A bucket list item for a lot of travellers is travelling to Sydney. From the world-famous Opera House to bustling Bondi Beach, the city is a bucket list ‘top of the chart’ for a lot of travellers. The city itself is bloody amazing, but don’t forget to wander out when you are only here for a short amount of time. Because only a short hop from the city, you can see the raw beauty of the Blue Mountains, bask on the beach with the whitest sand in the world, or sandboard down the dunes of Port Stephens.
This is all possible within a weekend trip from the city.
So start planning your next adventure now with these best weekend trips ideas from Sydney.
Best weekend trips from Sydney
Underneath are just a couple of great options if you are looking for a weekend getaway in the Sydney vicinity. So I have not gone for destinations where you have to fly to, to make it a little more accessible.
1 | BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Let’s start with an obvious and a pretty well know day trip. The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. It is easily accessible by car or train (About 2 hours from Sydney CBD) Known for its sensational scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, and quaint villages.
The Blue Mountains are densely populated by oil bearing Eucalyptus trees. These give off a blue haze, making the mountains look blue.
It is the perfect place for a relaxing and quiet weekend getaway. There are many cute towns to check out, amazing bushwalks, incredible waterfalls, caves and lots of Australian wildlife.
How far | 79 Kilometers
Get there | By car, it’s about one hour away from Sydney CBD. Or catch the Blue Mountains line train from Central to Katoomba, It costs around $10.65 with an Opal Card.
Useful posts | If you are planning to hire a car and drive to the mountains, then check out my post on best places to visit, I will show you all the cool spots. If you are an overseas tourist and you will like to see some wild kangaroos whilst you are in the mountains, then click here to see the best spot to see them.
2 | JERVIS BAY NATIONAL PARK
It’s hard to resist the powder-fine sand and clear turquoise waters of Jervis Bay. The beaches are amongst the most beautiful in the country. Take Hyams beach, which is home to on some of the whitest sands in the world. It also has pristine blue water, which is perfect for swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Jervis Bay is also home to lots of native Australian wildlife. See kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, wombats and many rare bird and animal species in the wild. The perfect places for a beach getaway. In Summer it does get pretty busy here, so book in advance.
How far | 200 Kilometers
Get there | Unfortunately, it is not possible to travel to Jervis Bay by public transport. So the only option is to hire a car. This will take you about 3 hours. A door to door shuttle service is available between Sydney Airport and the South Coast seven days a week.
3 | PORT STEPHENS
Now doesn’t that bloke look like he’s having a good time! Port Stevens is home to beautiful beaches, fantastic sand dunes, beautiful coastal walks, and splendid national parks. It is a perfect place to enjoy a day trip or even a quick weekend break away.
One of the coolest things to do is to go to the sand dunes, especially the Stockton Sand Dunes. Driving along the beach, with the ocean view for miles. stopping along the way for lunch and a shallow swim, as this beach is NOT patrolled by lifesavers. Excellent spot for fishes and flying kites. Besides that, sandboarding some of the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere is kind of a must.
How far | 207 Kilometers
Get there | Port Stephens is a 2½ hour drive north of Sydney along the M1 Motorway. Additionally, you can hop on a direct bus. Port Stephens Coaches depart daily from Sydney via Chatswood, Pymble, Hornsby and Raymond Terrace to Port Stephens.
4 | WOLLONGONG
Wollongong informally referred to as “The Gong”, is NSW’s third-largest city. The scenic train trip from Sydney to Wollongong is only 90 minutes. From the train station, you can walk to many of the cities main attractions, including Wollongong City Beach, Wollongong Art Gallery and the Botanic gardens.
Don’t forget to wander over to Head Lighthouse. This is a major historic site in Wollongong which offers great views over Belmore Basin and City Beach, with lots of informative historical information on plaques.
A short drive south is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Nan Tien Temple. You can explore the tranquil gardens and tour the temple.
