Five day-trips from Sydney Using public transport
As a visitor, it can be easy to limit your exploration to Sydney’s CBD. After all, there’s a lot to see, and that is what all the tourist guides tell you to do. But if you have a little time, the best way to get a true sense of Sydney city is to venture further afield.
Admittedly, many of the famous days trip Sydney locals take require you to have your transport. Hiring a car in Sydney – let alone negotiating Sydney traffic – is not practical for most travellers.
The solution is to utilise public transport to access interesting places that Sydneysiders take for granted – but which can make for a day of discovery for an adventurous visitor willing to venture off the beaten tourist track.
Day Trips from Sydney – Explore Bicentennial Park
Bicentennial Park is located within the Sydney Olympic Park Complex in Inner West Sydney. Although Sydney Olympic Park’s entirety is worth seeing, Bicentennial Park is located on the outskirts, making it only a ten-minute walk from Concord West Train Station.
The Bicentennial Park combines a few different simple attractions within a flat and easy area to walk. Among these is the Treillage Tower which gives you views of the surrounding parklands, the dense mangrove habitat of Powell’s creek and the relaxed picnic areas around the central Belvedere Lake.
Bring your lunch, or grab something from the shops near Concord West Train Station before entering the park. There is a small cafe near the lake as well if you don’t manage to pick anything up beforehand.
Relax At Sydney Park
A day spent at Sydney Park is a great option if you don’t want to venture too far. It is a laid-back spot for wandering and relaxing, so this is best for a rest day when you don’t want too much on your itinerary.
The park is uncommonly popular with dog walkers, so if you miss your furry friend, this is a great place to go around pets. The site of a former brickworks and later a landfill, the site has been rehabilitated into a lush natural space with tiered wetlands, rolling hills and plenty of walking tracks. Take a picnic lunch or grab some food on nearby King Street.
Failing that, there are a small cafe and juice bar in the park itself. The park is easy to access as it is a mere 20-minute train ride from Central Station to St Peter’s Station and located directly opposite the station.
Day trips Sydney – Visit Nurragingy Reserve
The Nurragingy Reserve is a sprawling outdoor recreation area in Western Sydney surrounded by a native bush. It is one of the very few places of its type that is easy to access using public transport; from Doonside Train Station, it is only a 1 km walk to the reserve.
The Chang Lai Garden is perhaps the reserve’s main attraction with its central artificial waterfall, a lake and a bridge – all designed in a traditional Chinese architectural style. A few more themed areas surround this, including the visually underwhelming – yet no less appealing – sensory garden that all smells and sounds. Take a seat, close your eyes and breath. If you feel adventurous, take a walk through the wetland area and get lost in the local frogs’ hypnotic drone hidden among the marshes.
Try to bring food and drinks and utilise one of the many picnic areas, but if you forget there is a small canteen on site.
Walk Along The Cooks River
The Cooks River meanders through some Inner West Sydney suburbs, giving you a view of Sydney from a different vantage point. There are informative panels along the route at varying intervals, and they describe everything from the local wildlife to the traditional Aboriginal landowners.
To get there, take a train to Canterbury Train Station, turn right on Canterbury Road and follow Close Street till you get onto the path beside the river. There are walkways on both sides of the river, but it’s best to cross when you get to Ewan Park’s bridge. Then you can continue to walk till you arrive at Gough Whitlam Park. Take a break here and maybe grab a coffee at the little canteen before walking 5 minutes to the nearby Tempe Train Station.
The whole walk will take you around 2 hours to complete if you walk non-stop, but you will be sure to want to linger for a picnic lunch beside the river or to take some photos along the way. There are water stations and taps along the route if you need to refill – ensure you bring a bottle.
Take a Ferry Down The Parramatta River
Much of Sydney’s historically significant architecture is located within ‘Sydney’s Second City’– Parramatta. Consider taking one of the self-guided walking tours through sizable Parramatta Park, and see for yourself the remnants of Sydney’s Colonial past in the form of surviving monuments and historic buildings. Alternatively, take an unstructured wander through the grounds and take in nature. To get to the park, hop on the Free Shuttle, which departs from Darcy Street, outside Parramatta Train Station every ten minutes daily.
After exploring, make your way to the Charles Street Ferry wharf along the attractive riverside walking paths and maybe grab a coffee nearby while you wait for the ferry. Just be sure to plan your departure so that you will be travelling back to the city while it’s still light so that you can take in the fantastic scenery along the way.
The boat ride is a journey of at least an hour – but try to get the express service as it stops at fewer jetties. You complete your trip by passing under the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Opera House in front of you before docking at Circular Quay.
Tips for getting around by public transport in Sydney
*You can take any of these fun activities and day trips on weekdays but to get the best value, buy an Opal Card from a 7 eleven and take your trip on a Sunday, if your schedule allows. All-day travel on a Sunday (on buses, ferry, trains or light rail) within the areas mentioned is capped at $2.50.
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Related Guide: Australian Destinations
First published in 2016, last updated in April 2021
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