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  • Writer's pictureHannah Shuman

How to Spend a Perfect 48 Hours in Sydney: Your Epic Bucket List

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

48 Hours in Sydney:

Where to go, where to stay and what to do in Sydney, Australia in 48 hours. Whether you’re just planning a weekend getaway or adding Sydney to your Australian itinerary, this city is an absolute must-see!

How to spend 48 hours in Sydney, Australia

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While a full-on travel guide for Sydney is still brewing, I do feel confident that I could easily guide you through a cruisey 48-hour stay in this gorgeous city! Most international flights arrive in Sydney so you will very likely have to make a pitstop here anyway. With so much to see and do, Sydney is the perfect jumping point for any Australian itinerary!


 

Day 1:


9:00 AM


With most international flights arriving first thing in the morning in Sydney, you will have the whole day to explore! Grab the train from the airport into the city center. Be sure to pick up an Opal card before you leave the train station as you can load money on them for all of the public transportation in the city! Don’t sweat this too much if you are familiar with using your phone’s wallet to pay for things! You can also swipe with your card on your phone!

Sydney Rail Network Map

If you are only spending 48 hours in Sydney, then you absolutely MUST splurge on a room with a view of Sydney Harbor. My picks?


Shangri-La Sydney

Shangri-La Sydney enjoys the most coveted position on Sydney Harbour. The unparalleled views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House enhance the glamour of this destination hotel. Nestled in the historic Rocks District, the contemporary hotel features elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, reflecting the vibrant hues of the harbour beyond. Horizon Club on level 30 is Australia’s most sophisticated guest lounge. The finely-decorated space boasts soaring, 13 metre-high windows spanning four floors, and offers 270 degree views. Altitude restaurant takes dining to new heights. Nowhere else in Sydney will you find an award-winning culinary experience with such extraordinary, all-encompassing views of Sydney Harbour’s glittering jewels. Blu Bar on 36 serves creative cocktails by talented bartenders presiding over a sleek space brimming with Sydneysiders and visitors alike, as the city glistens below.



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Park Hyatt Sydney

Seated majestically on one of the world’s most beautiful harbors, Park Hyatt Sydney perfectly personifies contemporary harbourside luxury with its coveted location between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Reminiscent of an exclusive harbourside residence, Park Hyatt Sydney offers intimate surrounds with architecture, art and design that reflect the Australian landscape. Highlights include 155 spacious guestrooms and suites with contemporary interiors and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to private balconies; 24-hour butler service; and a day spa with rooftop pool and sundeck.



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Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection

Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection is ideally located on the magnificent Sydney waterfront close to the Southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. Boutique in size, this hotel features 189 unique federation style rooms with contemporary chic furnishings. Located in the heart of the Rocks, this hotel offers the perfect accommodation for exploring Sydney. The Gantry Restaurant & Bar offers its guests the ultimate open air dining experience with full panoramic views of Walsh Bay.



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Check with your hotel to see if you can drop your bags off when you first arrive. This will save you the headache of lugging your suitcase all around town and will put you right in the middle of the action for your first day.


 

10:00 AM


While in Circular Quay, make sure to walk around to the famous Sydney Opera House to check it out up close. This also gives you an amazing backdrop of the Harbour Bridge to capture some memories! If it’s still morning, stop at one of the many adorable cafes in The Rocks and bop in and out of the unique shops to find the perfect souvenir. Or mosey through the Royal Botanical Gardens for more show-stopping views of the harbour.


 

12:00 PM


At lunchtime, hop on the ferry to Manly. This ride takes about 20 minutes and gives you a unique perspective of the sights from the water! Manly Beach is a true Aussie beach with surfers abound and plenty of cute fish and chip shops to get a bite. Or hit the Wharf side and grab a drink at the many restaurants with ocean views!


1 PM


Spend the afternoon at the beach and live the true Australian lifestyle! Rent a surfboard to ride some waves, take a dip in the Fairy Bower Rock Pool, or walk around to Shelly Beach and go snorkeling! Manly Beach is one of my favorite parts of Sydney! There are so many cute shops, restaurants, and bars to check out!

Manly Beach, Australia
 

5 -7 PM (Depending on time of year)


Catch the ferry back to Circular Quay just in time to catch a killer sunset on the harbour. Alternatively, get back to your hotel and book a special sunset drink or dinner to take in the city as the sun goes down! This is one of the things I recommend THE MOST while in Sydney! The sunsets here are unbelievable so wherever you decide to go, just make sure you catch one!

