Planning to spend 2 days in Sydney and looking to see as much as possible? There are so many things to see in the city and the surrounding area. This 2-day itinerary will help you make the most out of your stay in Sydney.
Australia is a vast country. The majority live on the narrow coastal strip on the east coast. Five million of the Country’s twenty-four million live in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales in Australia’s South East. It is a vibrant city that hosted the Millennium Olympic Games in 2000.
When New Year comes around, and television screens reveal the celebrations in the different time zones, the fireworks of Sydney Harbour are an annual highlight. They come long before the celebrations can start in Europe or the Americas.
Sydney gets its name from the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary, Lord Sydney when Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet arrived in 1788. It remained the capital of the British Colony of New South Wales until Parliament granted Australian independence in 1901 and it remains part of the Commonwealth. Sydney does not require the status of being the National Capital to stand out as the most impressive of several impressive cities in Australia.
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Table of Contents
Two Days in Sydney: Where to Stay?
Sydney Harbour YHA: Offering dorm-style accommodation and private rooms, this hostel is ideally located for everything with amazing views of Sydney Harbour from the rooftop entertainment area where you can sunbathe or enjoy a drink. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
QT Sydney: Conveniently located in CBD just 2 minutes from Hyde Park and with service that goes above and beyond, this funky hotel with its dark wood décor, open-concept bathroom, plus cocktail making kits is a hotel to remember! Relax at the day spa after seeing the sights! Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Rydges Sydney Harbour: Ideally located in the Rocks area with everything within walking distance, this hotel provides excellent value for money. The view of Sydney Opera House from the rooftop spa pool is stunning and there are an on-site bar and cafe should you want it. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How to spend two days in Sydney, A Perfect Itinerary
The Sydney Pass
A good way to save time and money is to buy the Go City Sydney Pass. With the pass, you can save up to 50% on the top Sydney attractions.
The Sydney Pass is all-inclusive and provides access to popular attractions, like:
- Two-hour whale-watching cruise
- Sydney Opera House Tour
- Urban Winery Sydney: Wine Tasting with Cheese and Charcuterie
- 48-hour Harbour Hopper pass and many more
2 Days in Sydney: Day One
The Public Ferry
Sydney Harbour has some outstanding residential properties and much more. You can jump aboard and spend two or three hours travelling around the harbour, passing under the Harbour Bridge and by the Opera House. There is information provided along the way and some history of particular buildings.
One of the stories you will hear is one about a man living on the waters’ edge who used to dive in for a swim first thing every morning. One day there was a bull shark close by, and he met a sad end. Shark attacks are extremely rare even in the open seas you must remember.
The Harbour is the focal point of the City and to begin by taking the ferry; you will get a great overall view of the city.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Talking of overall views of the city, you can walk over the Harbour Bridge to be able to look down on the City. You need to wear comfortable clothing and footwear. The walk is around 2.5 kilometres and will take anything up to an hour. It has a safety mesh in place, but there is a gap at a convenient height to take photographs.
At the top of the Bridge, you are 134 meters above the City. The famous Sydney Harbour Bridge dates back to 1932 and was made by the British Company, Dorman, Long and Co., from Middlesbrough in the North East of England.
Sydney Opera House
If there is a performance in the Opera House that appeals to you while you are in Sydney, you may like to attend. However, there is a range of tours of the Opera House available as well. They include a backstage tour as well as a chance to dine there. If you don’t want to dine, then there is a food experience by the Harbour that is certainly different.
If you see a caravan with a queue, by the waters, people are queuing to buy pies from Harry’s Café de Wheels. Harry Edwards started selling pies in 1945, and there are a dozen outlets now, but Darling Harbour is the one for you. You can buy a beef pie which comes with mushy peas and mash just one of several variations sold these days including beef curry pies.
A nice way to end your first night in Sydney is a Harbour Dinner Cruise with a 3 or 6-Course Menu. Click here for more information and to book your dinner cruise.
2 Days in Sydney: Day Two
No visit to Sydney is complete without spending at least some time on the beach. You can get to Manly Beach on the public ferry. The trip is fun in itself, and once you arrive, perhaps you start with a coffee and watch the world go by?
There are a series of lovely beaches out here; Freshwater, Curl Curl, Shelly, and Manly. With your time limited you cannot spend more than half a day out here. There are other places to visit, and you have not even included the world-famous Bondi Beach. Sorry, but on a tight schedule, you will have little time to spend on the beaches, or to go for a swim.
Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Sydney was built with convict labour and these barracks were home to convicts who built them themselves. Later, it was home to orphaned girls who had come to Australia to avoid the Irish famine in the middle of the 19th Century. It had other roles subsequently including an immigration centre, but it was not a place that anyone would want to end up and call home. The building has undergone restoration and as a museum, tells the story of human misery over the years.
Another great idea is lunch or dinner at Sydney Tower’s famous rotating restaurant. Click here for more information and to book the Unlimited Skyfeast at Sydney Tower with Window Table.
This district is one of the oldest in Sydney. There are old Georgian buildings in narrow cobbled streets. There has been regeneration in what was once a disreputable neighbourhood. Historic pubs, a street market if you are there at the weekend, Sydney Observatory and the Museum of Contemporary Art are just some of the Rocks’ highlights.
Want to see Sydney from above? Then you should consider this 20-Minute Coast & Skyline Helicopter flight from Sydney harbour.
Two Days in Sydney: Where to Eat?
If you are looking at the top restaurants in Sydney, you will have to book in advance to get a table. You should get in touch long before your visit to avoid disappointment. Here are a few ideas if you want something really special.
- Doyle’s at the Quay in the Rocks is a famous seafood restaurant over two floors. You can expect the freshest of seafood with seafood bisque and jumbo prawns among the highlights.
- Bennelong is a restaurant with the quality to match its surroundings. As well as the a la carte menu, there are pre-show and post-show alternatives but booking is essential.
How to get from and to the airport in Sydney
Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport is 9 kilometres south of the city centre close to Botany Bay.
Airport Shuttle Bus: You can get a shuttle direct to your hotel, either buying from an information desk at the terminal for around $18 or booking in advance for $12.
Local buses are available, but luggage space is limited.
Taxis: Taxis into the City are likely to cost around $40.Demand is high as the weekend starts so you may have to queue if you are landing on Friday evening.
Train: There are frequent trains from the terminals into the City. If you are travelling out to the airport at rush hour, you will struggle to find a seat because of commuter traffic. At the peak, trains run every 7 minutes, and off-peak every 10.
Even if you spend just 2 days in Sydney this itinerary will take you around the city’s highlights and help you make the most of your time there.