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18 Magical Places You Won’t Believe Are Actually In Sydney

Because it's about time you spent a day exploring.

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1. Wendy's Secret Garden, Lavender Bay

Distance from the CBD: 10-minute drive.

This hidden park is neatly grassed and filled with quirky statues and places to picnic with a bridge view.

2. Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn

Distance from the CBD: 36-minute drive.

Go during blossom season and prepare yourself for an overload of pink prettiness.

3. Milk Beach, Vaucluse

Distance from the CBD: 22-minute drive.

This well-hidden beach in the Eastern Suburbs is the perfect place to head with a small group, if you want to swim without waves. It's also easily accessible via boat, if that's your preferred mode of transport.

4. Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Paddington

Distance from the CBD: 12-minute drive.

Right off Oxford Street, once you step down into these green gardens, you'll forget you're basically in the middle of the city.

5. Wattamolla, Royal National Park

Distance from the CBD: 58-minute drive.

Complete with a lagoon, beach, waterfall, and walking tracks, this is the ultimate day trip from Sydney. BYO food and friends.

6. Arthur McElhone Reserve, Elizabeth Bay

Distance from the CBD: 12-minute drive.

Plenty of grass, and a pond filled with carp, this park is a short walk from Potts Point, and if it's a little busy when you get there, you can keep walking down to Beare Park, where there's more space.

7. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, North Sydney

Distance from the CBD: 37-minute drive.

A pretty place to spend a day bushwalking, cycling or fishing, this national park is a great place to head when you want to get out of the city for a few hours.

8. McKell Park, Darling Point

Distance from the CBD: 12-minute drive.

A great vantage point for Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks, this park is also a popular place for weddings, with harbour views and amazing trees.

9. Fairy Bower Pool, Manly

Distance from the CBD: 33-minute drive.

Whether you live on this side of Sydney or not, this pool – and accompanying beach – are worth a visit, even if it's just to get a photo of the "Sea Nymphs" sculpture.

10. Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse, Palm Beach

Distance from the CBD: An hour-and-four-minute drive.

Built in 1888, this lighthouse sits at Sydney's most northern point. Visit during whale-watching season and you might just spot a friend or two.

11. Shark Island, Sydney Harbour

Distance from the CBD: 17-minute drive.

Jump on a ferry from Circular Quay and travel out to the mouth of Rose Bay, where you'll find this island, complete with grassed picnic areas, and a wading beach.

12. Nellies Glen, Budderoo National Park

Distance from the CBD: An hour-and-44-minute drive.

While this spot isn't technically in Sydney, a visit to this Blue Mountains picnic area can easily be done in a day. Enjoy the waterfall, and keep your eye out for native birds.

13. Bradley's Head, Mosman

Distance from the CBD: 20-minute drive.

Spend an hour or so enjoying Bradley's Head, then take the 5km track to Chowder Bay, stopping for photos along the way.

14. Collins Flat Beach, Spring Cove

Distance from the CBD: 35-minute drive.

This Manly location, between North Head and Little Manly Cove, is a dream destination for anyone who strongly believes in chasing waterfalls.

15. Mahon Pool, Maroubra

Distance from the CBD: 24-minute drive.

One of Sydney's best ocean pools, get there before summer hits and enjoy a relatively tourist-free swim.

16. Clifton Gardens, Mosman

Distance from the CBD: 19-minute drive.

This lovely beach has a sheltered playground nearby, so it's perfect for people with ~small people~.

17. Lane Cove National Park, Lane Cove

Distance from the CBD: 20-minute drive.

If you're a fan of canoeing and walking, you'll be a big fan of this national park.

18. Maccallum Pool, Cremorne Point

Distance from the CBD: 13-minute drive.

The perfect place to head when the weather heats up, just get there as early as you can.