8 fantastic day trips from Sydney you can take using public transport

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Nothing beats a good day trip and if you're based in Sydney, you'll find yourself spoiled for choice! Within a couple of hours you can be in the mountains, laying on a beach, watching pelicans or hiking through a national park. What's even better is you don't need a car to get to them! Here are 8 of the best day trips from Sydney that you can take using public transport. #sydney #sydneydaytrip #australia #nsw #newsouthwales #thingstodoinsydney #topthingstodoinsydney #bestplacesnearsydney

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Whether it be a weekend or one of the many public holidays Australia has, nothing beats getting out and about for the day. Sydney itself has so much to offer, from the sights of the Opera House, the history and epic rooftop bars at The Rocks and the quirky neighbourhoods nestled in its inner west.

But what about when you want a change of scenery? Sydney is actually a great gateway to so many nearby gems. Within an hour or 2, you can be in the mountains or watching pelicans feed. What’s even better is that you don’t need a car to get to these places. Sydney’s excellent transport network means you can get a lot further than you think without needing your own wheels.

So all you’ll need for your epic day out is your Opal Card (this will get you on all of Sydney’s public transport), your swimmers or your walking boots. Along with the usual sunscreen and sun hat, because sun safety first you guys… this is Australia after all. So here are some of the best day trips from Sydney you can take using the awesome public transport.

But first, take a look at these for some more inspiration:

1. The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are one of the top places to visit whilst in Sydney and they are super easy to explore via public transport as well. The views are incredible and it’s the place to go to get a real breath of fresh air. This National Park stretches for over 2.5 thousand square miles so you’re not going to be short on things to do.

Just a short drive from Sydney you'll find the stunning Blue Mountains National Park. Want to know how to have the best couple of days here? Find out here!

Where is it?

The Blue Mountains are just over 100km west of Sydney and a 2 hour train ride from the city to the beautiful village of Katoomba.

How to get there

What’s super easy about this day trip is that you just need to catch one single train from Central Station to Katoomba and you’ll be in the heart of the Blue Mountains. Trains leave Central station every hour if not more and some are slightly more direct than others. Be sure to check the timetable and plan your journey here.

When you reach the Blue Mountains, there are 2 main ways to get around. There are public buses that run from Katoomba and Echo Point where the famous 3 Sisters are, but to get around easily, I recommend the Explorer hop-on-hop-off bus. It’s super easy to use and gives you the flexibility to visit the top sites. It has 29 stops around Katoomba and Leura and you’ll be able to see heaps in a day. The bus runs between 9.30am-4.15pm so be sure to plan your day around this.

Click here to get your hop-on-hop-off bus tickets!

Top things to do at the Blue Mountains

Despite its size, it’s easy to pack a lot into just one day. As you’re starting at Katoomba, walk down to the famous Three Sisters lookout. Here you can learn about the Aboriginal legend that gives the location its name before climbing down the Giants Stairs to the breathtaking Honeymoon Lookout. Before leaving Katoomba, be sure to drop into the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company for a local, handmade sweet treat. The next village along is Leura where you’ll find the pretty Leura Cascades in the forest and you can even walk along to reach the more striking Gordon Falls lookout further on.

For the incredible views, visit Wentworth Falls from the Princes Rock lookout and Jamison Lookout where you’ll not only see the waterfall but miles across the national park. If you want to experience the forest more, you’ll love Scenic World boasting the steepest railway in the world, easy boardwalks through the forest and cable cars to take you along the treetops and through the mountains. A unique way to spend part of your day.

Click here to get an all in one Explorer Bus and Scenic World ticket!

2. Palm Beach

Whether you’re a Home & Away fan or not, this beautiful spot in Sydney’s Northern beaches is well worth a day trip to. Unlike Bondi which is all about the surf, here it’s all about relaxing.

Nothing beats a good day trip and if you're based in Sydney, you'll find yourself spoiled for choice! Within a couple of hours you can be in the mountains, laying on a beach, watching pelicans or hiking through a national park. What's even better is you don't need a car to get to them! Here are 8 of the best day trips from Sydney that you can take using public transport. #sydney #sydneydaytrip #australia #nsw #newsouthwales #thingstodoinsydney #topthingstodoinsydney #bestplacesnearsydney

Where is it?

Palm Beach is one of the Northern beaches and sits right on the tip of a peninsula. It’s about 40 km north of the city but you’ll feel a world away from it all.

How to get there

From Wynyard Station, you can catch the L90 bus straight to Florida Road which puts you right next to Palm Beach. The bus ride takes a little under 2 hours and you’ll follow the coastline, providing you with beautiful views. You’ll also go through Mona Vale which is another fantastic beach in Sydney’s north.

Top things to do at Palm Beach

The top thing to do at Palm Beach is taking the walk up the Barrenjoey Lighthouse. This sandstone lighthouse has been guarding the rugged coastline for well over 100 years and sits 91 meters above sea level. With its high location comes some stunning views over Palm Beach and along with a big chunk of the coastline. The walk to the top is a little on the steep side but it’s well worth it!

