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With sun, sea, and a ton of fantastic attractions, Sydney is one of those places that everyone should visit once in a lifetime. A big and cosmopolitan city with a local feel, Sydney boasts picture-perfect views, natural beauty, great historical buildings, vibrant food and art scenes, and more beaches than the one you can visit in one single trip.

All considered, a 2 day Sydney itinerary is a lovely start to exploring this amazing Australian destination.

We visited Sydney as part of a larger trip to Australia and New Zealand. Seeing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and strolling around the famous Bondi Beach were absolute musts of our journey Down Under. Not one to waste any moments, we wanted to fit Sydney’s very best spots in the 2 days we stayed there – which was possible indeed!

Traveling on to New Zealand afterwards?


2 Day Itinerary For Sydney

opera house at sunset as one way of how to spend 2 days in sydney opera house at sunset as one way of how to spend 2 days in sydney

Sydney is among the most popular destinations in Australia. This is not surprising since the city has it all – pleasant weather, stunning landmarks, mouth watering cuisines, beautiful beaches, and a jaw-dropping skyline. 

Our 2 day Sydney itinerary includes all the major tourist attractions, starting from the Sydney Opera House and ending at Bondi Beach. It goes without saying that the choice of what to see and do is entirely up to you. However, with a limited amount of time, you should stick with visiting Sydney’s most famous spots. For instance, you will see that from our itinerary, we skipped the Blue Mountains or a trip to see kangaroos and koalas. But with only 48 hours in Sydney, there’s just no way to fit all that in without sacrificing something. 

Similar to our other travel itineraries, such as the 5 day Maui itinerary and 10 days in Patagonia, in the present guide, you will find a daily activities breakdown, “What you need to know” boxes with useful details, restaurant and accommodation recommendations, a Sydney map, and FAQ to help you plan your trip. 

So let’s jump into how to plan these perfect 2 days in Sydney, Australia.

A quick introduction to Sydney

On Australia’s south-east coast of the Tasman Sea, Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales. It is Australia’s largest and most populated city, a melting pot of culture for its cosmopolitan population.

The metropolis is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson, or Sydney Harbour as you know it. Sydney’s metropolitan area has over 2,500,000 acres of nature reserves and parks, and the coastal areas feature many rivers, inlets, bays, and beaches. Along Sydney’s coastline, you will find an astonishing number of seventy surf beaches, with Bondi Beach being the most famous.

Greater Sydney consists of 658 suburbs, and locals nickname it the “Emerald City” and the “Harbour City.” It frequently ranks in the top ten of the most liveable cities in the world despite being also one of the most expensive cities.

Three airports serve Sydney, with the Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) being the main – and the one international travelers fly into. Regarding getting around the city, Sydney has an extensive public transport system, accessed with the opal card, including but not limited to metro, trains, buses, and ferries.

Given its extension and surrounding area to explore, you will need to plan carefully to make the most of your two days in Sydney. Follow our itinerary to discover this unique Aussie destination and have a fabulous time there.

Day 1 – Sydney City & Manly

Sydney Opera House

distant view of sydney opera house on waterdistant view of sydney opera house on water

Taken for granted that you will land in Sydney in the afternoon or evening, you will have two full days to explore this amazing Australian city far and wide. 

Once you’re out of the airport, head directly to your accommodation and get a good night’s sleep to be ready for the next day.

Your 2 day Sydney itinerary can’t but start with a morning coffee and something to eat. We enjoyed the Brew Cafe, which had both savory and sweet options to satisfy all tastes. 

After ‘brekkie’ – as Australians like to call their breakfast – it’s time for a 20-minute walk through Circular Quay to reach the very symbol of the city, the Sydney Opera House. We have all seen photos of the Sydney Opera House from different angles, but seeing it with your own eyes is a whole different thing!

This UNESCO World Heritage site was designed by expressionist Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who created a building like no other. 

There are two main ways to experience the Sydney Opera House. The quickest is climbing the red-granite steps to get up close to the structure’s unique tiles and then walking all the way around to marvel at this striking piece of architecture and the Sydney Harbor.

For a deeper understanding of the Sydney Opera House and its history, grab tickets to do a tour of its inside. However, if you are like us and limited on time, take your time snapping photos and taking in the views before moving on with your day.


Address: Meet up at the Welcome Center located on the Lower Concourse level of the Sydney Opera House.

Hours: Multiple starting times depending on the date selected.

Price: Starting from $28.43.

Other Info:

  • The tour contains a section where you will need to climb 300 stairs therefore, it is not suitable for wheelchair users and strollers.


  • This tour is top-rated, so make sure to reserve your spot in advance.


Who is eligible:  All Australian passports are ePassport and other passports that are eligible include: Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America.  Look for the “small camera symbol at the bottom of the front cover”.

Who’s not eligible:  If you’re a family and travelling with children under 10, you’ll need to go through manual processing.

