Sydney is one of, if not the, most popular tourist destination in all of Australia. While the country is massive and offers plenty, from scenic vistas to sparkling clean city life, some of the best, lesser-known spots are not too far from this country's most well-known city. A day trip can easily be taken from Sydney and to explore these sites, the few hours of driving are totally worth it.
It's incredible that landscapes this breathtaking are only a couple hours from the coast and to see them, all you need is a car ride, some snacks, and a good playlist.
Royal National Park
It's always good to get away from the city for a while, even one as low-key as Sydney. The perfect cure for a nature craving is undoubtedly Royal National Park. The second-oldest park in the world, visitors are free to explore at their own leisure, experiencing Australia's gorgeous ecosystem first hand.
There's plenty to explore on land as you traverse each trail, through wooded valleys and coastal paths, but more awaits at the shoreline. Snorkeling, fishing, surfing, and even whale watching are all activities that can be done in a day at this vibrant park.
Hunter Valley is a perfect day hike with a few tasty surprises. Not only are the trails stunning, such as those listed on the World Heritage List, but it's also a great destination for food-lovers.
The valley itself produces some of the most well-known products in the region, such as oils and cheeses, but tastings are also available for those interested. After hiking its lush eucalyptus fields, visitors can head back to the center of Hunter Valley to explore all the restaurant options this foodie dream has to offer.
It wouldn't be a day trip itinerary from Sydney without adding at least one beach to the list, and Manly Beach is definitely one worth seeing. Australia is home to some of the world's most gorgeous (not to mention intense) ocean beaches, and Manly certainly holds its own.
It's accessible via a 30-minute ferry ride and known for its fish 'n chips, but it's also a quintessential beach town. With so many seaside shops and waterfront dining options, it'll be tough to only spend one day here. The good news? It's close enough to Sydney to become a frequent destination for city locals.
The Southern Highlands
The Southern Highlands are absolutely breathtaking. The land itself is untouched by human activity and the best vantage point is from Morton National Park, which provides views of the lower waterfalls and dense valleys.
The land's lush greenery is home to any number of Australian wildlife, including wombats and even kangaroos. There's no telling what hikers will see when trekking through this area's many trails but you can be sure that you'll see something. A true nature-lover's destination, the Southern Highlands is also home to gorges that make the landscape by their deep and intricate crevices.
This is a rainforest ecosystem, so proper care should be taken to not disturb the natural plant or wildlife that call it home. It's best to get to this park early in order to make a full day of it, lest visitors miss all the beauty these Highlands have to offer.