A day trip is both the perfect bonding experience and the most efficient way for you to recharge your batteries away from the busy everyday lives that are lead in Sydney. We know life is hard, but not to worry we’re here to help you make it better. We’ve done most of the work in planning your quick (but necessary) getaway. Be spontaneous, choose one and just do it! We promise we are not sponsored by Nike, we’re just super keen on the idea – who wouldn’t be?
Here are some excellent contenders that are within a reasonable distance of the Sydney CBD for you to have a holiday in a day, so go on and live your best life.
An obvious option for a day trip from Sydney is the Blue Mountains. I would apologise to those who think this option is becoming a repetitive suggestion, but we insist that if you haven’t checked the area out in all its splendour then you really ought to, especially since it’s a only 1.5 hours drive away from the heart of Sydney. And if you have been, then I’m certain that there’s more you could do there that you’ve never done. If the general hiking option isn’t your thing, and you’re not interested in the usual experience of the three sisters then we’ve got some other viable options for you!
The Blue Mountains are full of surprises and we guarantee that there’s things to do that you’ve never done before! Maybe start your day by heading on over to the Glow Worm Tunnel, an easy 2km return trail that shows you how history and nature can combine to create new and amazing things. The track starts from the car park at the end of Glow Worm Tunnel Road. Enjoy the easy 1km walk to the tunnel entrance, past an impressive landscape of tall forests, lush tree ferns, narrow gorges and stunning pagoda rock formations
The 400m long tunnel was built in the early 1900’s as part of the railway for the thriving mining industry around the area. It’s now a world heritage listed area that is also home to thousands of glow worms. We also suggest that you keep out a sharp eye and ear for lyrebirds and goannas that have made themselves at home in the area. Bring your phone fully charged for the use of your torch, and of course for taking some amazing photos!
If you’re feeling a little edgy, and you’ve got some time to spare, head on over to Scenic World to experience the world’s steepest railway! Don’t worry, it’s purely a scenic adventure, you won’t have to endure high speeds. If the spectacular sights get you in the mood for some fine dining, then head on over to Silk’s Brasserie for some of the most popular food in town. If fine foods aren’t up your alley then you can’t go wrong at Leura Garage with some romantic share plates among rustic-chic decor.
The notorious Hunter Valley is a 2 hour drive from Sydney, and you’ll want to be rising early for the full experience here. If you’re looking for something a little more exhilarating than usual and are interested in the best views of the Hunter Valley, then you must give hot air ballooning a try. There’s no better way to see the vast vineyards and countryside than from high up in the air. Despite the height, floating across the valley in a balloon is very peaceful and a unique activity to undertake. The only time to ride the balloon is of course at sunrise, so if you’re dedicated enough to drag yourself out of bed for this then we highly recommend it. Make sure you book in advance!
What else is there to do in one of Australia’s major wine regions? Hmm… Winery tours of course! Some of the wineries found in the region are world-renowned brands and are well worth the time and money to check out. The whole region is gorgeous and there’s plenty to do. If you don’t trust yourself in the winery planning then you can hand over the reins to someone who does it all the time! There are plenty of local businesses in the area, such as diVine tours, who can help you make your day run as smoothly as possible. But wait, there’s more! If a regular wine tour isn’t jazzed up enough for you as it stands, then you can embrace more adventurous activities such as hitching yourself up with a Hunter Trike. Booking a Hunter Trike allows you to tour around the wineries on the back of a trike motorcycle, driven by an experienced driver of course. What a wonderfully original way to enjoy the experience, so much better than walking, driving or taking a bus.
Since you’re already having a fancy day trip, why not top it off with a delicious feed at Muse Restaurant with their seasonal and contemporary Australian cuisine.
Royal National Park
Only a 1 hour drive from the CBD, a day trip to the Royal National Park offers plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy, including BBQs and picnics, bush walking, swimming and even whale watching.
Royal National Park is the world’s second-oldest national park, following the one and only Yellowstone National Park. There are so many different walks, lookouts and picnic areas it’ll be hard to pick just a few. However we want to make note of the Wattamolla Waterfalls and Picnic area. The Lagoon at Wattamolla is perfect for multiple activities, including swimming, snorkeling and liloing! The picnic area is shady and calm for you to relax in as you admire the beauty of nature.
