Pack your bags, bring great company, and we'll tell you where to go for the best fun-filled day trip!
Day trips are the best way to counter your limited free time or finances. If you plan well, you can still embark on a memorable adventure and take a break from your daily routine.
Taking a short trip can be just as exciting and eventful as a longer trip, as long as you know how to make the most of it.
We've compiled a list of 6 awesome day-trip destinations in Australia that will appeal to every adventurer's taste, along with some practical packing tips.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's embark on this amazing adventure!
1. Blue Mountains
Being only an hour and a half drive from Sydney, Blue Mountains World Heritage Site is a perfect destination for a day trip. You will get to indulge in scenic walks, unparalleled views, and tons of exciting ways to explore the nature.
The Blue Mountains appeal to all the senses, with the fresh misty air and its warm scent, bushes and tree-filled mountain tops and the distant blue horizon. In case you were wondering why they are called the Blue Mountains, it is because of the blue haze that covers the mountain tops and towering gorges. The area is filled with eucalyptus trees creating a blue mist as their oil evaporates in the air.
One of the most famous landmarks in the area are the Three Sisters sandstone pillars. But, you will also be able to see the Bridal Veil Falls - the most stunning waterfalls in the whole region, the bushwalking hiking trails, and the eucalyptus forests.
While you're there, don't miss the opportunity to take a trip to the Scenic World at Katoomba. There, you will be able to take the Scenic Skyway gondola ride across Jamison Valley, observing the beautiful ravines, the Three Sisters and the Katoomba Falls from above. You can also hop on a Scenic Railway, the world's steepest incline railway which descends 400 metres into the hidden valley.
Take the time to explore the Jenolan Caves, which are some of the oldest and finest caves in the world. The experience below is truly magical, and if you're feeling adventurous, try adventure caving which is created to be authentic and challenging, or indulge in a spooky underground ghost tour.
Above the ground, wander through the extraordinary Australian wildlife where you might even spot a kangaroo, or head to the Koala Sanctuary and hang out with these adorable creatures, and many other amazing animals: dingos, Tasmanian devils, crocodiles, wallabies, and others.
2. Hunter Valley
The ultimate destination for foodies, Hunter Valley is the home to some of Australia's oldest vineyards. Located a couple of hours away from Sydney, it is one of the favourite getaway spots for Sydneysiders, but it also attracts tourists from all over the world.
Affectionately called the "Wine Country," this area has over 100 vineyards producing the finest wines. But Hunter Valley is a foodies' heaven for more than one reason. This area is also the home to numerous cheese and chocolate factories, high-end restaurants, cafes, dairy and olive farms.
If you're a gourmet food fan, just a day trip to the Hunter Valley may not be enough for you, but there are plenty of tours which ensure you get the most out of your experience, even if you're visiting only for a day. You will be walking quite a lot on these tours, so a compact and reliable pack such as this Status Anxiety The Void Backpack is a must.
Wine lovers, leave your car at home and embark on a full-day wine tasting tour. If you decide to create your own tour, it can be tough to choose among the 100 vineyards to visit. So, make sure to pick those that offer tours, wine tasting and behind-the-scene looks of the vineyard.
You will get a chance to learn how the wine is made from some of the most famous winemakers in the area, and try some of the best delicacies of the Australian cuisine prepared with home-made cheese, home-grown olives, and delicious chocolate.
Although the food and the wine will be a huge part of your Hunter Valley visit, they aren't the only thing making the region appealing to the visitors. This gorgeous area is also rich in history and outstanding architecture, as well as beautiful nature and wildlife.
You can try Hunter Valley's horse-drawn carriage rides, as well as helicopter tours, and even explore the 25 hectares of breathtaking Hunter Valley Gardens.
3. Phillip Island
Get ready for a relaxing and refreshing trip to the Phillip Island. The island is located 90 minutes from Melbourne, and it is a perfect opportunity to get away from the hectic city and immerse yourself in the Australian wildlife and wonderful scenery.
