When you're visiting a city as sprawling and expansive as Sydney, the maze of streets and plethora of potential activities can be a little bit intimidating. From the Opera House to the Sydney Tower, there are so many places to see that it's hard to know where to start – and that's just in the city itself. For many tourists, the thought of actually leaving Sydney to experience some of the other sights that New South Wales has to offer is simply a bridge too far. 

These holidaymakers are missing out though, with some of the state's most beautiful natural attractions located a few short hours away from the CBD. There's no excuse for missing out on these jaw-dropping sights, and getting there is as easy as renting a car for a day and hitting the open road. So what are you waiting for? Hire a car in Sydney and head out on an adventure!

The Blue Mountains

More of a region unto itself than a mere mountain range, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is one of Australia's most popular and unique places to visit. Even better, it takes less than 2 hours to reach from the city, and you can hire a car at the airport. Despite what you might think, the mountains themselves are not actually blue, that name came about thanks to the distinctive azure haze that envelops the peaks and pillars of the area. This is caused by oils evaporating from the surrounding eucalyptus trees, which blends with dust and water particles to create a gorgeous visual effect. 

It's believed that the Blue Mountains were formed about a million years ago by the Kosciusko Uplift, and the resulting mish-mash of gorges and ridges gives the area an otherworldly, jagged terrain. The peaks and valleys are punctuated by spectacular waterfalls and immense sandstone monoliths, with the site's most popular feature being the famous Three Sisters. This rock formation is made up of three stunning columns that tower over the forests below, and has to be seen to be believed.

Royal National Park

Colloquially known as the 'Nasho', the world's second oldest national park can be found less than an hour south of Sydney. The Royal National Park boasts a wide variety of native wildlife and indigenous flora – with everything from wallabies to over 300 species of birds making their home here. The site covers some 16,000 hectares, and is crisscrossed with several bush walking trails. These hikes range from the easy and peaceful to the more challenging, offering an opportunity for visitors of all fitness levels. 

Perhaps the most well-known hike that traverses the park is the famous Coast Track. This route traverses 26 kilometres of steep and uneven ground. For those that are willing to take on the adventure though, the rewards include glimpses of whales from the cliff tops and a chance to see the incredible Wedding Cake Rock. This slab of pure white sandstone has had the iron slowly leached out of it over the years, producing the white, tiered surface that the attraction is now famous for. 

A photo posted by @livesoftravelbugs on

May 7, 2016 at 6:10pm PDT

These are just two of the many natural wonders that can be seen in the vicinity of the Sydney region. You won't find anything like them in the big smoke, so don't miss out on all of the incredible beauty that Australia has to offer by limiting yourself to the CBD. 

For more information about car rental in Australia, get in touch with the team at East Coast Car Rentals today.