How far | 91 Kilometers
Get there | Take the Grand Pacific Drive and experience coastal rainforests, quaint seaside villages and the 665 meters Sea Cliff Bridge all on your way into Wollongong. Alternatively, you can jump on the M1 Motorway from Sydney and be here in 80 minutes. Additionally, you can reach Wollongong by train, just take the South Coast Line from central station. It will take you 1 hour and 28 minutes and will cost you $6.08 each way.
5 | CANBERRA
Australia’s main capital Canberra is not as famous or touristy as Sydney and Melbourne (or quite a lot of other places in the country) It, however, has a lot to offer and should not be missed during a trip to Australia. From the parliament building to the Australian War Memorial, Canberra has a lot of important sights to see. So as the famous saying goes – do yourself a favour and visit Canberra.
FUN FACT! Canberra is Australia’s capital city because Sydney and Melbourne kept fighting over who was to be the capital of the country and well Canberra is smack bam in the middle of the two so hence they chose Canberra – Makes sense! haha
How far | 624 Kilometers
Get there | You have 2 options of getting to Canberra. The first one is to drive yourself, which will take you about 3 hours. There is also a Greyhound service from Sydney CBD to Canberra. They depart several times a day and are available from $39,- each way. You can also hop on a train at Sydney central. This will cost you (From) $28.25 and takes 4 hours. You must pre-book a ticket on this train.
6 | BYRON BAY
Byron Bay must be New South Wales’s most popular weekend destination. From a relaxing atmosphere to stunning beaches and amazing food, this little heaven has everything you need to escape the hustle and bustle from everyday life.
The town is a popular holiday destination for Sydneysiders at well as Brisbanites, making it Australia’s most popular beach town. It is known for its beautiful beaches and incredible surfing and scuba diving sites. Cape Byron State Conservation Park is on a headland and is home to a lighthouse. Between June and November, humpback whales can be spotted from headland viewpoints such as the Captain Cook Lookout.
How far | 286 Kilometers
Get there | Driving from Sydney to Byron Bay is one of the most iconic drives in Australia. The drive is a 766-kilometre road trip flanked by incredible towns and stunning landscapes. From Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to the central coats and Port Macquarie, there are plenty of amazing stops to check out during the drive.
You can either do it in either one day or two, depending on how much time you have. Along the way make sure to check out a ‘Big Banana’ which is what it sounds, a MASSIVE banana. Also, Russell Crowe has a Museum Of Interesting Things in Coffs Harbour.
Useful posts | How to spend the perfect weekend in Byron Bay
7 | PALM BEACH
Even though Palm Beach is technically still Sydney, it is such a drive and different vibe that I decided to add it.
Palm Beach is the place where some of Sydney’s wealthiest and most famous people escape on their holidays. It’s isolated, tranquil, charming and absolutely beautiful. In Palmy you could walk right by someone like Mick Jagger and not even know it. Celebrities such as Kelly Slater, Guy Sebastian, and Nicole Kidman and hubby Keith Urban also regularly visit Palm Beach during summer.
Palm Beach is located 41 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD and is home to one of Australia’s most famous tv shows, Home and Away. The golden sands of Palm Beach curve 2.3km, from Little Head to Barrenjoey Point and is an excellent place to surf. You can also follow a trail to heritage-listed Barrenjoey Lighthouse which also offers splendid views of the coast, Pittwater and Kur-ring-gai Chase National Park.
Palm Beach is the furthest point north of Sydney.
How far | 31 Kilometers
Getting there | To get there from the city, you will have to drive or catch L90 bus from Wynyard Station. It is a 1 hour and 45-minute bus drive to bring some music or a podcast with you. Also for people who get motion sick, towards the end, the route gets pretty narrow and windy so I got a bit queasy. Maybe pop a pill if you get motion sick quickly. You don’t want your day ruined.
Thank you for reading my post on the best weekend trips from Sydney. Have you done any of these weekend getaways? Let me know in the comments below.
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