A quick visit to the Phillip Island is actually an ideal way to spend the day, because you can do absolutely anything that comes to your mind. The island offers a wide variety of activities, from wandering through nature, exploring the wildlife and enjoying outdoor activities, to pampering yourself in spas and relaxing at the beach.
Phillip Island has 100 kilometres of coastline, with numerous unspoiled sand beaches. This makes it ideal for a day-long beach holiday - you can cruise to the neighbouring island, swim, and snorkel, or ride the waves at the Woolamai Beach, famous for the great surf. Don't forget to bring your surfing board, and we recommend the elegant Haydenshapes Surfboards Shred Sled.
Want to learn more about the fascinating Australian culture and history? Visit the Phillip Island Historical Society Museum and hear about the Aboriginal culture, as well as the story about the first settlers.
Maybe you are more interested in getting a closer look at the Australian wildlife. If that is the case, visit the Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park and hang out with koalas and other animals such as possums, echidnas, and wallabies.
But the biggest appeal of the Phillip Island lies in the famous Penguin Parade. However you choose to spend your day, you absolutely can't miss this adorable phenomenon. There are 32,000 little penguins on Phillip Island which is probably the largest known colony of these animals. Every night, at sunset, a large group of these tiny penguins waddles up the beach, resembling a cute parade, and it's a sight you must see.
One of Australia's biggest charms lies in the variety of its ecosystems. Travelling through this continent will take you through luscious forests, wild jungles, sandy beaches and even deserts, which is why Uluru is simply one of the must-see places in Australia.
If you were planning to visit the Central Australian Desert, Uluru is the right choice, especially for the adventurers. Uluru gives you a chance to explore the desert on a helicopter ride, or on a camel's back. And you can even try skydiving into the red vastness of the desert.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will take your breath away, as you realize you are witnessing a historical site, millions of years old. Here, you will be able to learn about the Uluru and Anangu people and their ancient history, as well as see the Aboriginal rock art.
If you just want to explore this spectacular area on your own terms, you can do a walking tour along the 12-kilometre trail. However, we suggest being a little more adventurous and booking a camel ride or a helicopter tour.
Camel tours are a unique experience no matter whether you decide to go at sunrise or sunset, and you will get the opportunity to indulge in a desert picnic after the tour. We suggest packing a stylish pair of sunglasses like the Kaibosh Student Union Designer, made for the desert sun.
Adrenaline junkies will love the idea of skydiving through the Uluru and Kata Tjuta skies, enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime view of the desert. You can, again, choose to jump at sunrise or sunset, with a longer parachute ride, or a longer freefall, for the ultimate thrill-seekers.
You can still see Uluru from a bird's eye view even if the idea of jumping off a plane doesn't seem appealing to you. There are helicopter tours over Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and the Kings Canyon, so you can sneak a peek of salt lakes of Lake Amadeus and the majestic Kings Canyon.
5. Bruny Island
Less than 2 hours from Hobart, Bruny Island in Tasmania offers something for everyone. Stunning nature, fascinating history, delicious food and interesting culture, all come together on Bruny Island, and you can explore all of it in one day.
Your day trip will begin with a lovely ferry ride, after which you can start exploring this versatile island. Don't miss the most famous spot of the island - the Neck - which is a strip of sand that connects the north and the south of the Bruny Island. Ascend the Truganini Lookout for the best 360-view of the whole island and the most photographed view of the Neck.
If you are in the mood for a hike, Bruny Island has plenty of hiking trails, and if your trip is more about relaxing, just take a dip in the ocean where you might come across a few adorable fur seals. Those that do decide to explore the island on foot will get a chance to come face to face with some exotic Australian animals - echidnas, wallabies and different types of birds.
A day trip to the Bruny Island is best suited for those that want to enjoy great local food. The island is filled with delicious home-grown food and wineries, so you can try some exquisite wines, cheeses and berries that the Island is famous for. There are even special gourmet food tours that will introduce you to all the delicacies of the Island.
History buffs will find the Bruny Island exciting as well, because there is a lot to learn about the Aboriginal people and the explorers who first set foot on the Island. Visit the Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration for a closer look at the fascinating artifacts. Don't miss the private tour of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse and ascend the spiral staircase to the balcony for an amazing view.