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If you are a fan of Home & Away then this is your chance to do some site seeing of the filming locations as well. You can even book onto a Home & Away tour to see the filming spots here. If relaxing is more you’re thing, then you might like to take a swim at the south end of the beach where the water is shallow and super calm.

3. Watsons Bay

This area of Sydney is perfect if you don’t want to travel too far but still want a good breath of fresh sea air. It has the ultimate mix of food, walks, beaches and skylines.

Nothing beats a good day trip and if you're based in Sydney, you'll find yourself spoiled for choice! Within a couple of hours you can be in the mountains, laying on a beach, watching pelicans or hiking through a national park. What's even better is you don't need a car to get to them! Here are 8 of the best day trips from Sydney that you can take using public transport. #sydney #sydneydaytrip #australia #nsw #newsouthwales #thingstodoinsydney #topthingstodoinsydney #bestplacesnearsydney

Where is it?

Located just 12km east from the city, Watsons Bay is a great spot to visit if you don’t want to travel too far. It covers the area at the top of South Head peninsular, just north of Parsley Bay Reserve.

How to get there

You can either reach Watsons Bay by ferry or by a train/bus combination. For a more scenic route, hop on the ferry from Circular Quay and sail along for 40 minutes, or you can take a train to Edgecliff Station and then catch the bus up to Watsons Bay, also giving you some great views over the water.

Top things to do at Watsons Bay

If you’re a huge foodie then lunch at Doyles is a must. Doyles has become a Sydney institution and serves up incredible seafood dishes, from fine dining to fish &chips at their cafe in Robertson Park. Watsons Bay has a lovely scenic walk around South Head on an easy walking track, about 5km long. As you go along you’ll be treated to views of the city skyline, parkland and the striking red and white stripped Hornby Lighthouse. Also, if you’ve ever fancied a skinny dip, nudity is permitted at Lady Bay Beach!

4. Newcastle

Nearby Newcastle is one of my favourite spots along the coast and it’s well worth spending a day there. It’s steeped in history, has a great up and coming food scene and plenty of opportunities to get outdoors.

Thinking of visiting Newcastle? Just a couple of hours from Sydney and a hotspot for beaches and food, a visit to Newcastle is a must. Here are my top places to visit in Newcastle to help with your planning!

Where is it?

For this day out you’ll want to set off a little early to make the journey. The route is about 160km north of Sydney, 2.5 hours up the coast.

How to get there

Despite the fair distance, Sydney’s transport system makes it super easy to reach Newcastle. You can just jump on the train at Central Station and it will take you straight to Broadmeadow Station. From here it’s just a short few minutes walk to the heart of Newcastle

Top things to do in Newcastle

Newcastle is a spot full of maritime history so a visit to Fort Scratchley and the Anzac walks are a must. They also lead the way to some great views too. Back on ground level, Bar Beach is a great location for surfing or taking a walk, along with Nobby’s Beach Reserve and Lighthouse. If you want to take a swim out of the harsh waves, you’ll love the Newcastle and Merewether Baths, and for a fantastic selection of food, check out The Junction and Darby Street. For a full list of my favourite things to do in and around Newcastle, take a look at my guide here.

5. Central Coast

For me, this is one of the most underrated spots on the East Coast – a true hidden gem which is definitely overlooked by travellers. So if you want to spend a day away from the city crowds surrounded by wildlife and nature, I cannot recommend the Central Coast enough.

Going on an epic Australian East Coast roadtrip? Make sure you don't miss out on a trip to the Central Coast.

Where is it?

The Central Coast is halfway between Sydney and Newcastle making it less of a distance for a day trip, but still a great change of pace. It’s just over 100km north of Sydney, less than 2 hours away.

How to get there

As with Newcastle, you simply jump on the train going towards Newcastle from Central Station. There are a number of train stops along the central coast but I recommend hopping off at Tuggerah Station and then catching a bus to The Entrance as this is a great area to explore.

Top things to do on the Central Coast

The Entrance is a great place to start your day on the Central Coast. From here you can take a stroll along the coast to lake scenic walk by simply following the signs, and explore both the coast and the lake. The route is divided into sections so you have the options to do the full circuit or a enjoy a part of it. For a great walk along the beach, walk down to Toowoon Bay or a little further to Shelly Beach or take a dip at the ocean baths at The Entrance.

One thing that you can’t miss here is the pelican feeding that takes place at 3.30pm every day. The feed has a focus on conservation and is a way of monitoring these magnificent birds. For a delicious bite to eat after a lot of walking, head over to Big Tuna Fish Co. where you can pick your fish, watch it get cooked and tuck in overlooking the sea. To find out some more about the Central Coast, take a look at my guide here.

