The Perfect 2-Day Itinerary for Sydney (2020)

Sydney itinerary The perfcet two days

I created this 2-day Sydney itinerary as Sydney is one of those iconic destinations that you have to visit at least once in your life. From the incredible harbor to the stunning beaches and roughed coastline and shiny beaches. Sydney is one of those cities that has it all. And now, I’m sharing my best tips in this Sydney itinerary for 2 days!

Though you can’t see everything in Sydney in 2 days, this efficient itinerary covers as much ground as possible. This itinerary will take you to the best spots in the city! What are the must-see highlights, how to get around, where to stay and where to eat! This two-day itinerary is a mixture of city adventures and beach walking.

Let’s dive in…

How to get from and to the airport of Sydney

You have landed in Sydney and now the adventure begins. Luckily the city has a good infrastructure when it comes to the airport. The airport is located just 9 kilometres from the city centre, and it can be reached a couple of ways:

TRAIN

There is a train station located underneath the airport. During peak hours the train to Central Station runs every 7 minutes, and off-peak every 10.  It will only take 12 minutes to get to Central Station.

The trip is quite expensive costing $17.39, which is such a shame. The rest of the public transport is more reasonable within Sydney, they just made the airport train quiet expensive.

If you are not staying in Sydney’s CBD District, then getting an Uber might be cheaper.

UBER + TAXI

The designated pickup areas for Ubers are located outside the terminal on the arrivals level. The pickup area where you meet your driver will depend on the terminal you’re requesting from and the ride option you select.  It is honestly pretty easy to find, just follow the signs in the airport itself. There is an additional pick up fee, which I think is only a couple of dollars.

Alternatively, you can use one of the taxi ranks out in front of the airport. A taxi, however, is a whole lot more expensive (pretty much double). I suggest getting an Uber, as it is pretty easy and a lot cheaper than getting a taxi.

AIRPORT SHUTTLE

You can get a shuttle direct to your hotel (not all hotels, check with your accommodation when making the booking), either buying from an information desk at the terminal for around $18 or booking in advance for $12. Often you can book these airport busses when booking your hotel (They sometimes come included, so make sure to check when booking your accommodation)

Local buses are also available, but luggage space is limited.

Getting Around Sydney

Sydney is a massive city! There is no way that you can walk everywhere. Of course, you can hop in a taxi or Uber, but you can only do that if you are made from gold. Getting from the city to Bondi Beach, for example, will cost you (With Uber) $51,00. That is a waste of money if you ask me.

The most effective way to get around a foreign city is public transportation.  Sydney has an extensive and pretty reliable bus, train and ferry services which won’t cost you an arm and a leg.  In order to ride the public transportation system, you need to get yourself an Opal Card.

The card itself is completely free, when you get it you just pay for a credit to go on the card. These cards can be picked up pretty much everywhere, from Coles to 7-Eleven and the local Kathmandu convenience shop around the corner, they are everywhere.

Public transport in Sydney | How to get around.
The Opal Card

The minimum credit that you can put on the card $10 and you can keep track of your balance using the Opal app.

A great benefit of the card is that you can always re-load at any convenience store or on the Opal app.

Additionally, the app is great to work out where to go and which buses to take, so I advise you to download the app if you are in Sydney for a while or even just visiting.

For any other information, here is more information on the Opal Card.

Where to Eat in Sydney

Sydney is filled with incredible dining, from cheap to very pricy. Underneath I will list a couple of my favourite restaurants.

  • Mr.Wong | Incredible Cantonese-style food.
  • Ripples Chowder Bay | Elevated terrace with scenic harbour perspectives offing some amazing views whilst dining. It offers a Modern Australian menu.
  • Bourke Street Bakery | Not propper dining, but too amazing not to add to this list. For some irresistible pastries, cakes, and bread.
  • Spice I Am | Sydney’s Multi-Award winning Thai Restaurant

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SYDNEY?

I would say the best time to visit Sydney would be in October, November or late February and March. These months generally offer sunny weather, while avoiding the heat of mid-summer and school holiday crowds.

The heat and humidity can be difficult during the summer (December to February). If you are after a chill beach holiday, then these months are probably the best time to go. As mentioned, do keep in mind of school holidays and the holiday season is during this time. Because of the school holidays, the accommodation rates will be higher than normal. Some hotels in the city centre are cheaper on weekends, but always busy during the numerous festivals and sporting events.

Where to Stay in Sydney?

If you are travelling to Sydney for the first time, then I would suggest booking your accommodation in either Sydney CBD or Darling Harbor. These are the two prime locations within walking distance of the most popular tourist attractions like the Opera House, Tower Eye, The Rocks and the Royal Botanic Gardens. From here you can also easily travel to places like Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains.

If you wish to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, then Surry Hills is also a great central location. If you are not bothered to travel a bit and want to be close to the beach, then Bondi Beach is the place to be.

