Sydneysiders know their city is amazing. It’s a city filled with so many great things to do: beautiful beaches, bars, restaurants, sporting events, nature walks, and the list goes on.
One of the greatest things about it is that it is surrounded by fantastic nature. In contrast, Sydney’s biggest flaw is that it is one of the most expensive cities in the world and so days off can easily go over budget. Have no fear! These activities are designed to be budget and public transport friendly (though having a car would make things easier) and help locals and visitors alike explore some of the best natural destinations in Sydney and its surrounding areas.
1.The Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are home to many beautiful walking trails, and it would be easy to spend far longer than a day there. However, for those short on time or just needing a quick getaway from the city, one day is plenty to see some of the area’s highlights. Getting off the train at Wentworth Falls provides a starting point for a five hour round trip hike that leads to breathtaking views of the falls spilling over in front of you while the mountains and valley provide a beautiful backdrop behind you. On a warm day there is a natural pool at the bottom for swimming, but gazing in awe at the falls is enough to make the trip worthwhile.
The famous Three Sisters rock formation is located a few train stops down in Katoomba. After disembarking the train there is the option of walking 20 minutes through town to see them or taking a bus. The Three Sisters are stunning at any time of day, but are best seen glowing at sunset. From the lookout visitors can climb down to the Three Sisters themselves, and if they are very ambitious, continue all the way down the staircase into the valley. The lookout is also the launch point for the hike to Kintampo Falls. It is a smaller waterfall than Wentworth Falls and no swimming is available, but still very beautiful to see for those who have the time. Getting there includes a lovely walk through the temperate rainforest.
The Particulars: A round trip ticket from Central costs $17.80, though is cheaper for Opal Card holders and the trip takes about two hours. Trains leaving Sydney’s Central Station to the Blue Mountains only leave once an hour, so check the times before arriving at the station to prevent a long wait. Train times coming back to Sydney vary depending on the day of the week so check those or you will be spending the night in the mountains. Schedules can be found at sydneytrains.info. For those who enjoy eating out, both Wentworth Falls and Katoomba are filled with restaurants and cafes.
2.Palm Beach and Pittwater. Known in Australia as the setting of the show, Home and Away, Palm Beach is a paradise located just north of Sydney and can be reach by taking the L90 bus from the central business district (CBD). Visitors can climb Barrenjoey Head and get a better look at the lighthouse, as well as the beautiful peninsula below. For those after a quiet day, an afternoon on the beach or enjoying one of the local restaurants with a view is reason enough for the trip. Anyone seeking a bit more adventure can take the local ferry through to a number of places. The ferry ride provides stunning views of the landscape, and disembarking at The Basin leads to a remote and picturesque swimming spot. For those with a car, a quick trip to neighboring Westhead in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park provides access to lots of other stunning walking trails.
The Particulars: The L90 only leaves once every half hour from the city and will take about an hour and a half to get there. Timetables can be found at sydneybuses.info. Anyone wishing to drive to Ku-ring-gai Chase Park should note that there is an $11 fee for parking a vehicle. Go to nationalparks.nsw.gov.au for more information on prices and trail options.
3.The Royal National Park. The second oldest national park in the world is located just south of Sydney and can be accessed by taking the train from Central to Cronulla and then the ferry to Bundeena. Once again, the ferry ride alone is a highlight. The trails through the Royal National Park are designed to go on for days, but anyone seeking a day trip should investigate the portion of the Coast Track walk to Little Marley Beach. The return walk is 14 km and there is little shade cover, so packing an excessive amount of water is essential. Shortly after entering the park, the trail leads to wonderful sea side views from high up in the cliffs. The path continues along the cliffs before finally reaching views of Little Marley Beach. It is a stunning and secluded beach that is a fantastic secret in a city famous for its beaches. Pack a lunch and have a picnic enjoying the untouched landscape of New South Wales. Be sure to give yourself enough time to get back to the ferry though, the last ferry departs early in the evening, and times vary depending on the season.
The Particulars: Investigate train and ferry times before arrival as they are have not been designed to line up. Buy any extra snacks or water you might need from Bundeena as there is nowhere to stock up in the park. Find out more about transport at cronullaferries.com.au and sydneytrains.info.
4.Spit Bridge to Manly. Sydney’s harbor is one of the city’s best features. It will be filled with views of the city in one corner, while just a little further down is a private beach so secluded it might not even be in Sydney at all, and around another corner still provides it a glimpse out to the sea, the harbor has it all. This walk allows visitors to explore the harbor in a whole new way. The 10km path leads through hidden pockets of the harbor with several stops to swim, and then finishes in Manly.
The Particulars: To get to the start of the walk, take the bus to Spit Bridge from Wynyard and after the walk ride ferry from Manly to Circular Quay to get back to the city. The walk will take about four hours total and there are few stops for food or drink, so be sure to stock up! Visit transport.nsw.gov.au to find out about bus times to get there and ferry rides to get back.
5.Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. Anyone looking for an adventure with even less travel should partake in the walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach. From Bondi, follow the path south and be lead to fantastic views of Bondi Beach and the famous Icebergs. Continuing on the trail will take walkers through other beaches including Bronte, Tamarama, and Clovelly before ending up in Coogee, all while experiencing terrific views of both land and sea. The walk takes about two hours and is a great way for those who are new to Sydney to find their new favorite beach. If two hours is not enough, the walk continues another hour and a half down to Maroubra Beach.
The Particulars: The walk can begin in either Bondi or Coogee, and buses run frequently to both locations. New walkers beware, this is an exceptionally popular walk in Sydney so if possible aim to do it on a weekday or you might meet the entire city on the trail!