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10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit near Sydney by Car

Places to Visit near Sydney by Car

Surrounded by sparkling waterways and World Heritage-listed wilderness areas, there are many fascinating places to visit near Sydney by car. Just a short drive from the city, you can see the unspoiled beauty of the Blue Mountains, cruise along the lush Hawkesbury River or soak up the sun on Sydney’s golden sands.

Places to visit near Sydney by car cover all interests, from sandboarding and fishing in Port Stephens to whale watching along the coast and wildlife viewing in pristine national parks. A scenic road trip will take you to other great places to visit around Sydney – on a day trip from Wollongong, you can cruise along the ocean-hugging cliffs on Grand Pacific Drive.

Cultural experiences are equally appealing. Spend the day exploring the galleries, museums and monuments of the nation’s capital, Canberra. Wander the Aboriginal heritage trails in beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, or experience something else entirely by watching Australian shepherds harvest sheep and taste traditional bush snacks at a classic country farm.

Gourmets will also be happy. Fresh farm produce and gourmet restaurants await in some quaint towns in the Southern Highlands and Hunter Valley. Plan your adventure with our list of the best day trips from Sydney.

Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit near Sydney by car and make your trip enjoyable.

10 Best Places to Visit near Sydney by car

Here are the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit near Sydney by car:

1. Blue Mountains National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage site with breathtaking views, the Blue Mountains are one of Sydney’s most popular day trips. The oil in eucalyptus leaves scents the air and creates a blue mist over the park, inspiring the park’s evocative name. When it comes to the natural beauty around Sydney, the Blue Mountains are hard to beat.

Tourists and locals alike come here to immerse themselves in the 664,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Dense eucalyptus forests, rugged canyons, waterfalls, Aboriginal petroglyphs and more than 140 kilometers of hiking trails await you to explore.

One of the highlights of the Blue Mountains is the massive rock formation known as the Three Sisters, a photographer’s favorite. An eerie journey through the Jamison Valley on the Bridal Veil Falls and Katoomba Scenic Railroad. There are heart-wrenching lookouts throughout the park Popular activities here include mountain climbing, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking.

You can reach the Blue Mountains from the city via the M4 motorway. It’s also one of Sydney’s most popular day trips by train – you can travel from Sydney Central Station to Blackheath or Katoomba.

Better yet, let someone else drive and join the Blue Mountains nature and wildlife day trip from Sydney. On this full-day tour, you can visit the quaint mountain town of Leura, see kangaroos and koalas at Sydney Zoo, and enjoy stunning views of the park. Your guide will also share the Aboriginal legends behind some of the park’s most important landmarks. For a different perspective on the park, optional upgrades include a ride on Scenic World’s rail or funicular.

2. Hunter Valley

About 250km from Sydney, Hunter Valley is a popular urban vacation spot and dining destination. This beautiful and fertile valley is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture regions and is also known for its fresh produce and artisanal dishes such as cheese, chutneys, chocolate, aromatic oils, olives and sweet golden honey. The best restaurants in the region highlight the richness of this cuisine with their mouth-watering tasting menus.

After tasting all the delicious food, you can burn calories outdoors. Popular activities in Hunter Valley include hiking World Heritage-listed Barrington Peak and nature trails in Wollemie National Park and exploring the area’s elegant architecture on heritage trails. You can also float above the idyllic landscape in a hot air balloon.

In the 19th century, Hunter Valley was a thriving coal-mining center, and many of the area’s former mansions reflect this wealth. Stop by the District Museum to learn about the region’s rich history and save time for exhibits at the Maitland District Art Gallery and Newcastle Art Gallery.

Another popular attraction is the Hunter Valley Gardens, with more than 60 acres of garden treasures and themed gardens. For time-strapped travelers, a hot air balloon or helicopter ride is a great way to enjoy the scenery.

3. Manly Beach

Fish and chips on the beach are Australia’s favorite dining experience, and Manly is the best place to indulge. When it comes to the idea of ​​a day trip to Sydney, it is easy to organize and the journey can be just as rewarding as the destination. From Circular Quay, this famous seaside suburb is a scenic 30-minute ferry ride that offers plenty of photo opportunities.

Once here, you can immerse yourself in classic Australian beach culture. Sunbathe on the golden sand, dive into the sea, surf for great breaks, or head to Corso, a sunny pedestrian street filled with shops, restaurants and cafes.

At Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, you can spot turtles, tropical fish and sharks and even dive with these sharp-edged predators.

