What to see in Sydney in two days

What to see in Sydney in two days

Sydney in 2 days – What to see, where to go and places not to miss on your first time in Sydney

Sydney is undoubtedly the Australian city with the most scenic impact: the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge are among the most characteristic symbols of the entire nation.

Due to its urban and geographical conformation, Sydney is polycentric : this often leads visitors to neglect the most beautiful areas of the city, but less central or more complicated to reach.

Generally, Europeans, after visiting the centre, or Central Business District, often comment: “but is that all there is?”, expecting all the wonders of the city concentrated like in Prague or Venice. Absolutely not!

The best is yet to be discovered, but to do so you have to move a little.

The following itinerary aims to suggest an alternative way to see Sydney in two days , avoiding overly touristy areas and aiming to get to know the life of Sydneysiders.

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Read also: Top Beaches in Sydney, Australia


Hop on – Hop Off Bus + Pass to Sydney’s main attractions 

For those who have limited time and want to speed up their journeys and be sure not to miss the most important places in Sydney, the Hop On – Hop Off bus ticket could be a pleasant solution.
You can choose between three options 1 day, 2 days or 2 days + cruise + Sydney tower (€32, €41.7 and €64.9 per person respectively).

Sydney also offers an exceptional pass, the Sydney Explorer Pass , which includes from 3 to 7 attractions, depending on which one you choose, guaranteeing a significant saving on the final cost.
The pass includes tons of attractions, including the HopOn HopOff Bus and the Sydney Opera House.
So if you plan to visit multiple paid places I highly recommend purchasing this pass which guarantees savings of up to 45%. Buy the pass and save on the final cost 

However, if you want to see more than 7 attractions, then the  Sydney Unlimited Attraction Pass , which includes entry to 20 attractions, costing €166.90 per adult, valid for 3 days (they also sell 7-day tickets at extra costs), is what’s right for you.

This pass includes the HopOn – HopOff bus, but also numerous entrances to the city’s main attractions, including entry to the Opera House , Taronga Zoo , sightseeing cruise, Madame Tussauds Museum , Sydney Tower and many more.

A ticket that saves those who want to visit all these places without haste!
For more information and to buy the pass online click here .

Where to sleep in Sydney

My advice would be to stay overnight on Bondi Beach or Manly to be able to enjoy the ocean without being far from the city centre.
I have selected some ideal solutions with excellent quality/price ratio:

Hotel Bondi – Ocean view rooms on the splendid Bondi Beach, for those who want to experience the nature of the city

Bondi Beach House Just 3 minutes from the beach the B&B offers rooms with shared or private bathrooms. Pleasant and well finished with an outdoor patio for breakfast

Ovolo 1888 – Small hotel with contemporary design. Certainly one of the most unique hotels in the city not far from the Opera House

For an updated list of hotels and B&Bs and to find the best prices, search on Hotels Sydney

For an updated list of hostels offering private and dorm rooms , starting from US$20, search HostelWorld

What to see in Sydney – Day 1

Your first day in Sydeny begins at Circular Quay, with a stroll through the old town center of The Rocks , the heart of the first English colonial settlement in the city.

The streets of The Rocks are lined with cafes, restaurants and some of Sydney’s best-loved historic pubs, such as Hero of Waterloo and The Australian Hotel .

The Rocks Discovery Museum hosts an excellent exhibition on the history of the ancient settlement of Sydney Town , while for contemporary art enthusiasts the Museum of Contemporary Art (free entry) is absolutely not to be missed, which, in addition to permanent exhibitions and temporary exhibitions by international artists, it also houses a small but interesting selection of Aboriginal art.

The café on the museum’s top floor offers wonderful views of the Harbor Bridge , the Opera House , the residential neighborhood of Kirribilli and the comings and goings of ferries and cruise ships in Sydney Harbour.

In the late morning, around 11, we continue towards the Sydney Opera House , the symbolic monument of the city. 

