Are you thinking about going on a day trip from Sydney with your family?

You’ve seen everything in the city and want to escape from the heavy city traffic.

We know how you feel!

There’s a lot to do in Sydney, but if you venture further out, you’ll really see some incredible cultural suburbs, landmarks and unique attractions.

We’ve done the research for you and will show you exactly where to find the hidden gems.

Here are the best day trips from Sydney to take your family.

1. Royal National Park

The Royal National Park is south of Sydney near the coast where you can see some of Australia’s untouched natural landscape.

Covering over 15,000 hectares of land, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a bush walking experience.

Even though it’s a popular spot for locals on weekends, you can still find some hidden beaches where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Also, be prepared to bump into some native wildlife like kangaroos, koalas and echidnas.

If you have an active family, this is the perfect place to stretch your legs and take a dip in one of the many beaches available.

How far is the Royal National Park from Sydney?

The Royal National Park is just under 50 minutes drive from Sydney, 40kms away.

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2. Figure 8 Pools

Your family will need to be up and ready for an energetic day if you want to visit the Figure 8 Pools within the Royal National Park Coastal.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore the bio-diversity of the park, enjoy a scenic hike, and swim in the natural figure 8 pools.

Nearby, is Burning Palms Beach where you can have a real dip in the ocean.

It’s an active day with your family, but made even better by a picnic lunch eaten in a superbly picturesque location.

Before you go, make sure you check for low tide so you can take advantage of the beautiful scenery from the rocks.

How far are the Figure 8 Pools from Sydney?

It will be a 1 hour drive towards the Figure 8 Pools from Sydney, then another 1 hour walk (3.5kms) on a bush walking trek to get to the pools.

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3. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Ku-ring-gai Chase is the second oldest National Park in Australia (behind Royal National Park) and is ideal for family picnics, fishing, bush walking, and cycling.

The luscious forest and natural scenery will give you relief from the bustling Sydney traffic.

Popular areas within the national park include Bobbin Head, Appletree Bay, the Basin and West Head where there are facilities for picnics, lookout points and access to casual bush walking treks.

You can combine spotting Australia’s wildlife with a visit to the Guringai Aborigine Heritage sight.

See rock carvings left by the Indigenous tribes, who originally inhabited the wild spaces.

On arrival at Ku-ring-gai Chase, there is a car toll to pay.

The ranger will also give you a map, highlighting all the walking treks available within the park.

How far is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park from Sydney?

The National Park is approximately 1 hour drive north from Sydney, 45kms away, but you’ll see the natural environment of this huge park within 40 minutes.

Where you stop is entirely up to you.

It’s best to join a tour if you’re not sure where the best spots are.

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4. Port Stephens Beaches

The Port Stephen’s Beaches is a great Australian family day out.

Head away from Sydney in the early morning to Port Stephens and the amazing stretch of beach which lines the coast in Shoal Bay.

Do what ever takes your fancy from snorkeling to surfing, or board a boat for some dolphin spotting.

There is plenty to do for the family unless you get elected to flip burgers and sausages on the barbecue!

But don’t worry. There’ll still be time for a swim or even some sandboarding down the dunes.

How far is Port Stephens from Sydney?

Port Stephens is a relaxing 2 hour drive north of Sydney.

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5. Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands is a quiet and relaxing region of NSW where families can experience a different side of Australian life.

Famous for wines, gourmet food and it’s natural landscape, the Southern Highlands is another popular destination for locals who want to get away from the busy lifestyle of Sydney.

Stop by suburban towns like Bowral and Berrima, or visit the beautiful Fitzroy Falls.

Learn about one of Australia’s most respected sporting heroes, Sir Donald Bradman, at the Bradman museum, or check in on the Tulip Festival if you’re in the area during September and October.

Where ever you choose to go in the Southern Highlands, your family will have much to explore.

How far is the Southern Highlands from Sydney?

Approximately 90 minutes drive from Sydney, 110km away.

