The best way to craft your Australia Travel Itinerary is to start from an Australian City. Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide. It's a great idea to pick one or more destination areas and start building your itinerary around it with the best day trips from Australian cities.
There is no need to plan long-distance trips to be able to see the natural beauty of Australia and you will be surprised of how much you can do in the surroundings of all Australian cities. Either on self-guided day trips or on guided trips an tours, there are plenty of opportunities for any type of travel. From outdoor, wildlife and adventure tours to sport activities, to food & wine day trips, and more.
Benefits of choosing day trips in Australia
For the solo traveller Australia is a safe and easy country to get around. Bus travel as well as train travel are good ways to explore Australian cities' surroundings. But of course buses and trains will not take you to any destinations, especially in rural areas. I have done all that and loved it. Public transport is great but it requires a flexible schedule to move around though.
Hiring a car or a campervan in Australia is easy and if you like more freedom and a relaxed pace that's the ideal way to go. If driving is not for you, and prefer a local to show you around, there are hundreds of day tours in Australia to choose from.
With nearly 100 thousands km covered in 12 years of solo travel adventures I have seen much of Australia on short and long trips. That's why I have put together this list with the best day-trips suggestions that you can make from all Australian cities.
Here are 12 of the best day trips from 4 Australian cities
Top 3 Melbourne Day Tours
Melbourne is no. 1 favourite city in Australia for many reasons. It's a city that makes you feel at home straight away. Travellers are welcome and you soon notice that. In my opinion Melbourne ranks no. 1 as traveller-friendly city among all cities I have visited. It's a great place to start a trip, because of the variety of things you can do – many are free – and the abundance of day trips to explore its beautiful surroundings. I have written a lot about Melbourne in these years.
Here are my favourite 3 day-trips from Melbourne.
- A day tour to the Dandenong Ranges
Only one hour drive from the city you can visit the Dandenong Ranges on a day tour. From walking trails to lush gardens, to the famous 1000 steps in the dense fern-tree gully, to farmers markets and unique places this is no. 1 place for a fabulous day trip from Melbourne. You need a car to tour the region or join a guided tour. Read more about what you can do and see in the Dandenong Ranges.
- A day tour to Yarra Valley
Another great way to taste the local food and wines is to explore the Yarra Valley, 65 km in Melbourne East. You can not only taste some of the best wines and foods, but also see more of Yarra Valley on hot-air-balloon. I can also highly recommend to visit the Healesville Sanctuary, one of the best places in Australia to see all native Australian animals in their natural habitat.
- A day tour to Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula is another great region with hills, a beautiful coastal landscape, with walking trails, rocks and picturesque villages. This could be an alternative to the Great Ocean Road if you only have one day. While you will need to hire a car to tour this area, you can also use public transport to get to Sorrento and more coastal towns.
Read more about all my picks for great Melbourne day tours
Top 3 Sydney Day Trips
Many Sydney fun activities revolve around the magnificent Sydney Harbour. You can spend days there and will not see it all. From the best day trips from Sydney, these are my picks.
- Walking in the Royal National Park
Take a 30 min train from the city down to Cronulla and first visit this pretty town with a stroll along its relaxed beaches to then hop on a ferry and cross over to Bundeena. While dozens of walking trails await you to explore one of the oldest national parks in the world, the highlight is a walking tour across its beautiful limestone cliffs to the popular wedding-cake-shaped-rocks. It's a full-day trip from Sydney, really worth it.
- Visit Cockatoo Island
If you like to learn a bit about Sydney's rich history a trip to Cocktaoo island is really worth your time. This world heritage sites makes it for a great half-day trip by ferry from the city. You can also stay overnight for a luxury camping experience – a.k.a. glamping – right in the middle of Sydney Harbour.
- Visit the Northern Beaches
Hop on the bus from the main train station and head north to stop at all of Sydney's northern beaches. There are at least 5 to 8 stops including Mona Vale, Avalon, Whale Beach and Palm Beach. From the last stop you can go on a boat trip to explore more of the inlets and tour the national park with an Aboriginal guided tour.
Check out this post for more day trips from Sydney using public transport
Top 3 Perth Day Trip
Perth is a place for swimming, surfing, relaxing and eating great local food. While Perth city looks small it has now over 2 millions of population within the greater Perth area. It's very much different from the Eastern coast. So be prepared for isolation and huge distances. If want to explore rugged natural beauty, Western Australia is the place that will fascinate you. Perth is the hub where to start all your day trips.
Here are my picks for th 3 best day trips from Perth.
- Discover Rottnest Island
Probably no. 1 top Perth attraction a day trip to Rottnest Island is a must for all travellers. I have been twice and can go there over and over again. A repeated visit to Rottnest with its 64 secluded beaches never tires you. In summer is a beloved paradise by the locals and gets busy. Ideally visit from October-November or March-May. Check weather and wind conditions. On a windy day you will not be able to cycle around the island, which is one of the highlights of this lovely car-free island. You can also use a hop-on-hop-off bus and visit with a shuttle bus, but it will not be the same.
- Go to the Pinnacles
This is a 200 km drive north of Perth that you can easily do on a day-trip. The Pinnacles is on the bucket list of all first-time travellers. It is a nice place to see, very scenic landscape with the unique limestone pinnacles scattered around the sandy terrain of the national park. It's a great day tour if you love photography and sunsets. Make sure you get there early because the national park closes at 4.30 pm.
- Visit Swan Valley
If you like food, Perth with Margaret River is one of the best food regions in Australia. And the Swan Valley is a great way to start with the explorations. Just 45 minutes drive to the north eastern hills, you can tour wineries, dairy farms, chocolaterie, lavender, and purchase some of the best honey.
Check out this post for more things to do in Perth
Top 3 Day Trips from Brisbane
Brisbane is a stop over when road tripping the Eastern Coast of Australia.
- Take the train to the Gold Coast
Coolangatta was my first stop in 2013 on a day-trip from Brisbane and quite liked it. I then spent 6 weeks last year in Mermaid Waters in the Gold Coast City and didn't expect to love it so much. On the train it takes 45 minutes and it's an easy day-trip with so much to see. Once you are there you will need to hire a car to use public transport to see all attractions which stretch along the coast for over 35 km. It's a great spot not only for surfers, but also for bikers, walkers and nature lovers.
- Go to Byron Bay
This is a 200 km drive south-east of Brisbane, that you can easily do on a day-trip. You don't need a car, but would be ideal to get around. You can get there by train and bus connection. One day is probably enough to do the coastal walk and visit the town. A funky place with great surf beaches, and a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. Definitely a place worth checking out. Read more about Byron Bay.
- Go hiking in the National Parks
While it's probably not on the list of all travellers, if you love hiking in National Parks close to the ocean, then the Gold Coast has got some absolutely amazing spots. The forest and the sub-tropical vegetation makes of this area a top-notch destination for hiking throughout the year. On this post you can learn about some of the best spots to go hiking in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Check out this post for more things do in Brisbane
How to Plan and get Your Day Trips Organised
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