6. Great Ocean Road
One of Australia's most popular day-trip destinations, Great Ocean Road, is located 2.5 hours from Melbourne. The coastal views are some of the most spectacular you will encounter on the whole continent, and the wildlife you can explore is simply unbelievable.
One of the primary reasons why the Great Ocean Road is such a popular touristic spot is its rugged coastline with the incredible scenery abundant in stunning gorges, dramatic cliffs, limestone stacks and sandy beaches. Sure, you can catch the view by walking along the coastline, but if you want a more unusual experience, book a helicopter ride and fly right over the Gibson Steps and the 12 Apostles.
As you stroll along the beach, you will come across the Port Campbell National Park that features some famous coastal historical sites, such as the massive 12 Apostles limestone stacks.
However, the diverse Great Ocean Road region is more than just a scenic coast. The whole region is bursting with life, and if you take a tour of the area, you will come across dramatic waterfalls, volcanic plains, lakes, rivers and windswept fields. And if you're lucky, you just might meet some curious koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and echidnas. In fact, the Great Ocean Road is one of the best places to spot koalas in the wild.
If you prefer an active adventure, leave some room in your schedule for the adventures that Great Ocean Road offers. This area is great for surfing because it features some of the world's best surf beaches, but you can also try swimming, snorkelling, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, or simply biking and fishing.
If you're planning to conquer the waves or explore the ocean, make sure you have a durable wetsuit such as this Patagonia Men's R1 Short John Wetsuit.
Packing Tips For Your Day Trip
One of the great advantages of short trips is being able to travel light. But, you also need to pack smart since you will be carrying that backpack for the rest of the day.
Backpack - First of all, you will need a good backpack - one that is durable, comfortable and fits everything you will need for the day. Our choice is this Herschel Little America Mid-Volume Backpack that is practical because it's just as perfect for everyday use as it is for day trips.
ID, Cash and Cards - First things first, you can't leave the house without bringing your ID, cash and credit cards. You never know when you will come across a restaurant that only accepts cash, or if there is going to be an emergency on your trip, so it's better to be safe than sorry and bring both cash and credit cards. If you are travelling outside the country, don't forget your passport.
Snacks and Water - You will probably fit a lunch inside your agenda, but it's great to bring snacks, just in case. You will have a day full of walking and getting hungry and grumpy will only ruin the mood for everyone. Water is super important to pack, especially if you're planning an active adventure. It's better to bring your own and have it at hand whenever you need a refreshment than having to search for a place to buy it from.
Jacket/Swimsuit - This depends on the situation and your destination. Even if you're travelling in the summer, you might want to bring a light jacket when it gets cooler in the evening. If you're planning a trip to the beach, don't forget to bring a swimsuit, or a wetsuit if you're headed surfing, snorkelling or diving.
Map - It doesn't matter if you know exactly where you are going, or if you've done a thorough research on your destination, it doesn't hurt to bring a map. A map is light, and it doesn't take up much space in your backpack, but it can save you a lot of trouble.
Umbrella - This one again depends on the destination, the time of the year and the forecast for that day (which you absolutely must check). But, lacking an umbrella when it's needed can ruin your whole trip. Besides, an umbrella can just as well protect you from the strong sun.
Tissues, Wet Wipes, Sunscreen - You will likely be on the move the whole day, so bringing tissues and wet wipes is a must. The bathrooms you encounter along the way may not have toilet paper, and with wet wipes you can clean your hands whenever you need to. Also, sunscreen is essential if you're planning a trip during the summer.
Phone, Camera, Charger - Of course, you're probably planning to take your phone, and it will do just fine for taking photos on your trip. But, if you need to bring your camera, don't forget to pack an extra set of batteries. Also, a portable charger such as this Sparkstone Portable Device Charger will come in handy if you're going for a longer hike in nature.
These sites will make you forget about reality at least for a day. Wherever you choose to go, all you have to do is pack smart, bring good company along and make sure to seize the day.