Blue Mountains National Park
The most famous National Park is the Blue Mountains in Sydney. It has the icon of the Three Sisters, and some good fun on the Railway down the valley and over the ridge. However, it is also the most crowded. If you want to go off the beaten path check out Royal National Park, or Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park.
Sydney is not all sun, water and beach. Besides the beautiful natural phenomena above ground in New South Wales, you can find the most amazing caves tucked away under the Blue Mountains. Out of 3oo caves, 9 are open to the public. There is also a really nice walking track running along the Jenolan Caves for those who don't like the dark so much... There is accommodation available for those who want to make it a multi-day getaway.
North Sydney might not be on your list of things to do in sydney, especially when you see all the business tower up across the Bridge. However, if you happen to go for a stroll past Luna Park alongside the foreshore boardwalk, you will find yourself immersed in the beautiful Secret Garden of Wendy Whiteley. The garden is open to the public and completely free.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk
The Sydney Harbour National Park covers a lot of ground. One of our favorite tracks is the Hermitage Foreshore Walk starting in Vaucluse, finishing at Nielsen Park. The trail runs through bush and explores many of the small beaches on the Sydney Harbour with great views of the Bridge. it will take you about 1 hour one way at a relatively slow pace to cover the 1.8 kilometers. It is a track with uneven surfaces and steps, so would not recommend if you are not very mobile. Spending the afternoon at Nielsen Park for a coffee or a swim is just as nice! Or keep walking and finish at Watsons Bay with some fish and chips and take the ferry back to Circular Quay.
Bondi or Manly Beach
Like with rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, there is also rivalry within Sydney of who is to claim the better beach. Put it to the test and discover both. Best way to do this is to make your way there via the coastal walks. Spit Bridge to Manly walk, Watsons Bay to Bondi walk or Coogee Beach to Bondi walk.
When in Manly, make sure to walk all the way to Shelly Beach and have a snorkel if you can as this is a protected marine reserve. Up from Shelly Beach also starts the North Head walk with great views over Manly Beach.
In Winter this place offers you a great weekend getaway to experience the snow. But in Summer this place still is a great place of interest, with the main event being Mt Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia. Take the track to the summit, or hire a mountain bike and explore the National Park. This region is best to visit as an overnight trip as it is about 6h away from Sydney, or 2.5 hours from Canberra and 3h from Melbourne.
Nelson Bay is a mesmerizing place where you can find peace, quiet and beauty. Tomaree National park will blow your mind if you push through to get to the top of the hill. The main town is Port Stephens where you can also jump on a dolphin or whale cruise. On the other side of the peninsula you will find Anna Bay with massive sand dunes where you can do 4WD on the beach or pick a camel for a beach ride. Port Stephens is located north of Sydney and takes about 2.5h by car.
One of the reasons you are in Sydney might be because you have been a "Home and Away" fan for years and years. You can't wait to see the iconic Surf and Life Saving Club at golden "Summer Bay". You can make your way there via public transport to Palm Beach, which is the actual name of the film location. You can wander freely around the icons of the show, or enjoy a majestic view of the Headlands from the Lighthouse. If you are visiting the Northern Beaches out that way make sure to stop in at The Newport for a drink or a meal.
Feeling like you need a bit of zen in this bubbly metro pole of Sydney? Go visit this truly peaceful garden in the middle of the city at Darling Harbour. Amidst beautiful water features and flowers, you can feed the big Koi living under the surface. The Chinese Garden of Friendship also is heritage-listed and home to a great tea house. Open for the public for a small entry fee of 8$.
Figure 8 Pool
Just an hour out of town in Royal National Park, discover a slightly challenging walk with beautiful coastal views, an empty beach and these amazing rock pools. The unique shape and clear water give you an amazing picture opportunity. 2.5-4 hours return walk (not including time at the pools).
Warning: the pools are located on rock shelf that is only suitable for visiting when low tide and minimal swell. Check out the risk meter on the national parks website.