, and best accessible – it is also where you’ll find the Three Sisters and the National Pass, a 5-6 hour hike in amongst the eucalypt; but there is also Jenolan Caves, near Blackheath and the charming town of Leura close by.
Berrima, Southern Highlands
Steeped in history, the sleep little village of Berrima is best for exploring and shopping. There are cute little historic cottages, art galleries and boutiques selling everything from pottery to clothes, including alpaca products, aromatic candles to antiques. My favourite stop here is the Little Hand Stirred Jam Shop, a veritable Aladdin’s cave of treasures, ranging from jams to preserves, chutneys to varieties of honey.
Australia’s capital is a great day trip from Sydney, especially for families with kids. Here in Canberra there are plenty of museums here to visit such as the National Gallery of Australia, along with grand national buildings like Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial. Try to visit the latter in the later afternoon, to catch the sounding of the Last Post – a surprisingly stirring ceremony.
Wollongong, the South Coast
Only about 1.5 hours drive south of Sydney, Wollongong, or The Gong, is blessed with a string of world class surfing beaches, making it the perfect getaway from Sydney’s crowds in the summer months. The top surf breaks can be found at Sandon Point, Woonona and Bellambi, where you’ll usually find at least one or two surfers riding the waves. Wollongong also boasts an unexpected bonus – the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere is located here, in the suburb of Berkeley. Nan Tien temple is open to the public for daily visits, and also hosts meditation classes and retreats.
The Hunter is Australia’s most sophisticated wine region, where visitors can indulge in cellar door tastings, chocolate making classes, and enjoy the region’s best produce at outdoor cafes. There are art galleries, bars, breweries and villages dotted all over the Hunter, perfect for a leisurely day trip from Sydney. The best way to experience the best of the Hunter Valley is to join an organised tour; the alternative is to simply drive from vineyard to vineyard, ensuring that you’ve chosen a designated driver for the journey.