One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad in another country is being able to travel on your weekends. Most study abroad students will have few classes during the week which leaves open the possibility for long weekends. For half the semester, I had class Monday-Wednesday. But my electives ended early and for the latter half of the semester, I only had class Wednesday. Luckily, this made it possible for me to snag cheap flights leaving on weekdays and extend my weekend trips by a few days. The following are some of the most popular weekend trips:
It only takes a couple of hours by train to get to the Blue Mountains from central Sydney, and yet you could not feel further from civilization. The Blue Mountains is a national park that lies to the east of Sydney and is known for its dramatic scenery, steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, and villages. Take the Blue Mountains Train (BMT) from Central Station to Katoomba. From Katoomba, you can explore the small town and access hundreds of local trails. Head straight to Echo Point for the best view of the Three Sisters rock formation.
Jervois Bay holds the Guinness World Record for the whitest sand in the world. Hyam’s bay, the most well-known of the Jervois Bay beaches is a bit crowded but well worth the white sand and beautiful turquoise waters. If you have time, take a walk on the Jervois Bay Trail and hop around hidden beaches. Jervois Bay is about two hours outside of Sydney and is accessible by rental car. We used Car Next Door, which has many cars parked around the city that you can access using their app. The minimum age is 18 and they don’t charge a premium for young drivers. Make sure you register with them more than 24 hours before you plan to depart so they have time to approve your account.
Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is probably the most easily accessible weekend trip from Sydney. The train takes only about an hour and a half from central Sydney and takes you to the heart of the park. On your way, I highly recommend stopping at Simbio Wildlife Park. They have kangaroos roaming around a large grassy area that you can feed. I probably spent three hours of pure happiness doing this. One of the most popular destinations in the Royal National Park is the figure-eight pools which are ocean pools on a rocked that are shaped like perfect figure-eights. As alluring as this is, the spot can be very dangerous and there are deaths there every year. You have to be very careful with timing and weather and only go during low-tide.
Hunter Valley is known for its wineries and there are many wine tours that depart from Sydney for the weekend or day. The wine tours will take you to the wineries and let you hop on and hop off the busses at your leisure so you don’t feel rushed at any of the stops. The region is beautiful and a nice break from city life.
Although I have yet to go, I’ve heard great things about Byron Bay. I can’t speak to them much but this is definitely a great spot to consider when planning weekend trips.