Step 1:  Find a self-serve kiosk once you get off the plane.  You’ll see them on the side of the walls.  If you see a big line, keep walking because there’s more as you get closer to the customs hall.  Scan your passport and if you’re eligible, it’ll print out a ticket.

smartgate kiosk at sydney airportsmartgate kiosk at sydney airport

Step 2:  Head to the SmartGate line once it’s your turn, put your ticket in the machine.  The first gate will open where the machine will take a photo of you.

Step 3:  You’ll get the green light and the second gate will open to let you out.

What if you’re not eligible:  The weird thing was that it should’ve worked for both of us but it only worked for my wife and not me.  All of this SmartGate stuff is moot if you don’t get that kiosk ticket because you just get into standard customs line with all the other international travellers.  This is the standard line you have at every other airport but of course the line will be much longer than SmartGate.

What about the Incoming Passenger Card?:  You’ll receive one of these on the plane and you still need to have this filled out regardless of SmartGate or not.

To declare or not to declare:  Australia is pretty serious about declaring quarantine items on the Incoming Passenger Card.  If there’s anything I learned on this trip, it’s to be honest here about any food you’re travelling.  Tell them what you have and they always appreciate the honesty.

Circular Quay

circular quay view of sydney opera housecircular quay view of sydney opera house

Walk the street back, and in less than 10 minutes, you will find yourself again at Circular Quay. It is a great lookout spot for the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, with a view of the harbour but it is mainly a transportation hub with access to buses, trains, and ferries. 

This 2 day Sydney itinerary continues with you hopping on one of the ferries departing from Circular Quay. But before setting sail, take a couple of moments more strolling around Circular Quay and perhaps pick up a flat white along the way and pause to watch one of many buskers that line the promenade.

From Circular Quay, take the fast ferry service, so you will arrive at Manly in only 20 minutes. These ferries are easily distinguishable with their blue, yellow, and white colors and modern design. Alternatively, you can take the traditional ferry, which takes around 30 minutes to cover the route. You can recognize them by the green and yellow colored boats.

The cruise over has great views of the Sydney Harbour, the Opera House, and the Bridge from the ocean. Once off the ferry, it’s time to get exploring Manly. You will stroll down the Corso, the big promenade lined with cafés, restaurants, and shops connecting the Manly Ferry Wharf and Manly Surf Beach.

This beach is the unmissable stop in Manly, with its stunning tree-lined promenade and long stretch of soft sand. It is among Sydney’s most popular surfing spots, where the first World Surfing Championship was held in 1964. 

Take your time admiring professional surfers, and then have some lunch before discovering some of the other beaches (such as Shelly Beach) Manly boasts.

For dinner, we had a lovely time eating at Fishmongers Manly for some delicious fish and chips.

sydney harbour bridge pylon lookout viewsydney harbour bridge pylon lookout view

As much as you might want to spend many more hours in Manly, we suggest you take the ferry back to Circular Quay before sunset to take gorgeous photos of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

If you feel inspired and want to snatch extra epic pics, consider getting to the Pylon Lookout. Get ready to climb around 200 steps, and once at the top, you will marvel at magnificent 360-degree views of the city – and everything is even more beautiful at golden hour! 

Tourists usually overlook the Pylon Lookout, but it is such a cheap option compared to the more famous Bridge Climb that you really shouldn’t miss the experience.


Hours:  10AM to 5PM (last entry at 4:45PM and open every day except Christmas Day).

Getting here: From The Rocks, there’s a path up towards the elevator which takes you up to the pedestrian pathway of the bridge.  Walk out towards the water and the pylon ahead.  You can’t miss it.


  • A$15 – Adult
  • A$10 – Senior & student
  • A$8.50 – 5-12 years old inclusive
  • Free – 4 years and under

Good to know:

  • There are no elevators to the top.
  • There are several levels of stairs that you need to climb that’s broken into two parts.  The first is to get to the level where tickets are sold.  From there, there’s a second set of stairs that take you all the way to the top.
  • The stairs are spacious and wide.

Read the reviews

The Rocks

the rocks market on the weekend in sydney australiathe rocks market on the weekend in sydney australia

A great way to close this first day in Sydney is by strolling around the city’s most historic neighborhood. The Rocks is located just a short walk north of Circular Quay. The area is packed with shops, art galleries, pubs, upscale restaurants with elevated harbor views, and a weekend open market. If you like shopping, tasting new foods (like Africa’s biltong), and mingling with locals, you will have a blast at The Rocks. 

For an over-the-top dinner experience, reserve a table at Ploos, where Chef Peter Conistis artfully mixes Greek cuisine with Aussie influences.


Where: Playfair Street, George Street, Jack Mundey Place in The Rocks.

Hours: 10AM – 5PM, Saturdays & Sundays.

