Sydney is a city full of action. It’s the sort of place, like many big cities, where it can seem like an overwhelming task trying to figure out what to pack into a short visit. However, 48 hours in Sydney will provide you just enough time to see all the best spots, taste as much good food as you can, sample all of the libations, and leave knowing you’ve seen some of this amazing city.
It’s the sort of city where funky new bars and restaurants are cropping up every weekend – it can be hard to keep up. If you’ve only got two days it’s vital you pack in Sydney’s best: it’s beaches, it’s beers and it’s freshly brewed beans (coffee that is). Here’s how to do that with just 48 Hours in Sydney!
9am Head for breakfast at Four Ate Five in Surry Hills. Crown Street is the best place to sample a little bit of Sydney’ cafe culture. Sip on some of the city’s best coffee and an insanely good brunch menu (you might even be tempted to come back for lunch).
10:30. After you’re full and caffeinated head down to Circular Quay to watch the famous green and yellow ferries zip around the harbour. Get up close to the Opera House and wander into the Botanical Gardens to get a full view of the harbours iconic landmarks. It’s a great place to enjoy a sunny day.
11:30. Take yourself around to the other side of Circular Quay to explore the Rocks, Sydney’s oldest neighborhood. If you head there on a weekend you’ll be able to enjoy the Rocks Market where local artists peddle their pieces on the main street. There’s plenty of souvenir shopping to be had as well as quaint corners to explore.
1:00. Stop into the Australian Hotel for some pizza and beer. They specialize in gourmet style pizzas with crazy toppings like kangaroo and crocodile. The menu changes frequently and they have a whole slew of Australian craft beers on tap, including their own brew, Scharers. There are loads of seats outside to enjoy your meal in the Sydney sun.
2:00 Once you’ve had lunch it’s time to get yourself onto a ferry. Head back to Circular Quay and take the 30 minute ride to Manly Wharf. It serves as one of the cheapest harbour cruises you can take as well as dropping you off in one of the most beautiful beach towns in the city. Spend the afternoon strolling the promenade getting tacky souvenirs like Australian flag towels and flip flops. Enjoy the beach, take a surf lesson, or walk over to the smaller Shelley Beach for a bit more seclusion.
6:00 After all your fun in the sun, head back towards the wharf for dinner and drinks at the local brewery, 4 Pines. Their burgers are some of the best in town and so are their ales. Choose from six beers of every variety with a seasonal ale brewed on site.
8:00 Get yourself back to the city on the ferry just in time to catch the sun setting behind the Harbour Bridge.
8:30. Head for evening drinks and moonlight views of the harbour at the Glenmore. This small pub tucked away in the rocks has a killer rooftop view of the Opera House lit up at night. If it starts to get too chilly, no need to go inside, seek warmth from one of the heat lamps hovering over almost every table.
8am Day Two of your 48 Hours in Sydney has begun, so get yourself in line early for a taste of Sydney’s best bakery – Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills. The coffee, the pastries, the breads; once you finish you’ll want to get back in line for more.
9am. From the bakery walk yourself over to the main street in Surry Hills, Crown Street. It’s full of funky cafes, specialty grocery stores, expensive and eclectic boutiques and an abundance of book stores to wander through. Once you reach the end you’ll be in Darlinghurst and en-route to the Eastern Suburbs.
11:00 Catch the bus to Bondi. It might not be the most beautiful beach in the city, but it is certainly the most famous, and definitely worth a visit on any trip to Sydney. On weekends be sure to check out the Bondi Market where you’re very likely to spend far more than you ever anticipated on clothes you probably won’t find anywhere else. Stroll the beach to check out the surf club and watch surfers out in the water as they ready themselves for the next big swell.
12:00. If you’re feeling hungry get yourself over to Hurricanes for a rack of ribs. Whether you prefer lamb, pork, beef or a little bit of each, you’ll find it here.
1:00 To walk off your lunch, head to the right of the beach towards the rock pool and keep walking. You’ll find yourself on the Bondi to Coogee walkway, a beautiful coastal walk where between Bondi and Coogee you’ll take in Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly beaches. It’s an easy 6km walk with a few stairs to test you in between the mostly flat path. It’s one of the best ways to take in the beauty of the eastern suburbs. Stop whenever you feel like it – Bronte is a great place to grab a coffee, there are several cafes to choose from all offering up a good brew and a freshly baked sweet treat for an energy boost.
5:00 As evening starts to set in head to Watson’s Bay. Take in views of The Gap, a cliffside viewing point where you can listen to the ocean angrily crash against the rocky ledges below. For dinner head to Doyle’s for Fish and Chips and take it to go. You’ll want to eat it down the road at Camp Cove. Follow the signs until you reach the perfect little beach spot and pier.
Watch families play in the sand and sailboats blow past as they make their way back to the safety of their little coves around the harbour. As the sun starts to set walk along the beachside path to the South Head lighthouse and find a grassy spot to watch the sky turn orange over the city skyline in the distance.
9:00 It’s your last night in Sydney, so you need to hit the tiles. Head back to the city for poolside cocktails at The Ivy and dance the night away to The DJ saxaphone duo at the Argyle. Soak it all up with an end of night pie from Harry’s Cafe De Wheels.
There you have it!
If you’ve only got 48 Hours in Sydney, you can sure pack a lot of adventure in!
Bio: Laura Bronner is an American girl addicted to life abroad. After graduating from college she set off on what was meant to be a year of travel. That was four years ago. Since then she has lived in New Zealand, Australia and now calls South Korea home. You can follow along with her on her blog An American Abroad, or catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.