A few other significant mentions are the Figure Eight Pools (for those after the perfect Instagram but are willing to put in the extra effort to get there), as well as Karloo walking track. A quick reminder that entry to the national park is $12 per vehicle each day, so make sure you’ve got exactly $12 in cash on you before embarking on your journey.
We recommend that you visit the Royal National Park at some point in your life, as it’s literally in Sydney’s backyard. The park is beautiful and will be appreciated by everyone! It’s always great to spend time with those you love whilst surrounded by nature, it’s a wonderful bonding experience and can be an exceptionally romantic.
Hold on to your hats folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride… hop way from the stress and noise of the city and into Kangaroo Valley! Referred to as Australia’s most beautiful valley, Kangaroo Valley is the host to sparkling creeks and rivers among lush rain forest, with a huge variety of flora and fauna and plenty of outdoor activities to undertake. It’s a 2 hour drive from Sydney’s CBD, so you’ll want to giddy up and make the most of the time you have there.
So, are you the adventurous type? Do you prefer markets and festivals? Or are you more interested in sightseeing and heritage? Whatever it is, you can do it at Kangaroo Valley. Honestly, there’s so much to do that we couldn’t possibly cover it all in this article, but we’ll surely give you some solid suggestions.
One of the biggest negatives of living in a big city is the lack of flora and fauna. Get back in touch with nature at the Man from Kangaroo Valley Trail Ride! Leave all your worries behind and trot your way through pristine bush on the back of a horse. This trail ride climbs its way through the lush rain forests of Mt Moollatoo and boasts of unique panoramic views.
After your ride you’re going to want to relax a bit more and of course, you’ll be hungry and thirsty. How do you cure Hungry Thirsty? Not with Oak, but with wine and cheese! Yarrawa Estate is just a 30 minute drive from Horse Riding, and their wine and cheese tastings are a real treat. A more casual option would be to chill out at the Friendly Inn Hotel, which you can get to in half the time at just a 15 minute drive. The Friendly Inn Hotel is one of the region’s oldest pubs and is a favorite among both locals and tourists.
If you were looking for other activities, you can always give paddling down the river in a kayak a try, or board yourself on a safari. I warned you that there’s a lot going on, and we want to do ALL of it.
Grand Pacific Drive
The cliff hugging and winding roads of the Grand Pacific Drive start at Royal National Park, then head south down the breathtaking coast to show off some of the best scenery Australia has to offer. From Royal National Park the road leads down into Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven. The whole drive and return can be done in a day, but if you don’t want to spend the whole day sitting in a car we suggest you pick and choose your destinations.
To make it all the way down to Shoalhaven is almost 3 hours’ drive, however just to Wollongong is half that at just 1 and a half hours’ drive from the CBD of Sydney! Whether you go the whole way or only make it to a few places, there’s plenty to do and see. A day trip to Wollongong give you access to 17 beaches, botanical gardens, and of course, it’ll take you over the notorious Sea Cliff Bridge, where you can experience the wonders of modern architecture and infrastructure as you glide over the water and treat yourself to amazing ocean views.
Honestly I shouldn’t have suggested the Grand Pacific Drive as a day trip, because after hearing all the things you could do you’ll be tempted to spread the fun over more than one day. You can go hang gliding, sky diving, paddle boarding, tree adventuring, flying in a biplane, lounge and splashing on gorgeous beaches, waterfall chasing and cycling. There are also markets, wineries, bars, orchards, wildlife parks and more!
Since this day trip is all about beaches, why not top it off by grabbing yourself some delicious and classic fish and chips! If you’re heading to Wollongong why not try the top rated Levendi on the Harbour! Or if you’re willing to drive the extra miles, give Salvatores Fish Cafe a go in Shellharbour. There’s really nothing like eating fish and chips on the beautiful beaches of the Australian East Coast. You go on a day trip because you want a little adventure and excitement, Grand Pacific drive definitely delivers if you’re up for the winding journey.
So whether you’re really in need of some time away, or you’ve got some free time and nothing to do, you can always take us up on some of these day trip offers to spice up your life. It’s a holiday without the hassle of having to take time off of work, needing someone to babysit the kids or any other common excuse that you can think of. The time is now, go on an adventure.
By Grace Thomas