It is possible to take guided tours inside the structure and backstage, but the best way to appreciate this fantastic building is to attend one of the scheduled concerts and shows

Continuing on foot you reach the Royal Botanical Gardens , a natural oasis in the city center and a favorite destination for runners of all ages. Continuing past Mrs Macquarie’s Chair , you arrive at The Domain , another wonderful park that divides the Botanical Gardens from the busier Hyde Park.

The Domain is home to the Art Gallery of New South Wales , which houses an interesting collection of Aboriginal art.

Manly – Sydney’s most loved beach

Around 1pm  from Circular Quay you take the ferry bound for Manly for a spectacular crossing of Sydney Bay of around 30 minutes, which offers spectacular views of the inner city neighborhoods and beaches overlooking the harbour: Woolloomooloo , Elizabeth Bay , Rose Bay , Vaucluse and Watsons Bay in the south and Kirribilli, Neutral Bay , Bradleys Head and Balmoral Beach in the north.

Manly is a city suburb with one of the most loved and frequented beaches by surfers. The atmosphere here is diametrically opposite to that of the center of Sydney: in Manly you feel perpetually on holiday .   

Walk and snorkel at Manly and Shelly beach (2 hours) – Book your tour now

The long main beach, dotted with the characteristic pines of Norfolk Island , is the ideal place to spend the afternoon: you can engage in more or less adventurous activities, such as surfing, kite-surfing, kayaking or stand-up paddle, while in the adjacent Cabbage Tree Bay you can do good snorkeling or diving .

The scenic walk to North Head offers breathtaking views of the cliffs that border Sydney Harbor to the north.

From here, in the May season, it is possible to spot the passage of whales.

Shelley Beach

Towards the late afternoon it is worth moving towards Shelley Beach , a small, very green, quiet and sheltered beach facing west to enjoy the sunset, to then return to the Corso or the seafront, where you can spend the evening in one of the many pubs and bars, like Hemingway

For lovers of adrenaline-filled tours, and those who don’t suffer from vertigo, climbing the Harbor Bridge can be a fun way to end the evening!

Climbing has different costs depending on the time of day you choose. Daytime climbing goes up to the halfway point and lasts 1 hour and a half, costs €104. Night climbing
, on the other hand, includes the entire route, approximately 3 and a half hours and costs €165.

I recommend booking well in advance because it is a very popular activity. You can book climbing on Civitatis which, among my searches, is the site that offers the activity at the best price:


What to see in Sydney – Day 2

The second day is completely dedicated to the discovery of Australian beach culture . And where to do it if not on the legendary Bondi Beach , a long golden beach of about 2km adored by surfers, reachable from Circular Quay in about 30 minutes by bus.

Bondi Beach, and in particular North Bondi, has an exceptional variety of bars and restaurants.

Sydneysiders love to have breakfast, brunch or simply enjoy an espresso, cappuccino or flat white (must try!) at a trendy spot with ocean views, like the famous Bondi Icebergs Club .

Bondi Beach

Bondi, like Manly, also offers a variety of activities to do in and out of the water: from beach volleyball, to skateboarding, to surfing, under the watchful eye of the very muscular Bondi’s Surf Lifesavers.

The Eastern Beaches Coastal Walkway starts from Bondi Beach , an unmissable walk along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean which crosses the most beautiful beaches:

  • Tamarama Beach , small but frequented by the trendiest swimmers, so much so that it has earned the nickname “Glamarama”;
  • Bronte Beach , quieter and more familiar, with a fantastic rock pool, the swimming pool in the ocean;
  • Clovelly Bay , where you can do some great snorkeling; the enchanting and rocky Gordon Bay ;
  • Coogee , with a more relaxed atmosphere.

At least half a day should be dedicated to this walking itinerary , to explore each of the beaches and fully enjoy their beauty and uniqueness.

Yoga lovers will be happy to know that they can take classes in incredible locations and by the sea with Yoga by the Sea

In the evening you can opt to stay in Bondi or return to the center and explore the city’s most fashionable neighborhoods such as Darlinghurst and Surry Hills , or the more alternative Glebe and New Town .

