10 Best Day Trips From Sydney for Families

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 never-ending suburbs of Australia’s most populated city.

If you’re heart just did a flip at the thought of going past the city limits and outside the limits of the CBD, take a deep breath of relief and read on because you won’t be bushwhacking on any of these ten day trips from Sydney, but you will be discovering the real Australia.

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 enchiladas.

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.

Royal National Park Sunrise Photography Tour

Get up before cock crow and drive out to the Royal National Park for a Sunrise Photography Tour. As you arrive at the first photographic stop, you’ll begin to realize that away from urbanity, New South Wales still has a savage edge. Capture that, in still life, as the sun comes up before heading into the park for more photo opportunities of Port Hacking, the sand flats of Maianbar and the Audley rainforests.

2. 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.

Australian Wildlife 4WD Tour

This is a safari Australian style. The 4WD Wildlife Tour drives you, in a luxury four wheel drive, out into the countryside just one and a half hours from Sydney. A professional guide will give you the low down on all the animals you spot and information about the habitat they live in before adjourning to a local pub for a Coldie and a cut lunch.

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.

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.

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Day Trip from Sydney

On this day tour from Sydney to the Ku-ring-gai National Park, 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, then take a boat ride while learning about all the different skills they needed to enable them to survive in such harsh surroundings.

Follow that with an attempt to count the penguin population on Lion’s Island and you may be well on the way to understanding just how diverse Australia is.

Official site

4. Port Stephens Beaches

The Port Stephen’s Beach Barbie 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, the day is yours unless you get elected to help flip the roo burgers 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.

Book Port Stephens Tour

5. 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, swimming in the natural figure 8 pools, and falling in love with a shack on Burning Palms Beach. It’s an active, but interesting day made even better by a picnic lunch eaten in a superbly picturesque location.

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.

Figure 8 Pools Tour

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 and living in the middle of nowhere is starting to sound, well, not too shabby.

Tobruk Sheep Station Tour

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.

How far is the Hunter Valley from Sydney?

Approximately 250km away from Sydney, 3.5 hours drive.

Hunter Valley Tour | Official site

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.

Katoomba

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.

Blue Mountains 4WD Eco-Tour and Helicopter Ride

If you want to reach the Blue Mountains quickly from Sydney, take a chopper! During the six hour tour, you’ll be flown into the Blue Mountain National Park, before driving through the natural landmarks in a 4 wheel drive.

Led by a local guide, you’ll see Australia’s animals in the wild, and some of the most unique land formations in the country.

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 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.

Book Scenic World Tickets | Official site

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.

Book Jenolan Caves Tour | Official site

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, in Australian measurements, 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 290km away.

Book Canberra Tour from Sydney

 

What’s a good day trip from Sydney for families?

An hour and a half from Sydney sits The Entrance, a family-friendly resort and park. 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.

 

Where should I go by train from Sydney?

Regular trains from Central Station go to a number of popular tourist regions including Wollongong, Newcastle, Blue Mountains and Canberra, but here are our suggestions:

Canberra Explorer: Australia’s Capital City Tour from Sydney

Canberra is Australia’s capital and should not be missed on your trip! Luckily there are frequent trains that go back and forth from Sydney all day. You could spend 3-4 hours on a train or try this tour that picks you up from your Sydney hotel. Canberra has no shortage of things to do: take a tour of the National Museum of Australia, see the Captain Cook Memorial Fountain, or visit the gardens at Commonwealth Park. Canberra is full of rich history and culture- and it’s only a train ride away from Sydney!

Scenic World Blue Mountains

2 hours west of Sydney by train is the city of Katoomba, home to Scenic World. As the name suggests, Scenic World has 4 attractions to show you the beauty of the Blue Mountain Region. You can take the Scenic Skyway or Scenic Cableway to get over your fear of heights and see Katoomba from the sky with an unlimited 1 day ride pass. Or, you could take the Scenic Railway for an adrenaline-pumping ride through Jameson Valley and into the rainforest. For a more casual stride, take the Scenic Walkway to see the sights at your own pace. There are 2 dining options in Scenic World, and you can buy your tickets in advance online.

 

Where’s a good place for seniors to take a day trip from Sydney?

Hunter Valley Wine and Wildlife Tour from Sydney Including Walkabout Wildlife Park

Hunter Valley is the food and wine Mecca of Australia. On this tour, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Sydney and driven to Walkabout Wildlife Park where you’ll enjoy your morning tea or coffee with the kangaroos. Then, the next stop is Hunter Valley for winery visits and wine tastings. Take in the beautiful scenery from a pre-chosen restaurant overlooking the vineyards. This tour is perfect for seniors, or those who don’t want to be doing anything too physically strenuous.

One For the Road – Newcastle Pub Walk

2 hours north of 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 on this food tour. From quirky independent bars to bumping sports pubs, the dining scene in Newcastle is alive and well. The tour is 3 hours long and in addition to sampling some amazing cuisine, your guide will teach you all about the beer-brewing process. Did we mention you get to sample the beers too?

 

Where should we go for a Day Trip during Winter from Sydney?

The Snowy Mountains are the perfect day trip for anyone who loves to carve some snow on the hills. A 5-hour drive South will take you to the mountains where you can take your pick of beginner to expert level hills. Forget your 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.

Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves Motorcoach Day Tour

Cold weather certainly shouldn’t stop you from taking your Sydney vacation outdoors. There’s plenty to do in New South Wales in the winter, like this tour of the Jenolan Caves. After being picked up from your hotel in Sydney, admire the scenery en route to the Blue Mountains National Park. Get your picture taken with the Three Sisters monument, and carefully peer down the cliffs of the Megalong Valley. Then, explore the underground caves with your guide and notice how the farther underground you go, the warmer it gets.

