There’s a lot to do in Sydney city itself, but it also offers some great options for day-trips — head to the Blue Mountains, Berry, or the Hunter Valley.
Blue Mountains – west of Sydney
If you are only in Sydney for a short period of time and want to do a day-trip, the Blue Mountains is a good choice. Only an hour and a half west of the city, it is easily accessible by train to Katoomba station, or by car. Driving’s a lot more convenient, so get three or four people together to share the costs — this also means you’ll have company for the many activities you can do there.
The forest is the Blue Mountain’s major attraction, with well-established paths offering good views of the Aussie bush; don’t miss the Three Sisters, a rock formation located very close to the town centre of Katoomba. If bushwalking is not your cup of tea, there are also plenty of adventurous activities operated by a few established companies in Katoomba. A short stroll from the train station will take you to several tour operators who offer abseiling and canyoning at reasonable prices.
While Katoomba is the main town in the Blue Mountains, Blackheath is a prettier location, only 10-15 minutes further away, and overall a much more pleasant and less-touristy environment. If you decide to stay longer than just one day, a great accommodation option is the Glenn Murcutt-designed Westhill and Wood Duck Cabin, where you can choose either to stay in the main house (if you’re part of a big group of people), or the smaller two-person cabin located a few metres away.
The property lies amongst beautiful gardens lovingly maintained by its owners, complete with resident ducks and native birds chirping in the trees. It is also within private bushland, so you can take a quite leisurely stroll at your own pace.
Berry – south of Sydney
If you are in the mood for something a little more lazy and relaxing, Berry, located in the Shoalhaven region just over two hours south of Sydney, is an ideal day-trip. It is a picturesque country town filled with cute little shops and restaurants with an old-world charm to them. You will feel like you’ve stumbled into a different era.
Leaving Sydney late morning would bring you there just in time for a scrumptious lunch at one of Berry’s many local eateries. After lunch you can go shopping and look for hidden treasures at the homeware and art stores around the main city centre.
When you tire of that, take a drive down to the wineries a short distance away, and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening sampling local wines before heading back to Sydney.
Hunter Valley – north of Sydney
Wine buffs will love the Hunter Valley, around two hours’ drive north of Sydney. Once you arrive, there are just so many wineries to choose from, the only dilemma will be which one to visit first. Pokolbin is a good place to start, with a group of wineries all within walking distance of each other. Based on personal experience, an excellent one to begin with is the wonderful Scarborough Wine Co., where your tasting will be accompanied by complimentary cheese and crackers, with a friendly sommelier on hand to answer any questions.
Other than wineries, there is also the Bluetongue Beer Brewery located in at the Hunter Resort in Pokolbin, where you can have a light meal as well as sample boutique Australian beer.
Of course there are also other interesting activities such as horse-riding, or hot-air ballooning, if you have got more time and money to spare. If not, aim for four or five wineries in Pokolbin, enjoy them at a reasonable pace, before heading back to Sydney.
For more on Australia, check out our Australia country page.