Yes, there are lots of fish and chip shops in Manly. So, board the ferry and bring your camera and enjoy some great photos of the Sydney Opera House along the way.

4. Hawkesbury River Cruise

An hour’s drive northwest of Sydney, Hawkesbury is one of Australia’s most beautiful rivers. It played an important role in the early days of colonial New South Wales. The first settlers arrived in the area in 1794 and set up farms to help feed the colony. Today, farms are still scattered throughout the surrounding area, and there are several pristine bushes on both sides of the river.

The larger towns of Windsor and Richmond, along with the smaller villages in the area, offer tourist attractions such as historic buildings, galleries, gardens, museums and markets.

Water sports abound on this river, especially downstream between Brooklyn and Pittwater. Water skiing, water skiing, tubing and fishing are all popular activities.

The best way to explore these beautiful waterways is by boat. Brooklyn, Bobbin Head, Berowra Waters, and Wisemans Ferry all offer boat rentals, and you can take a guided cruise or board a Riverboat Postman that delivers mail along the river to water-only settlements.

Four national parks surround the Hawkesbury River. It forms the boundary of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the north of Sydney and the southern boundary of Brisbane Aquatic National Park. To the northwest are Darrug National Park, famous for its Aboriginal rock paintings, and Buddy National Park to the north of Broken Bay. All of these offer great hiking opportunities and a piece of nature not far from the city.

5. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, West Head and North Beaches

About 45 minutes drive north of Sydney’s CBD, you can escape nature at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Australia’s second-oldest national park. Named after the Gulingai Aboriginal people who originally lived in the area, the park has beautiful scenery: tranquil bays, bush creeks, rainforest, eucalyptus forests, and sparkling views along the coast from West Head. From here you can watch the turquoise waters of Pittwater, as well as Brocken Bay, Barrenjoy Headland, Lion Island Nature Reserve, and the Central Coast.

You’ll find plenty to do in Ku-ring-gai National Park. Bonus activities include hiking on the many nature trails, Aboriginal heritage walks, wildlife watching, bird watching, and boating on beautiful bush-lined waterways. You can rent a boat from Akuna Bay and enjoy a snack or refreshing drink at a cozy cafe or restaurant on the beach.
Farther north from here, Palm Beach is a great place to sunbathe on the golden sand, swim, surf, picnic, or dine at a beachside cafe.

The small-group Sydney Northern Beaches and Ku-ring-gai National Park bus tour covers all the major attractions and activities in the area. Admire Aboriginal petroglyphs in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, take in views of The Spit, Narrabeen and the North Head, and glide by ferry across Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House on the return journey.

Official website:

6. Royal National Park

With 21 kilometers of surf beaches and cliffside shores, Royal National Park is a paradise for nature and beach lovers. Established in 1879, it is the second oldest national park in the world and is about an hour’s drive south of Sydney’s CBD, near Cronulla.

The park sits on a sandstone plateau with deep valleys and a wasteland. The Hajin River flows for almost its entire length, creating excellent opportunities for fishing and boating. Up the river, patches of forest provide the best hiking and picnic spots. Swimming, snorkeling, surfing, fishing and whale watching along the beach are popular activities.

Other attractions in the park include Aboriginal rock art and a wide variety of wildlife, including over 241 bird species.

You can drive or take the ferry from Cronulla to enter the park, and there are some hiking trails from the train station nearby. The Audley Visitor Center offers seating, informative exhibits and a cafe.

If you want to immerse yourself in this magnificent wilderness, the Cronulla and Royal National Park Day Trip will take you through some of the hardest-to-reach parts of the park with expert guidance. From visiting the beautiful Gary Beach and Dharawal Aboriginal carvings to diving into rock pools, you can customize your itinerary according to your interests on this 8-hour private tour.

Official website:

7. Port Stephens

Sparkling Port Stephens is a watersports paradise thanks to the Great Lakes Marine Park. About 200km from Sydney’s CBD, this long, beautiful, busy stretch of coastline is more than twice the size of Sydney Harbor and offers plenty of room to go out to sea.

Your biggest dilemma is deciding what to do first. Take your pick: swim, snorkel and dive at Fly Point, surf, sail, canoe or go on a boat tour at one of more than 20 pristine beaches. Port Stephens is also one of Australia’s most popular fishing destinations.