SOUVENIRS TO BUY IN SYDNEY

Don’t forget to pack these goodies from Sydney!

  • Boomerang
  • Ugg Boots
  • Opal Jewelry
  • Akubra Hat
  • Tim Tams
  • Didgeridoo

A lot of these can be bought at Paddy’s Market in Haymarket, very close to Central Station. Additionally, there are lots of souvenirs shops scattered around the city. You can find some in Darling Harbour, near the Opera House as well as on Pitt Street and George Street. The cheapest souvenirs you will find at Paddy’s Market though.

Tim Tams can be found in pretty much all food shops (Coles, Woolies, 7-Eleven etc)

SAFETY IN SYDNEY

I have been living in Sydney for about 8 years now, and I have found Sydney to be very safe and welcoming. Sydney has remained a popular destination for solo backpackers and couples for years. Because of its save imago. There are strict lockout laws at night, making the city feel safe at night as well.

The Sydney Opera House, amazing weather and some of the beach beaches, you will not be disappointed. It is definitely a MUST visit when you are in Australia.

Sydney excursions/ Day Trips from Sydney

BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK 

Let’s start with an obvious and pretty well know day trip, The Blue Mountains! This is a mountainous region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. It is easily accessible by car or train (About 2 hours from Sydney CBD) Known for its sensational scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, and quaint villages.

The Blue Mountains are densely populated by oil bearing Eucalyptus trees. These give off a blue haze, making the mountains look blue.

How far | 79 Kilometers

Get there | By car, it’s about one hour away from Sydney CBD. Or catch the Blue Mountains line train from Central to Katoomba, It costs around $10.65 with an Opal Card.

JERVIS BAY NATIONAL PARK

Jervis Bay National Park
Jervis Bay National Park
It’s hard to resist the stunning powder-fine sand and clear turquoise waters of Jervis Bay National Park. The beaches are amongst the most beautiful in New South Wales. For example, take Hyams beach, which is home to on some of the whitest sands in the world! It also has stunning pristine turquoise water, which is perfect for swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Jervis Bay is also home to lots of native Australian wildlife. See kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, wombats and many rare bird and animal species in the wild. You might even spot some sharks!

How far | 200 Kilometers

Get there | Unfortunately, it is not possible to travel to Jervis Bay by public transport. So the only option is to hire a car. This will take you about 3 hours. A door to door shuttle service is available between Sydney Airport and the South Coast seven days a week.

PORT STEPHENS

Port Stevens
Port Stevens

Now doesn’t that bloke look like he’s having a good time! Port Stevens is home to beautiful beaches, fantastic sand dunes, beautiful coastal walks,  and splendid national parks. It is a perfect place to enjoy a day trip or even a quick weekend break away.

One of the coolest things to do is to go to the sand dunes, especially the Stockton Sand Dunes. Driving along the beach, with the ocean view for miles. stopping along the way for lunch and a shallow swim, as this beach is NOT patrolled by lifesavers. Excellent spot for fishes and flying kites. Besides that, sandboarding some of the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere is kind of a must.

How far | 207 Kilometers

Get there | Port Stephens is a 2½ hour drive north of Sydney along the M1 Motorway. Additionally, you can hop on a direct bus. Port Stephens Coaches depart daily from Sydney via Chatswood, Pymble, Hornsby and Raymond Terrace to Port Stephens.

WOLLONGONG 

Wollongong
Wollongong

Wollongong informally referred to as “The Gong”, is NSW’s third-largest city. The scenic train trip from Sydney to Wollongong is only 90 minutes. From the train station, you can walk to many of the cities main attractions, including Wollongong City Beach, Wollongong Art Gallery and the Botanic gardens.

Don’t forget to wander over to Head Lighthouse. This is a major historic site in Wollongong which offers great views over Belmore Basin and City Beach, with lots of informative historical information on plaques.

A short drive south is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Nan Tien Temple. You can explore the tranquil gardens and tour the temple.

How far | 91 Kilometers

Get there | Take the Grand Pacific Drive and experience coastal rainforests, quaint seaside villages and the 665 meters Sea Cliff Bridge all on your way into Wollongong. Alternatively, you can jump on the M1 Motorway from Sydney and be here in 80 minutes. Additionally, you can reach Wollongong by train, just take the South Coast Line from central station. It will take you 1 hour and 28 minutes and will cost you $6.08 each way.

CANBERRA

Australia’s main capital Canberra is not as famous or touristy as Sydney and Melbourne (or quite a lot of other places in the country) It, however, has a lot to offer and should not be missed during a trip to Australia. From the parliament building to the Australian War Memorial, Canberra has a lot of important sights to see. So as the famous saying goes – do yourself a favor and visit Canberra. 

FUN FACT! Canberra is Australia’s capital city because Sydney and Melbourne kept fighting over who was to be the capital of the country and well Canberra is smack bam in the middle of the two so hence they chose Canberra.