Bondi Beach

Alternative itineraries and activities or for those who have more days

If you plan to stay in Sydney for a few more days, don’t miss the following itineraries and alternative activities to experience the city to the fullest

The Northern Beaches

The most beautiful and least frequented beaches are located on the coast north of Sydney .
A series of buses connect the city center (Wynyard Station) with Freshwater Beach (quiet and frequented mainly by locals), Dee Why and Collaroy Beach (perfect for surfing).
As you proceed north the beaches become more and more picturesque and fascinating: Newport, Bilgola Beach, Avalon Beach and Whale Beach , reachable by bus L90 and immersed in lush nature, will make you think of being hundreds of kilometers away from a large metropolis like Sydney.

Palm Beach: paradise one hour from the city center

The L90 bus that passes through the Northern Beaches reaches its final destination in about an hour from the city center: Palm Beach . The Palm Beach peninsula separates the Pacific Ocean from the calm waters of Pittwater : the beach on the ocean coast is wonderful and, especially during the week, not very busy, while the inland waters are perfect for kayaking . The headland with Barrenjoy Lighthouse , reachable on foot from the beach, overlooks the mouth of the Hawkesbury River and Pittwater and offers panoramic views of the Ku-Ring-Gai National Park .

Taronga Zoo: kangaroos, crocodiles and music

Taronga Zoo is not your usual zoo: not only for the great variety of Australian fauna, but also for the spectacular location on Mosman Hill , with breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour. In summer, don’t miss one of the evening concerts at Twilight at Taronga http://twilightattaronga.org.au/ , an event that takes place between January and March in the fantastic setting of the open-air amphitheater overlooking the Opera House and Harbor Bridge.
Entrance is included in the iVenture Pass 

Skydiving a Wollongong

A jump from 14,000 feet directly onto the beach in Wollongong, a coastal town about an hour south of Sydney: an undoubtedly adrenaline-filled and memorable experience.

Skydive Sydney-Wollongong offers full-day packages, including return Sydney-Wollongong transport, at competitive prices.

The Blue Mountains

About an hour’s drive or train ride from Sydney lies the huge Blue Mountains National Park . For trekking lovers, it is worth dedicating at least two or three days to discover this truly splendid region, which takes its name from the color of the characteristic, light mist emitted by the immense eucalyptus forests. Various trekking-bushwalking routes start from the main towns of Katoomba and Blackheath between plateaus and waterfalls, more or less long and demanding, ranging from a few hours to a couple of days of walking.

The most popular are the Three Sisters , Wentworth Falls and Gordon Falls routes .

For an alternative experience, we recommend one of the guided excursions with an Aboriginal guide, to delve deeper into the thousand-year-old and mysterious culture of the local original populations and their traditions.  Book the Blue Mountain tour 


More experienced surfers will be able to choose from a vast series of beaches, north and south of Sydney, as well as the classic Manly and Bondi , where they can ride the most beautiful waves.
For those who are still beginners and want to dedicate some time to learning or perfecting the technique, we recommend contacting Ryan Hayfield and his staff at Manly Surf Guide : a truly excellent and professional surf school, which offers surf packages one or two days of lessons on the Northern Beaches or, for the more experienced, one-day itineraries to discover the best and lesser-known breaks. 
Book your lesson or lesson package directly online at the website:  Manly Surf Guide

How to get around Sydney

The easiest way to visit Sydney is via the extensive public transport network. I recommend purchasing an Opal Card at one of the many city kiosks , a rechargeable card, with advantageous rates, and valid on all public transport (buses, ferries, urban and extra-urban trains up to the Blue Mountains and Newcastle): https://www .opal.com.au/

Those who have little time or want to make the most of their day can consider purchasing the Hop On – Hop Off bus ticket which visits the main tourist sites of the city and allows you to manage the day in your own way.


Best season to travel to Sydney

The best months to visit Sydney are from September to November and then from March to May .
These months flank Sydney’s high and low seasons, offering visitors temperate, pleasant temperatures and not yet high tourism. 
Due to Australia’s location in the Southern Hemisphere, Sydney’s warmest climate and peak tourist season falls between December and February (winter in the Northern Hemisphere).
As a result, the region’s low season begins in May and lasts until August.

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Read also: Where is it warm in January?

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