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If you’re planning on visiting Sydney, you’ll be blown away by how many amazing day trips from Sydney you can take.
Whether you’re looking for day trips from Sydney for families, day trips from Sydney by train, or guided tours, such as this small group tour in the beautiful Blue Mountains.
Read on to discover my top ten Sydney day trips within 2 hours of the city. I’ve also included information on how long it takes to drive there, and how to get there using public transport. Enjoy!
Day Trips from Sydney: Contents
Here’s a list of my top recommended day trips from Sydney. To skip down to any location, just click on the item below.
- 1. Blue Mountains
- 2. Palm Beach
- 3. Watsons Bay
- 4. Bundeena
- 5. Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
- 6. Grand Pacific Drive via Sea Cliff Bridge
- 7. Southern Highlands
- 8. La Perouse, Botany Bay
- 9. Royal National Park: Wattamolla Beach
- 10. Central Coast: Woy Woy & Bouddi National Park
1. Blue Mountains
A visit to the Blue Mountains National Park is classic day trip from Sydney. The unique sandstone cliffs and soft blankets of eucalyptus trees will transport you a world away from the city.
If you prefer independent travel, check out my Blue Mountains day trip itinerary, which can be followed by car or train and bus. It includes a visit to quaint shops and cafes in Katoomba and Leura, the famous Three Sisters rock formation at Echo Point and a choice of beautiful Blue Mountains hikes from Wentworth Falls.
If you prefer a guided tour, click here to book the Blue Mountains hop-on, hop-off bus, which includes entry to Scenic World. Alternatively, this Blue Mountains day tour takes a small group of you around and includes a hike .
How to get to the Blue Mountains:
- 2 hours to Katoomba by car from Sydney CBD (102km)
- 2 hours by train from Central Station
Blue Mountains activities:
2. Palm Beach
Palm Beach is another popular Sydney day trip, and a must-visit destination for beach lovers.
Palm Beach attractions include a choice of beaches, numerous of cafes and a great hike up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
It’s also the filming location of popular soap opera Home and Away. You can even go on a Home and Away tour to Summer Bay, which includes watching them film on certain days!
How to get to Palm Beach:
- Just over 1 hour by car from Sydney CBD (44km)
- 1 hour 30 mins by bus from Wynyard Station
3. Watsons Bay
Even though Watsons Bay is only half an hour from the city, I’m including it as a day trip as it has a real seaside, holiday feel that’s different to most of the other beach suburbs in Sydney.
Like Palm Beach, Watsons Bay lies at the tip of a peninsula, but it also has a large choice of beaches, a walk through South Head National Park to Hornby Lighthouse, city and ocean views from The Gap cliffs, and a choice of places to eat and drink at.
You can easily spend the day here and feel like you’ve been on a mini-break!
How to get there:
- 35 minutes by car from Sydney CBD (12km)
- 1 hour by bus from Wynyard Station (number 324)
- 25 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay
Bundeena, a picturesque village at the tip of the Royal National Park, is one of the absolute best day trips from Sydney.
Once you disembark the vintage ferry from Cronulla, you’ll feel like you’re in another world with the leafy streets, beautiful beaches and tiny row of cafes and shops. Check out my post on things to do in Bundeena to learn more.
You can either enjoy the beaches such as Horderns and Jibbons, walk the Royal Coast Track to The Balconies or Wedding Cake Rock, or if you visit on the first Sunday of the month, follow the Bundeena Art Trail and have a nose at the local artists’ work inside their homes.
How to get to Bundeena:
- 1 hour 20 minutes by car from Sydney CBD (56km)
- 1 hour 30 minutes from Town Hall Station via train and ferry (changing at Cronulla)
5. Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park: Resolute Beach & West Head Lookout
Gorgeous Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park lies across the water from Palm Beach and makes an amazing day trip from Sydney for nature lovers. Just catch the ferry from Palm Beach to Mackerel, and from there you can hike to beautiful Resolute Beach and West Head lookout.
This is one of my favourite places to visit near Sydney as the scenery is absolutely stunning, with turquoise water, tree-lined tracks, and if you visit on a weekday, hardly anyone around.
If you prefer an organised trip, you can book a full-day Aboriginal Explorer Tour to Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. The trip includes a three-hour scenic cruise on a catamaran, a three-hour bus tour, learning about indigenous history, a visit to Aboriginal rock engravings and hotel pick-up and drop-off..
