I’m always keen to explore new places in Australia. I recently set out on a day trip with a friend…driving north from Sydney. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of living in Australia’s most populous city. However, every now and then it’s nice to escape the city limits and get closer to nature. Here’s a little more about the day:

Stop 1: Dural

  • Location: 36 kilometers north-west of Sydney
  • Population: 7,357 (per the 2011 census).
  • Name origin: Dural is derived from Dooral-Dooral, an Aboriginal word meaning smoking hollow tree.
  • Site visited: Dural Kiosk a family owned and run fruit and vegetable farm. I purchased some delicious cucumbers (the best I’ve ever had in Australia), and a potted succulent plant to add to my collection. In addition to fruit and veg, a wonderful array of fresh goods are available including: eggs, honey and potted plants.

Stop 2: St. Albans

  • Location: 94 kilometers north-west of Sydney
  • Population: 305 (per the 2011 census).
  • Site visited: Settlers Arms Inn (established in 1836). We explored the grounds, and enjoyed a hearty lunch (cauliflower and white bean soup with fresh bread for me and a meat pie for my friend). The menu is locally sourced, and changes each day dependent upon the fresh produce that is brought in throughout the week. 
  • Local tips:

- Adventure is built in when visiting this historic site. We crossed the Hawkesbury River via the Wisemans Ferry. The site was founded in 1829, making it the oldest operating ferry crossing in New South Wales. The vehicular ferry is free and runs 24 hours a day.

- There is virtually no mobile service in this area and petrol stations are few and far between. It’s a good idea to top up your petrol tank prior to exploring the region. Bring along a physical map as well.

Stop 3: Woy Woy

  • Location: 79 kilometers north of Sydney
  • Population: 10, 114 (per the 2011 census).
  • Name origin: The name, derived from the language of the Darkinjung Aboriginal people, means “big lagoon” or “much water.”
  • Sites visited: Pelican Park and The Bayview Hotel. A stop in this quiet town was a nice way to cap off the day trip. A short walk around the park provided lovely views of the water. A cold beer and some live music provided the perfect ending to a fun-filled day.
  • Local tip: Hit up the Bayview hotel on the right evening, and take part in the meat raffles. The “right evening” seems to be word of mouth. If you visit, be on the lookout for a person selling raffle tickets during happy hour or check in with the bar staff. Meat raffles are quite popular in Australia. As someone who consumes very little meat, I find it hard to relate to the levels of excitement that seemingly accompany the drawings. However, give me a cheese plate raffle, and I might just be waiting on the edge of my seat for my numbers to be drawn. It is a quirky tradition, but there’s nothing wrong with free food…and winning is always fun!

I'm thankful whenever I have the opportunity to explore the beauty of New South Wales. If you are feeling the urge to get out of the city, I suggest visiting all of these places on a day trip of your very own.