Walk to Gan Gan Lookout for breathtaking views of the area, or hike to the top of Tomaree Headland Lookout for beautiful views of the bay and islands.
Marine life is also prominent here. You can swim with wild dolphins, go on a dolphin-watching cruise or look for humpback whales that migrate from November to May.

Another fun adventure in the area is sandboarding along the Stockton Bay Dunes, Australia’s largest dune system. Some are as high as 30 meters. You can also explore them by horse or camel, or go out by 4WD.

A Port Stephens Private Bus Tour from Sydney is a great option to experience all the highlights of the area. On this exciting full-day excursion you will discover all the natural beauty of the region on an optional dolphin or whale watching excursion depending on the season. Another optional add-on is the sandboarding adventure in Anna Bay.

8. Wollongong and Great Pacific Drive

Sunny beaches, bike paths, botanical gardens and museums – you’ll find it all and more in Wollongong. About 80 kilometers south of Sydney, Wollongong (“Gong”) is the third-largest city in the state and is a great place for a scenic day trip along Grand Pacific Drive.

This 140km scenic drive from the Royal National Park to Nowra passes along the rugged and rocky coast, past surf-washed beaches and over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, which stretches over the sea. wind – weathered cliffs. From the observation deck on the bridge, you can get stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and look for whales that migrate seasonally.

Foodies will also find a wide variety of cafes in the city. Wollongong menus feature predominantly seafood, but you’ll find everything from vegetarian to Vietnamese dishes here.
Students at the University of Wollongong contribute to its vibrant nightlife, and the city’s vibrant arts and culture attract numerous day-trippers and weekend travelers. See Aboriginal art at the Wollongong Art Gallery. Stroll through the floral wonders of the Wollongong Botanical Gardens. Watch a live Bubble Show at the Science Space Museum or relax at Nantian Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere.

Prefer outdoor entertainment? Surf, swim or paddle on a number of beautiful beaches – Austinmer is a favorite and Belmore Basin offers calm waters for paddlers. Or go to the bushes. Hike through the rainforest or cycle along more than 42 kilometers of trails. Is an adrenaline-pumping workout better for you? Glide through Stanwell Park or sign up for a skydiving adventure. After all, you may have to turn your Wollongong day trip into a weekend.

9. Canberra: the capital of Australia

Canberra in the ACT (Australian Capital Region) is home to many cultural attractions, with excellent museums, art galleries and monuments. This beautifully crafted capital of Australia is about three hour drive from Sydney and a similar distance from Melbourne. The site was chosen in 1908 as a compromise between two rival cities.

Designed by award-winning American architect Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahony Griffin, Canberra boasts extensive parks, colorful gardens, and interesting geometric layouts. Most of the main attractions originate from Lake Burley Griffin, the artificial lake that is the heart of the city.

While you’re there, be sure to visit the new Houses of Parliament, which opened after extensive renovations in 1988, and try to plan your visit while Parliament is in session. The former Houses of Parliament now houses the excellent Australian Democracy Museum.

Other attractions include the National Museum of Australia, Questacon – the National Center for Science and Technology, the National Library, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery and the poignant Australian War Memorial.

Visit the 843-meter-high peak of Mount Ainslie to appreciate the design of the city. You can go to the observation deck 2 km from the Australian War Memorial or hike the trails.

To see all the top attractions in one day, sign up for a private full-day tour of Canberra. This customizable full-day tour from Sydney will take you to your chosen attractions with an expert guide.

10. Southern Highlands

Gorgeous gardens, wildlife-rich wilderness areas, and lovely country towns are just some of the many attractions in the Southern Highlands. About a 90-minute drive from Sydney, this is a great place to see native Australian animals in their natural habitat.

Moreton National Park near Fitzroy Falls, the town’s namesake 81-foot waterfall, as well as a scenic hike through a rainforest valley; wildflowers; panoramic views; and many birds and animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, echidnas, platypuses and opossums. Most of Kangaroo Valley is within the park and is one of the most beautiful valleys in Australia.

Due to the fertile soil of the Southern Highlands, fresh produce is plentiful. You can also taste some local specialties in the charming cafes and restaurants of the towns and historical villages.
The region’s main towns, Berrima, Bowral, Bundanoon, Mittagong, and Moss Vale are worth exploring. Key attractions here include historic buildings, art galleries, and local craft studios, as well as boutiques, spas, antique shops, and gardens.

The Southern Highlands are generally cooler than cities with low humidity, making it a popular country retreat on hot summer days.


Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit near Sydney by car. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit near Sydney by car, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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