Australia is such a vast country, there is so much to explore, so you can be forgiven if you only have a short time to explore Sydney. Here’s my guide for 48 hours in Sydney to get to see some of the top sights, whilst enjoying some cocktails and exploring more of Sydney than the city centre.
Enjoy a light snack and a drink at one of Sydney’s many cafes and coffee shops. I’m not a coffee drinker, but from what I hear Australia’s coffee is the best, so make sure you check it out!
Head to Coogee (the bus is easy from the city). Enjoy the beach and have a stroll around.
Take brunch at Coogee Pavilion to set you up for the day and your walk ahead.
Walk the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach. Make sure you bring your camera to capture some scenic shots as you pass Gordons Bay.
Stop off at Clovelly Beach, enjoy watching people swimming.
Pass by Waverley Cemetery for some atmospheric shots.
Carry on, stopping for photos at Bronte Beach and Tamara Beach.
Arrive at Bondi and head to Icebergs for some lunch, to enjoy seasonally inspired modern Australian food (they have a cocktail menu too if you enjoy an afternoon drink!). Make sure to take photos of the pool! If you fancy a dip, it’s $6.50 for swimming or $4.50 for spectators, which includes sauna entry.
Head back into the city, stopping in for an hour at the Paddington markets which are open to 5pm. Every Saturday there have over 150 stalls offering Australian fashion, art, jewellery and food stalls. Perfect for those souvenirs, much better than the tacky kangaroo balls you’ll find around the city!
Head back to your accommodation to freshen up before dinner.
Head over to Cockle Bay Wharf at Darling Harbour to enjoy a meal at Café del Mar, enjoying relaxing but upbeat music whilst dining on their tasty menu. I’ve enjoyed the sharing lamb ($64), their menu changes regularly so I’ve actually tried a few flavours of this dish! Just this week I’ve enjoyed this season’s menu of slow cooked Merryland lamb shoulder accompanied with salsa verde. If like me, you’ve managed to snap up a groupon or scoopon voucher for this restaurant you’ll need to make an earlier booking for the first tables of the night, but it’s well worth the saving. Along with fries ($9), it’s far too much for two people and could easily feed three!
If you’re lucky you’ll have timed your visit to co-inside with the Darling Harbour fireworks.
Next it’s time for some views, take your pick of the Shangri-La Hotel to enjoy the stunning views whilst drinking cocktails at their rooftop bar, or head up to the Sky Tower to the 360 bar, to sample their cocktail menu.
If you’re not yet feeling ready for bed, make the most of the evening, head to one of Sydney’s clubs such as Chinese Laundry, Home to check out Sydney’s night life, or test out a backpacker’s bar such as Scary Canary.
Early start today! Grab a light bite and head to the Opera House to capture your photos of this iconic building in all of it’s glory before the morning crowds arrive. make sure you snap the Sydney Harbour Bridge too, it’d be hard to miss it’s looming presence.
On a Sunday using an Opal card only costs $2.50 all day! So next head to Circular Quay to take the ferry to Rose Bay, make sure you take some shots of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Head from Rose Bay up towards the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. If you didn’t get chance to eat breakfast, Sonoma in Rose Bay has some tasty treats! Take the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, where you’ll pass Hermit Bay. There’s some stunning views of the city in the distance, look closely and you can see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Snap away some more photos at Milk beach and if you like head for the grounds of Strickland House, before arriving at Shark Beach for a break
Carry on, making sure you take in views of the boats at the Beach Paddock. If you fancy it, hop off the track and head over to Vaucluse House and wander around it’s gardens.
Head over the bridge at Parsley Bay, this is one of my favourite sights in Sydney, the green blue water is so inviting. Take a dip if you like!
Explore Kutti Beach and Gibson’s Beach reserve before arriving at Watsons Bay.
After all that walking you’ll have worked up a thirst, stop in at the Watson’s Bay Hotel. Take a seat overlooking the bay, sit back and enjoy people watching in the sunshine.
Head over to the Gap to take some photos looking over the cliffs, before heading to the ferry wharf.
Jump back on the ferry at Watsons Bay. You’ll get some more amazing views as the ferry takes you back to Circular Quay.
Wander through The Rocks, this historic area of Sydney’s city centre on an interesting jaunt.
After all that walking you’ll have built up quite an appetite. Stop into El Camino Cantina, where you can sample their Tex Mex Sunday brunch. For $29 you can add a bar package for 1 hour in addition to your brunch. Go on, after all that exercise I think a few margaritas are in order!! Make sure you check out their monthly margarita flavour. Out of the standard choices, my favourite is the frozen mango margarita, and it’s great to cool down on a hot day.
Head through The Rocks to Darling Harbour via Barangaroo, enjoy a leisurely walk around Darling Harbour and stop off at Mediterranea restaurant for happy hour (usually 3-6pm) for $10 cocktails or jugs of lager. With all that walking it’ll be nice to chill out.
Head over the bridge and off to Meat District Co. at King Street Wharf, to catch happy hour ($8 cocktails, $5 wines, beers and spirits) before it ends at 6pm. Enjoy a delicious meal, my favourite is the Lamb Hook – tender lamb rump, full of flavour marinated with rosemary and garlic, skewered as a hanging kebab with capsicum (pepper to me!), onion and corn on the cob accompanied with a creamy garlic sauce, served with French fries, sprinkled with rosemary and thyme salt ($35). Or if you’re feeling healthy swap the fries for salad.
By this time I think you’ll be worn out, but if you’re not wander around Darling Harbour and stop off for a drink or too, cocktail in hand is usually where you’ll find me!
Have a few extra days to explore Sydney? Then I’d suggest taking a trip to Manly, head to the Blue Mountains for the day or Taronga Zoo.