What to see in Sydney in Two Days
When everyone thinks of Australia, more often than not they think of Sydney. It’s gorgeous white beaches, famous sites like the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach – it’s no wonder it’s the tourist capital of the country, and often mistaken for the capital city of the whole of Australia (which is actually Canberra). With so much to see in Sydney, it’s important to get some idea ahead of time as to what you want to see there. If you’re heading to Sydney for the weekend or two days, here’s your 2 day itinerary in Sydney to make sure you see the very best that this city has to offer.
Day 1: Central Sydney
To start your first day in Sydney, head for some breakfast. Australia is known for its love of coffee and Sydney is a hub of coffee houses and brunch cafes that you should really take advantage of during your trip.
If you really want a taste of Sydney life, head to Central Baking Depot, a small, hole-in-the-wall artisan bakery that not only serves fantastic coffee but also has a range of delicious, skilfully made pastries. Grab your breakfast from here and a coffee, and head down to the Royal Botanical Garden to start your day of site seeing.
The Royal Botanical Garden is Sydney’s own beautiful little patch of paradise. The garden was opened in 1816 and remains one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world. The first farm by European settlers was built here in 1788 under the leadership of Governor Phillip. Eventually the land became designated as part of the Governor’s Domain and is now a public garden open all year round. It houses thousands of weird and wonderful plants from around the world. Free to enter, it is a must-see when visiting Sydney.
Head to the Botanical Garden after picking up your breakfast from Central Baking Depot, pick a good spot and have you breakfast surrounded by the beauty of all the exotic plants there. Spend the morning exploring the garden – head down to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for fantastic views of the harbour. If you fancy it, you can go on one of the free walking tours to learn all about the history of the garden (click here to find out about when the tours are).
After you have explored the Botanical Garden to your heart’s content, head towards the Sydney Opera House to see one of Sydney’s most iconic sites. Opened in 1973, the Opera House took 14 years to build and is now one of the most well-known symbols of Sydney and Australia around the world. It’s compulsory to take a few photos here (everyone has to do it when visiting Sydney), so take your time to get that perfect shot.
From the Opera House, walk along Circular Quay and carrying on through to The Rocks. This is one of the oldest parts of the city of Sydney. Streets lined with eighteenth, nineteenth century buildings, The Rocks is one of the best places to get a glimpse into what Sydney used to look like.
It’s cobbled laneways are lined with quaint little cafes, boutiques and Australia’s oldest pubs as well as buildings from the first few years of the colony, like Cadman’s Cottage built in 1816. It was also a site of protest in the 1970s when local residents resisted against government plans to redevelop the area. Underneath all that, the land itself is the traditional land of the Gadigal people who used the harbour for food and to travel up the Parramatta River.
You can get a flavour of how much history this area has by visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Rocks Discovery Museum. You can also enjoy on The Rocks Walking Tours which will tell you all about the lives of the convicts and sailors who used to live in this area.
To end your afternoon, from the Rocks head up to Sydney Harbour Bridge for an amazing view of Sydney harbour and the city. You can either opt to simply walk along the bridge itself, by climbing up the bridge stairs located here. Or you can go up to the Pylon Lookout for panoramic views of the harbour. Or for those who are really adventurous, you can choose to do a day, twilight or night Bridge Climb, which takes you right to the top of Harbour Bridge (for the bridge climb, give 3.5 hours to complete).
All three options offer fantastic views of the city, with the Bridge Climb being the most spectacular because of how high you are above the harbour. Either way, you will finish the afternoon with some fantastic pictures of Sydney harbour. To finish off you day, try out Sydney’s food scene by going to one of its best restaurants. For the finest cantonese cuisine in the city, head to Mr Wong, located close to Circular Quay. Saké Restaurant nearby is the place to go in The Rocks for premium Japanese seafood. Yellow for delicious veggie dishes, while Bennelong in the Opera House is a place to be seen.
Day 2: Bondi and Darling Harbour
Start your second day early by heading to Bondi Beach. Bondi has its own fair share of places to catch breakfast and top quality coffee to start your day. Why not try out Lox Stock And Barrel or Harry’s for a proper Bondi breakfast.
Spend the morning catching some waves and enjoying that famous Australian sun on one of the country’s most well-known beaches. If sunbathing isn’t your thing, stretch your legs by walking along the Bondi to Bronte or Bondi to Coogee Costal Walks.
If the early afternoon, head back into the city to Darling Harbour, where you can have late lunch and enjoy a drink by the water. For the rest of the afternoon, head to Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium and Wild Life Zoo right in the centre of the city to see some Australian wildlife. You can buy an attraction pass for both the Sea Life Aquarium, Wild Life Zoo and Sydney Tower Eye which I’d recommend buying. If you are heading to Taronga Zoo at any point during your trip then do not go to the Wildlife Zoo as Taronga is much better.
To finish off your afternoon, head into the city to Sydney Tower Eye an hour before sunset. The Sydney Tower Eye is a 360 degrees viewing platform of Sydney, 250m above street level. At Sydney’s highest point, the observation desk offers panoramic views of the city. By heading up in plenty of time before sunset, you will get to see the city in the day time, at sunset and at night. This does mean having to spend a bit of time up there, so grabbing a snack before hand might be a good idea.
Once you’ve taken in the amazing views of Sydney from above, go back down to street level and head to dinner to finish your last day in the city.
Wanting to see what else you can do in Sydney? Head over to our Travel section to find more Sydney travel inspiration.