Getting here:  Minutes walk away from Circular Quay station.

Read the reviews

Day 1 Summary 

Driving time: No driving time

What you’ll do:

  • Sydney Opera House
  • Circular Quay
  • Manly
  • Harbour Bridge & Pylon Lookout
  • The Rocks neighborhood

Where you’ll eat:

  • BreakfastBrew Cafe – This charming eatery is located in a heritage-listed building formerly used for Bushells Tea Company. Particularly popular among locals, the Brew Cafe is also open for lunch and dinner. 
  • LunchFishmongers – Seafood can’t be fresher than the one served at this restaurant. Make sure to order their light-as-tempura-battered hoki for an outstanding meal experience.
  • DinnerPloos – This restaurant is a culinary gem on the fringes of Sydney Harbour. Let Chef Peter Conistis delight your palate with a symphony of Greek and Australian flavors. 

Where you’ll stay:

  • West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton – This beautiful boutique hotel is part of the Hilton umbrella, which means that it has high-quality services and amenities. Luxurious rooms with all the comforts and an open-air garden with a lounge bar are only two of the reasons why you should stay here. The West Hotel Sydney is also centrally located and offers guests an on-site gym and a restaurant.

Day 2 – Bondi & more Sydney City

Bondi Beach

aerial view of a crowder bondi beachaerial view of a crowder bondi beach

Every Sydney 2-day itinerary must include a visit to the iconic Bondi Beach. There is nothing better than doing the wonderful Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk to take up fresh air, the sun, and beautiful views. 

But let’s grab some breakfast to start off this sporty morning. Depending on whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer a savory morning meal, you should head to the Emperor’s Cream Puffs or Mamak.

Emperor’s Cream Puffs

emperor's cream puffs in sydney chinatownemperor's cream puffs in sydney chinatown

In the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown, the Emperor’s Cream Puffs serves fluffy balls of dough filled with piping hot egg custard – our mouths water just at the thought! This place is pretty popular, and the queue is always long; don’t let it put you off. It moves quickly, and you will have those delicious puffs in no time. 

However, for those more prone to something savory, Mamak is the right choice. This restaurant serves authentic Indian Malay street food and is famous for its award-winning roti. 

If you are like us, you will have your first breakfast at Mamak and then have some takeout at Emperor’s Cream Puffs to snack on during the (long) road to Coogee.

Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk

coogee cliffs along coastal walkcoogee cliffs along coastal walk

Most guides about the Bondi Coastal Walk recommend walking from Bondi to Bronte or Tamarama Beach but having done this once already, we suggest starting the walk from Coogee. This way, you will arrive in Bondi, where you can enjoy the famous beach spot and delicious food after completing the trail.


Info: How to get from Syndey’s CBD to Coogee.

Getting from Sydney to Coogee isn’t straightforward since no train directly connects the two towns. Your two options are hailing a taxi (expensive) and catching the local bus (recommended).

Bus line:

 Travel Time:

  • 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.

TIP: You must remember to tap out when you get off the bus. It’s easy to forget, but you will be charged the maximum fare if you don’t.

The Coogee to Bondi coastal walk is one of the most scenic walks in Sydney. 3.5 miles- long, the path is well signed-posted, so it’s easy to find and follow. What we particularly love about the walk is that there is much to see along the way. You will walk through upscale seaside neighborhoods, urban parks, gorgeous public beaches, and rugged rock cliff outcrops with incredible panoramic views. 

The one-way walk from Coogee to Bondi should only take 2 hours if you walk briskly and do not stop often to snap photos and shoot videos. But if that is what you want to do, factor in the extra time!

Once you turn that last corner, you will finally find yourself at Bondi Beach. Crystal-blue waters, a large stretch of golden sand, and tons of surfers getting ready to hit the waves make Bondi Beach one of the most popular areas in Sydney.

Take your unwinding after the coastal walk with a delicious lunch at Speedos Café and enjoy the beach. If you are visiting Bondi Beach with the good seasons, there are plenty of activities to do here. Sunbathing, swimming, doing yoga – but what you really can’t miss from your Sydney travel itinerary is taking a surf lesson.


Address: Let’s Go Surfing, at 128 Ramsgate Avenue, Bondi Beach 2026, NSW.

Hours: Lessons are available at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m.

Price: Starting from $85.94.

Other Info:

  • The lesson will be 2 hours long.
  • The price includes: a soft surfboard, warm wetsuits, UV rash vests, sunscreen, and zinc.


  • This activity is pretty popular, so make sure to book it before it sells out.

Bondi Beach is fabulous, and we are sure you will want to stay around longer. But there are a few more places that you should check out before leaving Sydney.

Before returning to the city, stop by Bondi’s best-known landmark, the Bondi Icebergs. Opened in 1929 as a men’s only swimming club, it is today locals’ favorite spot to keep in shape over winter. Tourists and one-time-goers can access the club facilities without signing a membership.