 

9 PM


After dinner, the fun has just begun. Make your way towards Oxford St. and take in a Drag Show or head to Paddington for a schooner at the pub. Just be aware I have never, not ever, seen Fosters in an Australian pub and you’d probably get some strange looks for asking... Aussie beers reign supreme here. Try the classics like a Victoria Bitters, Hahn’s Super Dry, or Carlton Draft. If you prefer cocktails, you can find espresso martinis on tap at almost every bar or try the margarita. Sydneysiders love their tequila!



12 AM


On the stroll back to your hotel, enjoy the sights of the bridge at night. Sydney is quite a spectacle at night! Collapse in bed and sleep your exhaustion away!

Sydney at night

 

Day 2



6 AM


Up bright and early to enjoy your last day of Sydney! Catch a ride out to Bondi Beach to take in an epic sunrise. Bondi Beach is another iconic Sydney sight with people catching rays and waves from all over the world! Grab a latte and enjoy the sun rising over the waves. Make sure to walk over to the Bondi Icebergs Club and take a dip in the famous white rock pools. There is a small fee to enter the pool but definitely worth it!

Bondi Beach from Above

7 AM


Gear up for the 3.7 mile walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee for breathtaking views of Sydney’s coastline! Make stops along the way with a surf at Tamarama Beach, a dip in Bronte Beach’s rock pool, or a snorkel at Clovelly Beach!

12 PM


You could easily spend all day exploring the Eastern suburbs but there is more to see! Grab some lunch, make your way back to your hotel to freshen up, and get ready for your last afternoon in Sydney!

 

1 PM


For your final few hours, there are many choices to choose from depending on your activity level and interests:



· If getting up close and personal with all the cutest Aussie animals is on your bucket list, this is for you! Catch a ferry over to Mosman and visit the Taronga Zoo. This zoo is one of the best in the world and has some of the most amazing views of the Sydney skyline! Here you’ll find all kinds of native animals like koalas, kangaroos, platypuses, and wombats! Just keep in mind this will require a higher energy level as there are many steep hills throughout the zoo!


· If you want to take in art and culture (and maybe spend the afternoon in the A/C, AKA aircon in Australia) visit some of the many amazing art galleries and museums around town. Start at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay or head over to Darling Harbor and check out the Australian Maritime Museum!


· If you want a bucket list experience, then you must try the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb! This thrilling affair is not for those scared of heights because you will literally ascend to the very top of the over 400 ft. high bridge. Take in incredible views of the city and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience!


· Your final choice is for our active travelers who still haven’t got enough of the gorgeous coastal views! Head to Vaucluse and complete one of the many coastal walks. Diamond Head Reserve gives you unbelievable cliffside thrills or try the Hermit Foreshore Walk starting in Rose Bay for amazing views of the Sydney skyline. End your day at Watson Bay with a drink or ice cream at the wharf.

 

6 PM


Spend your evening in Chinatown and enjoy one of the many fun dining options available! Yum Cha is a popular choice where waiters bring around carts of yummy dumplings and dishes you can pick up and start enjoying right away! Hot Pots are also found throughout the city and also brings a fun and interactive dinner. You will be served a pot with your choice of boiling broth and an assortment of meats and veggies which you cook yourself! Asian culture is a huge part of Sydney and you can find all different kinds of Asian cuisine throughout the city.



 

9 PM


End your final day in Sydney with a stroll through Darling Harbour if you haven’t made it there yet and take in the final sights of the city. Try your hand at the new Crown Casino and maybe you’ll get lucky!

Darling Harbour at Night
 

If you would rather a beach-side abode during your stay in Sydney, check out these alternative accommodation recommendations:




 

Sydney is such a diverse and beautiful city. There are so many fun things to see and do here, you could easily spend two weeks exploring! (Or you could be like me and spend two YEARS! And I still feel like I haven’t seen it all!) But for many we don’t have the luxury of never-ending vacation so when you plan your Australian itinerary, you will now have an excellent guide to help you plan an amazing 48 hours here!



48 Hour Sydney Bucketlist






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How to spend 48 hours in Sydney, Australia
How to spend 48 hours in Sydney, Australia
How to spend 48 hours in Sydney, Australia


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