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6. Tobruk Sheep Station

This day will give you a real insight into a drover’s life.

You’ll learn all the essential skills needed to work on an outback farm like making tea in a billy can, throwing a boomerang and shearing sheep.

If it’s the right time of the year, you’ll even be able to pick fruit.

Follow that with an afternoon visit to a winery for a few samples of wine accompanied with home-produced cheese.

It’s definitely a long drive (but well worth it) and it can be easy to get lost.

Ideally, join a tour so your family can experience everything the Australian country has to offer.

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7. Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is one of the most popular wine regions around Sydney and frequently visited by families, especially on long weekends or special occasions.

There are countless fields of grapevines including establishments such as Semillon and Shiraz.

Make sure you have a designated driver, cause you’re guaranteed to be wine hopping from one place to another, trying all the different local wines and cheese.

As long as everyone is over 18 years old in your family, the Hunter Valley will be a sure bet to bring laughs and fun on your next trip.

If you do have young kids, you can still enjoy a great time at attractions like Hunter Valley Gardens and Hunter Valley Zoo.

How far is the Hunter Valley from Sydney?

Approximately 250km away from Sydney, 3.5 hours drive.

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8. Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is a massive natural landscape west of Sydney, filled with luscious trees on mountainous green scenery.

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations around Sydney and is frequently visited by families on weekends.

There are a number of possible itineraries when visiting the Blue Mountains, but the most popular stop is definitely the Three Sisters – a natural formation of cliffs that resemble three tall hill-like peaks located in Katoomba.

Echo Point Information Centre is located near the three sisters, where you can get more information on all the attractions in the region.

A number of lookout points here also makes a fantastic photo opportunity for families, along with access to bush walking treks that lead to magnificent waterfalls.

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Scenic World

At Scenic World you get to choose how you want to see the Blue Mountains.

Be it by Skyway, Cableway, Walkway or Railway, though you’ll need a good dose of courage for the first two.

The Walkway will let you amble along raised boardwalks through some lush rain forest, before reaching the Cableway, which takes you back to the top of the forest.

The Railway provides more of a thrill, descending to the forest floor at a steep 45 degree angle.

As for the Skyway, this will provide you with the best view of the Blue Mountains and is the most popular attractions at Scenic World.

How far is Katoomba and Scenic World from Sydney?

Approximately 1hr and 40 minutes drive from Sydney.

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9. Jenolan Caves Tour

After taking in some of the Blue Mountain ranges major points such as the rugged rocks aptly named the Three Sisters, it’ll be time to go down under – literally.

When you enter into the Jenolan Caves complex, you’ll discover Australia looks as good below ground as it does above.

As well as doing a walking tour amidst the stalagmites and stalactites, there’s an abseiling option to go down even further if you dare.

Although the caves are beautifully lit, it’s not recommended if you’re the slightest bit claustrophobic.

How far are the Jenolan Caves from Sydney?

The Jenolan Caves are approximately 2 hrs and 45 minute drive from Sydney, 175km away.

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10. Canberra – Australia’s capital city

Being in Australia and not visiting the capital city, Canberra, on a day trip is the same as not being in Australia at all – especially when you’re staying in Sydney.

The two cities, by Australian standards, are quite close together and so it’s well worth the four hour trek to take in the sights Canberra has to offer.

Historical monuments, national museums, art galleries and the Anzac Parade dedicated to Australia’s military forces are all things you’ll want to see in Australia’s capital city.

But at the end of the day, no visit to Australia is complete without a tour of Canberra and a photo of the Captain Cook Memorial.

After all, he’s the man responsible for starting it all.

How far is Canberra from Sydney?

Canberra is approximately 3 hrs and 15 minutes drive from Sydney, about 290 km away.

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11. Thredbo

Thredbo, often referred to as The Snowy Mountains, is the perfect day trip for anyone who loves to carve some snow on the hills.

