So you’ve explored a bit of the CBD and now you’re wondering what else is around – great to know you’re making the most of your Australian experience! The area around Sydney is spectacular and there are so many sights to explore. If you’ve got yourself an Opal Card, Sydney is your oyster. Here are the 10 top day trips to do from Sydney this summer.
1. The Basin
One of Sydney’s best kept secrets, The Basin is just a ferry ride away from the city’s northern beaches. Catch a bus to Palm Beach, jump on the ferry, and 20-minutes later you’re in your own piece of paradise. The Basin is natural beauty at its best, a pristine beachfront and quiet lagoon. Surprisingly, bold rock wallabies bound around the area, and goannas prowl in the hope of a leftover piece of sausage sandwich. Pack a picnic and your swimmers and you’ve got the perfect day out.
While technically a suburb of Sydney, Cabramatta is like taking a day trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. A 40 minute train ride from Central, Cabramatta is an exotic mix of fresh fish, strange fruits and vegetables, and cheap-as-you-like merchandise. The first thing you should do is grab a Vietnamese iced coffee from one of the many bakeries and fuel yourself for some exploring with intensely strong coffee and sweet condensed milk. Next browse ceramics, spices and fabrics and then finish with some pho and crispy pork and prawn pancakes.
Take a train 1.5 hours south out of the city and enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches and surf of Sydney’s South Coast. Wollongong is adjacent to the dramatic and spectacular Illawarra escarpment and national parks, ideal for bushwalking and hiking. Visit the Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere or get your heart racing by going paragliding, hang gliding or skydiving. As NSW’s third largest city, there’s plenty to do in Wollongong.
Lighthouse at Wollongong Beach
4. Berowra Waters
The magical hamlet of Berowra is encircled by natural beauty. Just an hour by train, you can wander through the village before taking a bus into Ku-ring-gai National Park and Berowra Waters for cheap and cheerful fish and chips, kayaking, nature walks, fishing and ferry rides.
Deewhy is in the heart of the Northern Beaches and is a 50 minute bus ride from Sydney. It’s home to stylish beach cafes, a 50 metre saltwater pool, tons of picnic tables, and over 200 specialty shops. It’s super-relaxed feel leaves you feeling a million miles away from the busy city and unlike popular Bondi and Manly, there’s plenty of beach to move around on.
6. Newport Beach
Newport faces due east so is open to swell coming from any direction. This attracts a highly skilled local surfing tribe and surfing spectators. For those who prefer calmer waters, the full-size saltwater lap pool atop a broad flat rock platform is one of Sydney’s most iconic. It’s a favourite subject of many Sydney-based photographers and a definite Instagram-worthy spot to hang out. The Newport Arms Hotel has been recently renovated and nestled amongst idyllic gardens, it’s one of Sydney’s best pubs.
7. Wiseman’s Ferry
Wiseman’s Ferry is a cable ferry across the Hawkesbury River, a crossing that’s been in action since 1829. If you ever wondered what Sydney was like 220 years ago, here’s the place to go. Head north out of the city on the M1 to Peats Ridge before joining the Wiseman’s Ferry Road at Central Mangrove. The road meanders through orchards and farms, so pick up some fruit and fresh eggs as you go through. The ferry is free and runs all day.
8. Royal National Park
Whether you’re strolling, hiking, swimming, cycling, surfing, rowing, whale watching, picnicking or marvelling at Aboriginal art, the Royal National Park makes for a spectacular day trip. Main entry points are dotted along the Princes Highway and parking is available in several spots. The National Park covers a wide range of landscapes, from open grassland to ocean-fronting clifftops and the majestic Garie Beach.
Wattamolla Beach in the Royal National Park
9. Palm Beach
If you’re a Home & Away fan, you’ll know this beach well. Palm Beach is used for filming the fictional town of Summer Bay and whether you explore the area on your own or you take a Home & Away tour, you’re bound to recognise many of the sites. Even if you’re not into soaps, Palm Beach offers a fantastic escape from the city and you’ll love ogling the mega mansions of the rich and famous.
10. Mermaid Pools, Tahmoor
If you’re not afraid of heights, take a leap at Mermaid Pools, a 1.5 hour drive from Sydney. The pools are a decent walk from the main road, but the effort is well worth it. Go on a bit further and explore Tahmoor Gorge while you’re there.
There’s so much to Sydney that you’ll never run out of things to do. However you like to spend your spare time, Sydney accommodates it, so start doing some research. Remember too that on weekends you can get $2.50 journeys within NSW using your Opal Card, and that includes trains out to the Blue Mountains and the ferries to Cockatoo Island. Sydney is a fabulous city with so much on offer, so make the most of it and start exploring!