5 great day trips from Sydney
Heading to Sydney on business? The Harbour City is a world-class destination for work and play thanks to its stunning scenery, premium restaurants and standout beaches.
It’s vibrant, buzzy and breezy, but business travelers might just crave a day away from the hustle of endless meetings.
Thankfully, there are many great escapes just a short trip from Australia’s largest city.
Back in the 1940s, a steamship company used the slogan “seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care…” to describe Manly, and it’s still accurate all these years later.
The beachside suburb is 17 or 30 minutes from Sydney’s central business district depending on which ferry you take from Circular Quay. The ride over feels like an adventure in itself.
The close-up views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the expanse of the harbor are sublime.
Once there, you’ll find a bustling wharf with many restaurants, including smokehouse and grill Papi Chulo and contemporary Italian eatery Hugos Manly.
Manly’s tree-lined promenade is renowned, but the beaches are its top draw. Manly Beach is 1.5 kilometers long and popular with surfers. If you’d prefer somewhere more secluded, nearby Shelly Beach is a good bet, according to local Kerstin Höfner, founder of mymanlyblog.com.
“The water here is shallow, so it’s perfect for beginners or if you haven’t snorkeled before,” explains Höfner. “It’s got easy beach access, shallow water and is sheltered.”
Palm Beach, 45 kilometers north of downtown Sydney, is best known for being the backdrop to long-running Australian soap opera “Home and Away,” which airs in 65 countries.
The suburb is of the richest areas around the city with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Elle Macpherson choosing it as a holiday destination.
The beach here is one of Sydney’s largest and is far less busy than Bondi Beach.
“The best part about Palm Beach is the sparkling beaches, hiking and watersport options as well as the effortless local lifestyle,” says Scott Ricketts, tour guide and founder of Your Sydney Guide. “It’s surrounded by water, with a great lunch option at waterfront restaurant Boathouse and a famous walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse.”
If you’d rather not drive the hour, the L90 bus will take you from Sydney CBD to Palm Beach but that route can take up to two hours.
Boathouse Palm Beach, Barrenjoey Boathouse, Palm Beach; +61 2 9974 5440
The world heritage region of the Blue Mountains is made up of one million hectares of rainforest, plunging canyons, rocky crags and heathland. It takes its name from the blue haze which blankets the mountains, a result of gum trees’ eucalyptus oil combined with dust and water vapor.
You can drive, take the train or opt for a guided tour from Sydney, 130 km away. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, head to the skies for Rosehill Heliport-based Sydney Helicopters‘ Blue Mountains pub tour, which touches down at various bars and country inns.
Sydney Helicopters, Heliport 25, Wentworth Street, Sydney +61 2 96374455
The Three Sisters, a trio of rock formations which overlook the cliffs of the Jamison Valley, is one of the most notable sights in the region. The Blue Mountains is also home to the world’s steepest funicular railway, Scenic Railway, which travels through a cliffside tunnel and showcases views of the rainforest as well as the Three Sisters.
Scenic World, Violet Street & Cliff Drive, Katoomba; +61 2 4780 0200
Australia’s oldest wine region is about a two-hour drive north of Sydney and boasts more than 150 wineries. While Hunter Valley is most known for its Sémillon, the region produces many other varieties such as Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tyrrell’s and McGuigan Wines host daily tours; visitors can book directly or just turn up for a tasting.
The historic Audrey Wilkinson vineyard, which has an onsite museum, holds a master class, a behind-the-scenes tour and premium tasting experiences with an in-house wine expert.
Audrey Wilkinson, 750 De Beyers Rd, Pokolbin; +61 2 4993 3600
Port Stephens is located in the North Coast region, and at 180 km away, it’s slightly further afield than other Sydney day-trip destinations. Still, tens of thousands of visitors make the journey here each year to enjoy the marine life of the bay, which is twice the size of Sydney Harbour.
More than 150 bottlenose dolphins inhabit the area and you can book a dolphin-watching cruise to see them up close. Dolphin Swim Australia, which is licensed by the Marine Park Authority, offers a four-hour Wild Dolphin Swim tour. All cruises depart from Nelson Bay and they tend to leave at about 6 a.m.
Dolphin Swim Australia, Nelson Bay, NSW; +1300 721 358
Whale watching is also a popular activity as humpbacks and southern right whales pass through the waters during the annual migration between May and November. They can be viewed from the headland in Tomaree National Park or through a whale-watching tour, such as Imagine Cruises’ Sail With the Whales cruise, available from May 28 to November 3.
There are 26 beaches in the Port Stephens region, the most noted being Stockton Beach, which runs 32 kilometers from Stockton to Anna Bay. The sand dunes of Stockton Beach featured in several scenes from the 1979 movie “Mad Max,” starring Mel Gibson.
Imagine Cruises Port Stephens, Anna Bay, NSW; +61 2 49 849 000
December 14, 2018
December 14, 2018
December 14, 2018