A 5-hour drive south of Sydney, beyond Canberra, will take you to the mountains where you can take your pick of beginner to expert level hills.

Forget your skis and board at home?

There are vendors renting skis and snowboards on the mountain.

There are even thermal springs you can take a brisk dip in at the Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa.

When the cold isn’t too harsh, take a guided horseback riding tour of the park.

It’s common for many Australians to spend a weekend in the Snowy Mountains.

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12. The Grand Pacific Drive to Wollongong

If you drive south from Sydney towards Wollongong, you’ll find yourself on The Grand Pacific drive.

First stop is the Royal National Park for some bushwalking and birdwatching.

Further south you’ll pass the grandiose cliffs of Bald Hill in Stanwell Park.

You’ll find picturesque beaches and art exhibits when you get to Wollongong where you’ll want to stop and have a bite to eat.

Or maybe you’d like to try skydiving to get your blood pressure up.

Once your stomach has settled, you can go further south to Kiama Blowhole or even Jervis Bay.

The Grand Pacific drive offers lots of opportunities to be adventurous, while also showing you some of Australia’s most tranquil views.

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13. Jervis Bay

If you’re looking to get a tan and breathe in the ocean air, then look no further than Jervis Bay.

It is further south from Wollongong, approximately 3.5 hours drive from Sydney.

The area is best known for the many dolphins splashing around and also has the whitest sandy beach you’ll ever see in Australia.

Cafe’s nearby have gorgeous views of the waters, ideal for family breaks.

If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend away in nature, Jervis Bay is one of the top places to visit.

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14. Berry

145 kms South of Sydney is the sleepy coastal town of Berry.

You won’t find amusement rides or skydiving here, but you will find the perfect place to take a deep breath and relax.

Go for a casual stroll down the white sands of the Seven Mile Beach National Park.

Have lunch at one of the many cozy cafes and restaurants on the coast.

Spend a quiet afternoon exploring the Berry Museum, stroll the streets and live like the locals do.

Visiting a farmer’s market should be at the top of your list of things to do in Berry since so much of the produce is grown in local farms.

15. The Entrance, NSW

An hour and a half from Sydney sits The Entrance, a family-friendly area with resorts, safe inland beach and park areas.

At the waterfront, wander around the outdoor eateries, cafes, and statues created with kids in mind.

Every day at 3:30, you can head to the most popular attraction: pelican feeding.

Guides will teach kids and families all about the pelicans and how The Entrance takes care of them.

They even provide a breeding ground for them called Pelican Island.

If you want to be a bit more active with your family, take your bikes along the Bike Path; there are lots of parks and picture-perfect spots for a picnic.

In warmer months, you can even go kayaking and surfing.

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16. Newcastle

Further north from the Entrance, 2 hours from Sydney, is the thriving town of Newcastle.

Known for its parks and beaches, Newcastle has no shortage of wildlife to see.

For a more urban experience, check out the downtown streets and local food.

From quirky independent bars to bumping sports pubs, the dining scene in Newcastle is alive and well.

There are also plenty of tours on the coast for opportunities to see whales and other wildlife.

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17. The Legendary Pacific Coast to Byron Bay

The Legendary Pacific Coast drive is one of the most scenic in Australia.

It’s recommended to allow four days to do the full drive from Sydney to Byron, but even just driving part of the way is sure to amaze.

The first major stop you’ll want to make is The Entrance where you can feed wild pelicans by hand.

Further up the road, you’ll hit Port Stevens where you can see bottle-nosed dolphins and whales off the coast.

This area is also known for its banana industry so make sure you stop for a sample!

Eventually, you’ll end up in Byron Bay, a hotspot for surfing and restaurant hopping.

Whether you hire a tour guide or do the drive on your own, The Legendary Pacific Coast won’t disappoint.

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As you can see, there are plenty of interesting places to visit away from the crowded Sydney area.

All destinations listed are great for families, particular for short weekend getaways.

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For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!