 

What’s a good place to visit 1 hour drive from Sydney?

For a chance to be immersed in nature and escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney, head north one hour to Marramarra National Park. Choose the Smugglers Ridge Walking Trail for scenic views of cliffs, heritage sites, and picnic stops along the way. There are hundreds of wildflowers growing along the path you’ll rarely see in the city. Admission to the park is free, so don’t bother packing your wallet. Just pack a lunch, some water, and prepared to be amazed by nature’s beauty.

Royal National Park Sunrise Photography Tour from Sutherland

One-hour Southwest of Sydney is the town of Sutherland, one the most picturesque places in Australia. Known for being a quaint and sleepy seaside town, there are dozens of quiet beaches and coves to explore or relax in the sun. The biggest attraction in Sutherland is the Royal National Park. On this tour, you’ll meet up with your guide before sunrise and they’ll lead you to the best viewpoints in the park to watch the sun come up. This tour is certainly for those who like to take pictures since you will be taken to all of Sutherland’s best vantage points.

 

What’s a good place to visit 2 hours drive from Sydney?

Sydney has dozens of interesting and beautiful destinations only two hours away, but here are our suggestions…

145kms 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.

Jervis Bay Beach Day Trip for Backpackers from Sydney

If you’re looking to get a tan and breathe in the ocean air, then look no further than Jervis Bay. On this tour, a local guide will take you and the other travelers to Jervis Bay National Park where you’ll spend 90 minutes on a cruise looking for wild dolphins and taking Instagram-worthy pictures. Then, enjoy a traditional Aussie BBQ on the beach. Eat to your heart’s desire, then soak up some rays or cool off in the crystal-clear water. After exploring the bay, your tour guide will take you back into the city where you’ll have one last drink together at a local bar.

 

Where should we go for a two-day trip from Sydney?

Most of the places already mentioned have enough attractions to fill 2 full days of exploring, including the famous Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Newcastle (or further north), Wollongong (or further south), and Canberra. However, if you don’t want to stress about an itinerary, here are our suggestions…

2-Day Combo: Sydney City Tour, Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise and Blue Mountains Day Trip

This 2-Day combo tour is perfect for those who can’t decide whether they want to stay in Sydney or explore outside the city. You’ll start by getting picked up from your Sydney hotel, and be driven in an air-conditioned coach to all the big Sydney landmarks (Hyde Park, the Opera House, etc.). Then, hop on a boat for a lunchtime cruise around the harbor. After seeing the sights from the water, you’ll be returned to your hotel. On the second day of the tour, you’re picked up and taken to Blue Mountains National Park. Explore Scenic World in Katoomba and visit the rainforest. Have lunch at a restaurant that overlooks lots of important sights, like the Three Sisters monument. On the way home, you’ll stop in at Featherdale Wildlife Park and have the chance to feed kangaroos and take pictures with the koalas. All you entrance fees are included in this tour, as is your transport from place to place.

Inside the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage – A Wildlife Safari Overnight

In this tour, A Wildlife Safari, you’ll spend two days and one night being adventurous in the Australian outback. Start by getting picked up at your hotel and driven to Australia’s version of the Grand Canyon where you’ll witness wild animals deep in the bush. You’ll get to hike through Jameson Valley, and later Grose Valley, so make sure you’re wearing durable shoes! Explore the Jenolan Caves, and then spend the night at the Jenolan Caves House. On the second day, you’ll see even more of nature’s beauty in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park. Then, wander through the grassy meadows of Luther and Spring Creek. This tour offers so many perfect photo-ops, it would be a waste not to bring a camera. Enjoy your lunch in Hartley Village, before slowing beginning the road back to Sydney. Rest assured there will be many more stops along the way to watch wild wallabies graze or to take in the beauty of one of many waterfalls.

 

What are the best scenic drives near Sydney?

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 down 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.

If you drive south away from Sydney, you’ll find yourself on The Grand Pacific drive which is no second-runner up to the Legendary; and it’s shorter and easier to navigate. 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, check out the Kiama Blowhole and Minnamurra rainforest. The Grand Pacific drive offers lots of opportunities to be adventurous, while also showing you some of Australia’s most tranquil views.

What ever you do while you’re in Sydney, we hope you have a good day.

If you’ve had a rip snorter of a tour or have a fantastic photo of your time on your Sydney day trip, we want to hear about it, so post your photos and comments in the spaces below.

3 Comments

  1. Leanne Emily
    Leanne Emily
    United Kingdom 24 Comments
     -  04 Mar 2018

    Excellent

    One thing that should be on your list is a visit to Palm Beach NSW (the set for Home and Away!) We hired out a car for $40 and it took us just over an hour to drive there. (Once we had navigated our way out of Sydney, be warned the roads can be confusing if this is your first time).
    It is free to park and there are lots of fish and chip shops along the way!
    We went at the beginning of March and thought it would be really busy, but we were the only people there.
    Take a walk up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, but be careful it can get really hot at this time of year – take plenty of water!

    Keep an eye out for a rock that you can sit on that gives the illusion you are hanging into sea! (See picture!)

  2. alina
    alina
    Ukraine 25 Comments
     -  09 Dec 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    I thought I saw so many things in Australia, but how much remained unexplored! I definitely need to return to this country to visit all the places listed in this article! Thanks to the author for inspiring ideas!

  3. infinitesundays
    infinitesundays
    Philippines 25 Comments
     -  27 Nov 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    I was able to do the following day trips: Canberra and Blue Mountains. Also spent a lovely weekend in Port Stephens. Just goes to show how you will never ran out of things to do in Sydney. Sandboarding in Port Stephens is quite an experience, bring your sunglasses because getting sand in your eye is no fun. You can also ride the camels and admire the sand dunes.

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