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Sydney Daytrips

North of Sydney

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Central Coast pelicans, NSW, Australia

Pelicans on a Central Coast beach north of Sydney

© Tourism New South Wales

With the Pacific on Sydney's east, the sightseeing motorist has a choice of west, south and north Sydney daytrips.

Northwards, after leaving the city, one has a choice of three routes and three general destinations:

One, to the nearer Central Coast with its many beaches such as those at Forrester, Avoca and Terrigal.

Two, to the farther Port Stephens and Nelson Bay.

Three, to wine country in the Hunter Valley.

Through parks and across the river

You can get to the Central Coast on one of the Sydney daytrips in only an hour or so, but it's always good to take one's time and stop by a few places along the way.

From either the Cumberland or Pacific Highway, get on to the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway at Wahroonga.

This will take you on a fast clip north through forested national parks and across the Hawkesbury River.

Old Sydney Town has closed

Take the Gosford exit and the old Pacific Highway in the area where Old Sydney Town stood for 28 years as an historical theme park. Here had been reconstructed replicas of buildings as they would have been built in the early days of Sydney colonisation.

The townspeople were garbed in the clothes of the period and there were some fine historical reenactments. You could wander along the dirt-caked streets of long-ago Sydney and visit its old colonial shops.

Old Sydney Town closed down on January 27, 2003.

No worries. You may prefer instead to have a close encounter with kangaroos and wallabies at the Australian Reptile Park close by.

And on to the beaches

From here, you can then proceed to Gosford and take The Entrance Rd to the beach and leisure areas at Avoca, Macmasters or Terrigal.

If you wish, you can bypass the Central Coast entirely (or save it for another day) and proceed to Nelson Bay and Port Stephens.

Once on the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway on the north fringes of Sydney, it should take less than a couple of hours to reach Nelson Bay.

Your choice of stopovers

If you wanted to make stopovers along the way to Port Stephens on one of your Sydney daytrips, be sure to check out the map or see what attractions there are in the area.

Both the Central Coast and Port Stephens areas naturally cater for water sports and beachside leisure activities.

If you wanted something different, you could go to the Hunter Valley instead...

The valley, often referred to simply as the Hunter, is an area of sprawling vineyards north of Sydney and west of Newcastle.

Wineries and wine tasting

One way to reach the Hunter Valley from Sydney is to take the same Sydney-Newcastle Freeway from Wahroonga and take the Cessnock turn-off towards Cessnock City and Pokolbin and into the heart of the Hunter.

This is the land of vineyards and wineries where some of Australia's finest wines come from.

There are other attractions, of course, such as wilderness cycling tours, traveling by Clydesdale-drawn coaches, horseback tours, helicopter flights.

But most visitors come to the Hunter Valley for a visit to the wineries and for endless rounds of wine-tasting, much as one would, I imagine, in the Napa Valley in California and in the wineries of Europe.

There is much to learn in how wines are made and much to savor in food and drink. And if, at the end of the day, one is reluctant to take the drive home and wished for more time in the Hunter, there are always the many places where one can spend the night.

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