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6. The Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk

This 10km walk is one of the best ways to escape the busy city. Along the way, you’ll pass breathtaking beaches, walk through a stunning park, visit lighthouses and view Aboriginal artwork. This Spit Bridge to Manly walk is considered a moderate trail with some steep steps and walks across sand but it’s well worth the extra effort!

If you're looking for an escape from the city during your visit to Sydney then the Spit to Manly walk is a must. Check out these dreamy snapshots to get you inspired!

Where is it?

The Spit Bridge connects up Sydney with the Northern Suburbs. It’s just shy of 10km from the city and the bridge on the north side is where the walk starts.

How to get there

From Wynward, catch a bus for the short 25 minute journey to Spit west Reserve and then walk 500 meters to the Bridge. From the bridge, simply follow the signs for the ‘Manly Scenic Walkway’ where the walk starts at Ellery’s Punt Reserve. For more details, take a look at a complete route breakdown here.

Top things to do on the Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walk

The whole of this walk is a real feast for the eyes. Right at the start you’ll see some incredible boats anchored up in the bay and if you’re lucky, you might get to see the bridge open up to let a boat pass through. Throughout the whole walk you’ll see incredible beaches such as Fisher Bay, Castle Rock Beach and North Harbour Reserve. You can easily access a lot of these beaches don’t go without your swimmers!

One section of this walk takes you through Sydney Harbour National Park where you will be surrounded by trees and follow a track up, over and through to some of the best viewpoints of the coastline and the city skyline. Be sure to visit Grotto Point to visit some Aboriginal engravings and learn more about their meanings. If you want some more inspiration to go on this walk, head over to my post here!

7. Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

This is definitely one of the top things to do in Sydney and it’s so incredibly accessible from the city. This coastal route allows you to take in some of Australia’s incredible turquoise waters, amazing beaches and unbeatable swim spots. And of course, Bondi is arguably the most famous beach in Australia!

Where is it?

A teeny tiny 7 km east of the city drops you right at Bondi beach. From here, Coogee is just a 5 km walk south from Bondi, along a beautiful coastal stretch. Of course, this route can be done in reverse too!

How to get there

You will first need to take a train from Central Station to Bondi Junction. Bondi Junction train station also has the bus station located there so all you need to do is follow the signs and find the stand for bus 333 or 380. After a short bus ride you’ll find yourself right at the spectacular Bondi Beach. To start the walk to Coogee, follow the road past the Icebergs Club and just keep going!

Top things to do on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

As you would expect, this walk is about the views and the water. Be sure to take your swimmers to enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean pools at Bronte and Coogee, or go snorkelling at my favourite spot at Gordons Bay. Along the way you will cross over incredible rock formations and be able to see for miles along the coast, making it a photographers dream! The walk takes a couple of hours but it’s the perfect spot to take it easy and soak it all in. If you’re there over Saturday and Sunday, be sure to check out the Bondi Market too.

8. Manly

Manly is one of my all-time favourite day trips from the city. It’s so easy to get to and has a wonderful seaside feel to it. It’s a place to relax but still with heaps of things going on.

If you're looking for an escape from the city during your visit to Sydney then the Spit to Manly walk is a must. Check out these dreamy snapshots to get you inspired!

Where is it?

Manly is a suburb of Northern Sydney and is just a hop across the bay. One side of it is pretty sheltered whilst the main beach is great for surfing.

How to get there

If you’re based in the North side of Sydney then you can easily catch buses to Manly, but if not, the best option is by ferry. Ferries run roughly every 20-30 minutes from Wharf 3 at Circular Quay and you get to enjoy the ride over past the Opera House and along the coastline.

Top things to do in Manly

Manly is full of things to do right from the moment you arrive at the Wharf. If you fancy a drink with a sea view then check out the Bavarian and make the most of their happy hour in the evenings. Either side of the wharf is Cabbage Tree Bay and Manly cove, of which both are great for swimming in calm waters. Cross over the road from the wharf and you’ll be walking along Manly Corso where you’ll find shops, restaurants and some great bars with rooftops. Manly Beach is great for relaxing and is also a popular surf spot, whilst Shelly Beach (the next beach along) is perfect for snorkelling and stand up paddleboarding. Up here you can also take a walk around North Head to get incredible views of the coastline.

Nothing beats a good day trip and if you're based in Sydney, you'll find yourself spoiled for choice! Within a couple of hours you can be in the mountains, laying on a beach, watching pelicans or hiking through a national park. What's even better is you don't need a car to get to them! Here are 8 of the best day trips from Sydney that you can take using public transport. #sydney #sydneydaytrip #australia #nsw #newsouthwales #thingstodoinsydney #topthingstodoinsydney #bestplacesnearsydney

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2 Comments

  1. Suzy a great list of suggestions. We fly through Sydney on the way to Port Macquarle a few times a year but don’t stay in town very long. Next time we’re planning to hang around and explore more and I’m going to try a few of these, especially the Blue Mountains.

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