How to get to Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park:
- 1 hour by car from Sydney CBD to Palm Beach Wharf (44km)
- 1 hour 30 minutes by bus from Wynyard Station to Palm Beach Wharf
- Then 30 minutes on the Fantasea ferry from Palm Beach to Mackerel
- Alternatively, it’s 1 hour by car from Sydney CBD to West Head Lookout (44km)
Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park activities:
6. Grand Pacific Drive via Sea Cliff Bridge
The Grand Pacific Drive has to be one of the best scenic drives around Sydney. To find it, detour off the highway at Helensburgh and follow the coastal route. Make sure you stop off at Bald Hill lookout at Stanwell Tops before crossing the legendary Sea Cliff Bridge!
The northern Wollongong seaside suburbs such as Thirroul, Austinmer and Bulli that lie beyond have beautiful beaches, ocean pools, the mountainous backdrop of the Illawarra escarpment, and a very holiday-like feel.
If you don’t have a car and want to book a group tour, try the Wildlife, Waterfalls and Wine Tour. This 11-hour trip stops at Bald Hill Lookout (to see the view in the picture below) and includes a beachside cafe lunch at Bulli on the Grand Pacific Drive, a visit to a boutique winery and Symbio Wildlife Park to see koalas and kangaroos and a short hike.
How to get to the Grand Pacific Drive:
- 1 hour 20 minutes by car from Sydney CBD to Stanwell Tops (69km)
- 1 hour 20 minutes by train from Town Hall Station to Stanwell Park
7. Southern Highlands
Leave the hustle and bustle behind and go back in time with a day trip to the quaint, historical towns of the Southern Highlands, NSW!
Peruse antiques stores and sip great coffee in olde-worlde cafes in Bowral and Mittagong; hike your way through Morton National Park at Fitzroy Falls; or head down to Kangaroo Valley, where the heritage buildings are backed by lush greenery.
You can even book a full-day Walking with Wombats Experience, where you’ll visit Morton National Park, Budderoo and Kangaroo Valley, visit waterfalls and rainforest and enjoy a twilight dinner surrounded by wombats and kangaroos!
How to get there:
- 1 hour 30 minutes by car from Sydney CBD to Mittagong (130km)
- Between 1 hour 40 mins and 2 hours 25 minutes by train from Town Hall to Mittagong
8. La Perouse
With numerous white beaches, historic Bare Island Fort, nearby coastal walking trails in Kamay Botany Bay National Park and great snorkelling opportunities, there’s plenty to do on a day trip to La Perouse.
Situated at the southern end of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, at the entrance to Botany Bay, La Perouse is easily reached from the city, yet feels like a whole separate entity to Sydney.
You can get there by car or public bus, or to join a group, consider booking a Botany Bay and Rocks Walking Tour, which explores the colonial history of both areas.
How to get to La Perouse:
- 30 minutes by car from Sydney CBD (18km)
- 50 minutes by bus from Central Station
9. Royal National Park: Wattamolla Beach
Situated between Sydney and Wollongong, the Royal National Park is a popular day trip from Sydney for those looking to get back to nature. Wattamolla Beach is easy to reach by car and passes by the beautifully located café at Audley Dance Centre.
As well as a lovely beach, you’ll find Wattomolla Lagoon, a picnic area and walks along the Royal Coast Track.
If you prefer to join an organised tour to the Royal National Park, you can book a Full-Day Coastal Hiking Adventure which includes the Figure 8 Pools and secluded beaches.
How to get to Wattamolla Beach:
- 1 hour 20 minutes by car from Sydney CBD
- No public transport
10. Central Coast, NSW
Lying north of Sydney, just across Broken Bay, lies the scenic southern end of the NSW Central Coast.
Visit the tropical-looking Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach; laze on isolated Pearl Beach or Patonga Beach; or drive to Bouddi National Park for a choice of coastal walks.
Drive a little further north to explore The Entrance, know for its abundance of pelicans, and the stunning beaches nearby.
How to get to the Central Coast:
- 1 hour 30 minutes by car from Sydney CBD to Umina Beach (92km)
- 1 hour 15 mins from Central Station to Woy Woy Station
- Then a D550 on-demand bus service from Woy Woy to the surrounding areas
If you need to book accommodation, make sure you read my thorough guide on the best places to stay in Sydney or use the search box below to browse hotels and hostels.
If you’re looking for a longer trip, check out my recommended weekend getaways from Sydney. Happy exploring!
Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.