Planning to visit Sydney soon? If you have 48 hours in Sydney or less, I have put together the perfect itinerary to make the most of your short visit. Read on for the best things to do if you only have 2 days in Sydney.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on these links, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) which helps pay for the running of this travel blog.
Getting There and Around
Flights into Sydney arrive at Sydney Airport which is conveniently located 8 km (5 miles) from the city center. The most economical way to get to Sydney from the airport is the Airport Link (Sydney’s Airport Train) with a travel time of approximately 15 minutes. If you have more time and enjoy long road trips, another option is to fly into Melbourne or Brisbane and do an Australian road trip to Sydney. To save money on flights to Australia, you can search for flights here.
Sydney is an easy city to get around. It is very walkable but for longer distances there are many public transportation options including trains, buses and ferries. Click here to see all the public transportation options and look up timetables.
Another great way to get around is an open top hop on hop off bus tour.
Sydney 2 Day Itinerary
This is a fairly packed 2 day Sydney itinerary so if you don’t have two full days to explore Sydney or enjoy exploring at a more relaxed pace check out my one day in Sydney itinerary.
Sydney Itinerary – Day 1
Royal Botanic Gardens
Wake up early morning to explore the beautiful and free Royal Botanic Gardens. In addition to enjoying the beautiful plants and flowers, the gardens have great views. Walk to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for some of the best distant views of the Harbour Bridge.
Sydney Opera House / Circular Quay / Harbour Bridge
From the Royal Botanic Gardens walk to the Sydney Opera House. While you can see the Sydney Opera House from outside there are also tours available if you want to explore the inside. Make sure to stop by the Opera Bar located at the base level of the Opera House for a meal or drink while enjoying the great views. My favorite time for a drink here is the evening so you might want to come back later at night.
Circular Quay is located between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and has fantastic views of both attractions. This is a great spot for people watching and there are also plenty of restaurants if you want to grab a bite to eat. Circular Quay is a major transportation hub with access to buses, trains, and ferries so it is always crowded with tourists and locals.
There are 3 options if you want to enjoy panoramic views from Harbour Bridge. If you have time and money and are feeling adventurous, you can climb to the top of the bridge but make sure to reserve in advance. A cheaper option ($15 for adults) is to climb 200 stairs to the Pylon Lookout. You can also walk across the pedestrian path of the bridge for free to enjoy views from the lower level.
Ferry to Manly
From Circular Quay you can hop on a short ferry (approximately 30 minutes) to Manly. The ferry ride has great views of the Sydney Harbour as well as the Opera House and Bridge from the water.
In Manly you can enjoy some beach time, take a surfing lesson, walk down the main strip or have lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants. If possible take the ferry back to Circular Quay before sunset to take beautiful photos of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
From Circular Quay, it is a short walk to The Rocks which is the city’s most historic neighborhood. There are many cafes, restaurants and bars here so this is a good neighborhood for dinner and drinks. The Glenmore Hotel is a good spot to dine if you want to enjoy excellent harbour views.
Sydney Itinerary – Day 2
Spend a few hours at Bondi Beach, the most famous beach in Australia. Even if the temperature too cold to swim, there are many shops, cafes and restaurants here so this is great spot to have a bite or drink while enjoying a view of the water.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is one of the most beautiful and scenic walks in Sydney and is popular with both locals and tourists. The walk is 6 km long and takes approximately 2 hours depending on how often and long you stop – there are beaches as well as places to sit and eat along the way.
Central Business District (CBD) and Darling Harbour
Head back to the Central Business District (CBD) and explore some of its major attractions including Town Hall Square, Hyde Park Barracks, St Mary’s Cathedral, Queen Victoria Building and Hyde Park.
Head to the beautiful Darling Harbour for dinner at one of its many restaurants. If you have a few hours before dinner, there are tons of things to do and see at Darling Harbour including the Sydney Aquarium and the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Where to Stay in Sydney
If you are spending the night in Sydney, I recommend basing yourself in the CBD or The Rocks so that you can be close to the major attractions and public transportation.
Here are some of my top picks for the best places to stay in Sydney:
Park Hyatt Sydney. If you are looking for a luxury hotel experience and are willing to splurge or have hotel points to use, you can’t go wrong with this 5 star hotel. It is centrally located in The Rocks area and some rooms have spectacular views of the Opera House. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, spa, free wi-fi and a rooftop pool. Click here to see the latest prices.
Vibe Hotel Sydney. This modern hotel is conveniently located in the center of CBD. Amenities include a rooftop pool, a sauna, 24-hour room service, meeting rooms, a coffee bar and a convention center. Click here to see the latest prices.
Sydney Harbour YHA. This hostel has both private and dormitory rooms and is conveniently located in the heart of the Rocks district with great rooftop views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour. Amenities include a 24/7 reception desk, TV lounge, free WiFi in the lounge area, fully equipped communal kitchen andguest laundry. Click here to see the latest prices.
Have you visited Sydney? If so what would you recommend first time visitors see and do if they only have two days in Sydney?