If you are taking your Sydney trip in winter, it might be a great idea to head to Bondi Icebergs to enjoy the pools and sauna. Take bus #333 from Bondi Beach (Campbell Pde, Stand A), and in half an hour, you will get back to Sydney (Circular Quay, Young St, Stand D).

It’s getting late, so you have two options to end your vacation. You can explore the Central Business District (CBD) or the Royal Botanic Gardens. The CBD boasts major attractions, including Town Hall Square, St Mary’s Cathedral, Queen Victoria Building, and Hyde Park.

If you make it back into the city for sunset, we suggest choosing instead the Royal Botanic Gardens. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, this urban oasis is a fantastic vantage point for yet another great golden hour spectacle.

Of course, no vacation is complete without having a filling and delicious dinner at a local restaurant. If you are craving Asian fusion food, a fantastic eatery is China Doll.

It’s now time to say your goodbyes to beautiful Sydney. 2 days are definitely a good start to experiencing this lively Down Under city, but there is always more to do and see if staying longer.

Day 2 Summary 

Driving time: No driving time.

What you’ll do:

  • Coogee to Bondi coastal walk
  • Bondi Beach
  • Central Business District
  • Royal Botanic Gardens

Where you’ll eat:

  • BreakfastMamak – Renowned spot in the city for tasting authentic Indian Malay cuisine. Their roti are simply divine!
  • LunchSpeedos Cafe – Perfect for a delicious and healthy meal in a laid-back environment near the beach.
  • DinnerChina Doll – Located along the historic Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo, this restaurant serves Modern Asian dishes that are elegant and generously portioned. The Asian-inspired cocktails offered are also worth a try.

Alternative location to stay:

  • The Langham Sydney – If you’re looking to splurge, this 5-star luxury hotel is one of the best options. The property is located 5 minutes from Darling Harbour and boasts panoramic city or bay views from the stylish rooms. At The Langham Sydney, guests have a spa and wellness center, tennis courts, a bar, and a restaurant.

Map Of Sydney

You will find this interactive Google Map very useful. Check it out to see all the spots included on the first day of the itinerary so that you can plan accordingly.

TIP: Expand the map and create a copy in your logged-in Google account. You can access this copy in your Google Maps app under Saved. Scroll to the bottom and look for “Maps”.

Closing Thoughts

The 2 day Sydney itinerary is the best way to discover what makes this extraordinary Australian destination so iconic. Including only tourist attractions doesn’t mean you will miss out on local experiences. On the contrary, spots like the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach are integral to the city’s identity.

Besides iconic landmarks, the perfect way to experience two days in Sydney is by doing various activities to get to know Sydneysider’s unique lifestyle. You should participate in the surfing and coffee cultures and enjoy the great outdoors and culinary opportunities the city boasts. 

All in all, Sydney is incredible, and we are sure you will want to visit it again soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What shouldn’t I miss on my Sydney two days trip?

With only 2 days, you should check out Sydney’s best highlights, namely the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, and Bondi Beach.

How intense is the sun in Sydney?

Short answer: incredibly intense. Since the 1960s, Australia’s ozone layer has depleted between 5-9%. This means that the sun here is stronger and will tan/burn you even on cloudy days. Wearing sunscreen is a must-do no matter the time of year, whether at the beach or around the city.

Are there particular laws regarding alcohol in Sydney?

Sydney has a few restrictive laws regarding alcohol consumption. Public beaches, parks, and transport are alcohol-free zones. So, if you are caught consuming beverages with even a small amount of alcohol in them, you will receive an on-the-spot fine. Furthermore, some businesses need to lock out after 1:30 a.m., while others (such as nightclubs) must stop serving drinks at 3 a.m.

Do I have to tip in Sydney?

In Australia, leaving a tip is not customary nor is it expected. However, tipping is always appreciated. You can tip 5 to 10% in restaurants and bars to show that you liked the service.

What you should read next

Travel Resources For Your Next Trip

If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.

Credit cards: Don’t get burned by hidden fees on top of terrible exchange rates. When we travel now, we use the Wise Card. Simply load it with the currency you need before you go and use it as a regular VISA or their digital wallet card. Use their free app to track how much you have and top up when you need to.

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Car Rental: If you’re looking to save money, these car rental coupon codes will be a true game-changer. Otherwise, DiscoverCars and RentalCars are great places to start.

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Hotels: Our go-to is because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs plus they have their Genius tier discounts. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.

Vacation Rentals: Your first instinct will be to check Airbnb but we always recommend checking VRBO as well if you’re looking for a vacation rental.

Tours: When planning our trips, we always check both Viator and GetYourGuide to at least see what’s out there in the destination that we’re going to. They often have different offerings and prices so check both.

Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.

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If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.

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