Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right The nine most beautiful lookouts to visit near Sydney
The most beautiful lookouts near Sydney
Photograph: Destination NSW

The nine most beautiful lookouts to visit near Sydney

Gaze in wonder at these stunning views just a short distance from the city

By Maxim Boon
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For a sizable chunk of 2020, the nicest view most of us could hope for was the one through our living room window. So, since we’re allowed to roam free across the state once more, we reckon it’s about time you levelled-up your vista. Just cop an eyeful of these breathtaking sights in and around Sydney, then start planning your next day trip to behold them IRL.

RECOMMENDED: If you only have eyes for Sydney, here are the best places to view the city’s iconic skyline.

The most beautiful lookouts near Sydney

Barrenjoey Head
Barrenjoey Head
Photograph: Destination NSW

Barrenjoey Head

With views of the entire Northern Beaches peninsula, Pittwater, the Hawkesbury River estuary, Broken Bay, the wide-open Pacific and of course, the extremely cute Barrenjoey Lighthouse, it’s little wonder that this epic panorama is considered one of Sydney’s finest. If you visit at the weekend, be sure to catch the lighthouse tour before heading to Palm Beach for a paddle and bite to eat.

Mrs Macquarie's Chair
Mrs Macquarie's Chair
Photograph: Destination NSW

Mrs Macquarie’s Point

The OG Sydney lookout is a well-known attraction to Sydneysiders. With its knock-out views of both the harbour headlands to the east (which you can see just as Mrs Mcquarie would have from the 'chair' carved into the rock) and the iconic Sydney combo of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House to the west, it certainly ranks up there with the best lookouts in the state. You can access it either via a stroll through the Domain (feel free to stop into the Art Gallery of NSW on your way) or through the Royal Botanic Gardens foreshore path.

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West Head Lookout
West Head Lookout
Photograph: Destination NSW

West Head Lookout, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

On a clear day, you can see as far as the Central Coast from the elevated vantage point of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park’s northernmost tip, as well as the peak of the Barrenjoey headland and its delightful lighthouse. It’s a great spot for any avid twitchers (aka birdwatchers) out there, as white bellied sea eagles can often be seen hunting over Pittwater. While you’re in this neck of the woods (literally), an amble along the Aboriginal Heritage Walk – an easily manageable loop track which offers access to Red Hands Cave, one of the best examples of ancient Indigenous artworks in Greater Sydney – is a must, as is a trip to nearby Resolute Beach.

Wentworth Falls Track, Blue Mountains
Wentworth Falls Track, Blue Mountains
Photograph: Destination NSW

Wentworth Falls Track, Blue Mountains

It’s hard to single out just one point on this epic trail to recommend, so since we’re feeling generous, consider this entire bushwalk one extended, 1.4km stretch of eye candy. That said, Fletchers Lookout, nearby Lincoln's Rock and of course, the view from the top of the falls, stand out as particularly stunning moments to stop and drink in the rolling eucalypt canopies of the Blue Mountains, stretching all the way to the horizon.

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Garie Beach in the Royal National Park
Garie Beach in the Royal National Park
Photograph: CC/Dimitri Koussa

Garie North Head, Royal National Park

Overlooking one of the Royal National Park’s finest beaches, Garie Head offers a breathtaking vista looking south along the New South Wales coastline. Pro tip: if you want to make a day of it, park up at Wattamolla Beach, just over a kilometre north of Garie, where you can admire the equally stunning view from Providential Point Lookout before taking the coastal track south. The trail has a couple of lovely meanders into the bush around Curracurrong Creek and Eaglehead Rock to add a little variety to your hike.

Echo Point
Echo Point
Photograph: Destination NSW

Echo Point, Blue Mountains

If we had to play favourites, this iconic view of the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley would be a strong contender for our favourite lookout in the Blue Mountains. Echo Point is an all but mandatory destination for any day trip out to Katoomba and we encourage you to embrace your inner-tourist while you’re there. It may be one of the most popular corners of the National Park, but the Visitor Information Centre and the access to various scenic walks and tours can really enrich your experience of this natural wonder.

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America Bay Falls and Cowan Creek
America Bay Falls and Cowan Creek
Photograph: National Parks NSW

America Bay Falls, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

As you stand atop this gentle waterfall, as it cascades into Cowan Creek, framed by rolling hills blanketed by trees, you might find it hard to believe that such a stunning vista is less than 40km from Sydney's city centre. If you’re an experienced bushwalker, the short trek to neighbouring Refuge Bay is well worth the effort, although if you chose to just laze away the day and sunbake on the fall's flat rock, we wouldn’t hold it against you.

Pulpit Rock, Blue Mountains
Pulpit Rock, Blue Mountains
Photograph: Creative Commons

Pulpit Rock, Blue Mountains

Despite being one of the most outstanding lookouts in the Blue Mountains National Park, this platform overlooking Grose Valley is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a 15-minute drive from Blackheath to reach plus a kilometre walk from the carpark. But once you’re there, you’ll have jaw-dropping views that are particularly spectacular at sunset, as the last rays of the day turn the exposed sandstone cliffs opposite a vibrant amber hue.

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Elysian Rock Lookout
Elysian Rock Lookout
Photograph: Destination NSW

Elysian Rock Lookout, Blue Mountains

Perched on a rock buttress just west of the small town of Leura, this lookout is a good option for those hoping to avoid the crowds at Echo Point. You can find an equally stunning vantage point on Jamison Valley here, complete with views of the Three Sisters, Narrow Neck and Mount Solitary. If you’re feeling in an active mood, why not challenge yourself on the 7km-long Prince Henry Cliff Walk, which features several other great lookouts plus a concrete bridge spanning the chasm near Elysian Place that is not for the faint of heart.

There are more great sights to be found underground

Cave Beach Jervis Bay interior
Cave Beach Jervis Bay interior
Photograph: Destination NSW/Dee Kramer

Seven incredible caves to visit in New South Wales

Things to do

From cathedralesque caverns with towering stalactites to salty beachfront grottos and wind-scoured cliffs, Mother Nature sure has been busy gifting New South Wales with some of the most beautiful and breathtaking caves in the country.

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