Whether you’re a meticulous planner or prefer spontaneity, day trips from Sydney are the perfect way to make the most of a day off. We share some of our favourite places to visit, and all within a comfortable driving distance from Sydney.
For classic drives from Sydney, our first thoughts might be the Blue Mountains or the Central Coast. Here we’ve focused on some of the wonderful places in between. From the apple country to the iconic Wedding Cake Rock, here are our picks for a memorable trip through greater Sydney.
Our first stop is apple country to try the delicious locally made ciders (including three non-alcoholic variations) at the Bilpin Cider Company. On weekends you can purchase a picnic hamper (and borrow a blanket) from their cellar door. Take a stroll through their stunning gardens and find a quiet spot to eat. Travelling with children? Their farm is home to friendly sheep and alpacas to keep the kids entertained.
Credit: Hillbilly Cider
Shane McLaughlin spent 20 years making cider in some of the world’s greatest cider regions (Normandy, Hereford and Somerset) before moving to Bilpin with his wife Tessa to start Hillbilly Cider. Hillbilly Cider uses both classic and heritage apples, but it’s the only cider in the world to use the Julie apple – the first new apple to be discovered in NSW since the Granny Smith over 100 years ago. Summer is the perfect time to visit the McLaughlin’s orchard. You can order a cider, beer or wine from the bar to enjoy with one of their woodfired pizzas. There’s plenty of room for the kids to run around and dogs are most welcome.
If you’re heading to Bilpin, why not stop by Kurrajong along the way? Between Bilpin and Kurrajong (on the Bells Line of Road) is the Pie in the Sky Roadhouse. The perfect spot to stock up on sweet or savoury pies – they’re baked fresh every two to three hours! Pie in the Sky are open six days (closed Tuesdays).
For lunch with a view, The Village Kitchen is the place to be. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, their menu appeals to all tastes. Café favourites such as the all-day breakfast, burgers, and fish and chips sit alongside a range of international dishes such as the house made gnocchi, twice cooked pork belly, or fish tacos.
Credit: The Village Kitchen
For an afternoon in the sunshine, why not head north to Berowra Waters? Pack a picnic or pick up something delicious from one of the fantastic local eateries. Local favourites include Wise Monkey Café or the Berowra Waters Fish Café. Find a quiet spot to eat and enjoy the calm water and stunning native bushland.
Looking for something more adventurous? The Berowra Waters Marina offer a range of boat hire options. No licence required and fuel is included. You can rent kayaks and ‘tinnies’ to larger BBQ boats from two hours to a full day.
There’s a lot to love about the Southern Highlands. From antiques to boutiques to cafés and nature walks. However, for the classic Southern Highlands experience, head straight to the Scottish Arms in Bowral. Great for families, order a Scottish beer and claim a spot in the literal Scotland Yard – their recently renovated beer garden.
Credit: Scottish Arms
The Southern Highlands are home to some fantastic local wineries such as local favourites Artemis and Tertini – included in Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine’s Best Cellar Doors every year since 2014. Beer lovers can take a tour of the Eden Brewery followed by a tasting paddle. Eden Brewery is open from Wednesday to Sunday.
Feel like exploring further afield? Take a detour through charming Robertson – the idyllic setting for the film Babe (1995). Pop into the famous Robertson Pie Shop, or the Cheese Factory. Don’t forget to take a snap with the Big Potato!
There’s a magic moment that occurs on the drive to Wollongong. As you start the winding descent down the M1, the trees fall away and suddenly you can see the entire coastline. The vibrant greens and blues are truly restorative and will make the city feel a million miles away.
Prefer a longer scenic drive? The Grand Pacific Drive starts just 45 minutes out of Sydney and travels through the Royal National Park and over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge. The Royal National Park is the second oldest national park in the world (after Yellowstone in the United States). If you feel up for a walk, why not check out the Wedding Cake Rock lookout on the famous Coastal track?
Credit: Grand Pacific Drive
Like the Southern Highlands, there is no shortage of things to do in the Illawarra. With fantastic beaches and great local food, a relaxing trip south is the perfect way to unwind for the day. Here are our top picks: for excellent beers, check out the Five Barrel Brewery or the one and only Illawarra Brewery. Prefer a cheeky cocktail? Wollongong’s premier cocktail bar Births & Deaths is the place for you. And if you happen to be in town on a Friday, drop by the South Coast Distillery to stock up on the best local beers, wines, and spirits.
Half an hour along the coastline from Wollongong is the beautiful seaside village of Kiama. The extra drive is worth it for the views of the beach that accompany the stunning food available at local restaurant Silica.
After inspiration for a longer trip? Our previous blog brings together some of our favourite road trips from across New South Wales!
We’d love to hear your favourite day trips from Sydney. Pop in and plan your next trip over a coffee at Canada Bay Club!