How far | 286 Kilometers

Get there | You have 2 options of getting to Canberra. The first one is to drive yourself, which will take you about 3 hours. There is also a Greyhound service from Sydney CBD to Canberra. They depart several times a day and are available from $39,- each way. You can also hop on a train at Sydney central. This will cost you (From) $28.25 and takes 4 hours. You must pre-book a ticket on this train. 

Sydney itinerary 2 days |  things to do and see

Underneath you will find the must-see stops in Sydney when you on;y have 48 hours.

DAY 1 | EXPLORE SYDNEY’S HARBOUR

If you are a tourist alike then your first day you want to tick off some of Sydney’s most Iconic stops! So, what better way than to start with the Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood.

9 AM | WALK TO CIRCULAR QUAY

If you’re staying in the CBD then put on your walking shoes and wander over to Circular Quay. Just follow one of the two main streets (Pitt Street or George Street).  If you’d like you can take a re-route through Hyde-park.

If you stay on the main street you will walk past the Queen Victoria Building (on George Street) which is worth a detour. Additionally, you will come past Sydney’s Tower Eye (an Observation Deck) so there is already tons of amazing things to explore!

10 AM | EXPLORE CIRCULAR QUAY

Immediately when you walk into Circular Quay you will see two of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks. The Opera House as well as the Harbour Bridge.

One of the most iconic Sydney Instagram moments that you can get is of the Opera House. Pretty much everywhere you go there are great photo ops of this Sydney Icon. Walk around the harbour, sit down for a drink or nibble on some ice cream and enjoy this unique view. Do keep in mind that the prettier the view the more expensive the restaurants get!

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

11 AM | WANDER THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN

Keep walking up all the way to the Opera House. On your right, you will see the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney. They are free to enter and offer some relaxation within the cities hustle and bustle.

They also offer some really amazing views of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. Just follow the water’s edge to Mrs. Macquarie’s Point.

Royal Botanic Gardens
Royal Botanic Gardens

12:00 PM | HEAD TO THE ROCKS

the rocks sydney
the rocks Sydney

Next on the list is Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood the rocks. This can be found next to Circular Quay and is within walking distance of the Opera House. Since it is lunchtime, I will give you some of our favourite restaurants/pubs within the rocks:

  • Pony Dining The Rocks ($$$)
    Buzzy, a rustic-chic venue with an open kitchen, for Modern Australian cuisine and sharing plates.
  • Saké Restaurant  ($$)
    Vibrant, rustic-chic dining room serving inventive sushi and sashimi, plus clever cocktails.
  • Munich Brauhaus The Rocks ($$)
    Festive beer hall with live music, serving imported beers and German dishes like pork schnitzel. (My favourite restaurant in Rocks)
  • El Camino Cantina The Rocks ($)
    Tex-Mex restaurant
  • Pancakes On The Rocks ($$)
    Long-running diner chain is known for sweet and savoury pancakes, plus pizza, ribs, and brekkie – so pretty much everyone will find something suited to their needs here.
  • Phillip’s Foote ($$)
    Traditional Australian steaks and pies in a 2-story colonial building with courtyard seating.

After lunch, it is time to explore The Rocks. This amazing and old neighbourhood is filled with historic laneways in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

If you are an art lover then head to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

On the weekend you can stop at The Rocks Markets (10 am to 5 pm). They offer a fantastic opportunity to shop for uniquely Australian gifts and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. From art to clothing and standard souvenirs. Just a bit more unique than normal.

2 PM | HARBOUR BRIDGE WALK

Walking over the bridge is a free experience that you can and should do! The best access point is the Bridge Stairs on Cumberland Street in The Rocks.

You will be walking on the right side, which is closest to the Sydney Opera House. This walk will offer some amazing harbour views along the way.

When you reach the pillars, head inside and climb the stairs to the Pylon Lookout. The Sydney Pylon lookout is massively overlooked and comes with 360-degree views of the whole of Sydney Harbor! say what! that’s right……

You will spend about 30-45 minutes here, probably depending on the weather.

Views from the Pylon Lookout

The admission is as follows (As per April 2019)

General Admission (13 years and over) $15.00
Concession (Seniors & Student) $10.00
Children (5 to 12 years, inclusive) $8.50
Children (4 years and under) FREE  (woohoo!)

3 PM | MILSONS POINT

Continue on with the bridge walk and head to the other side of the harbour. This suburb is called Milsons Point.

Here you have some pretty wicked vantage points. Some cool ones you should check out:

  • Wendy’s secret Gardens
    It offers some amazing views of Lavender Bay, Luna Park, and the Harbour Bridge.
  • Broughton St Lookout
    Great place to take photos for the harbour and city skyline. Offers amazing Opera House views.
  • Jeffrey Street Wharf
    The best spot to photograph Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. This wharf no longer used and to catch a ferry need to walk around to the Luna park wharf.
Sydney harbor by night
Sydney harbour by night

5 PM | LUNA PARK

Another thing on your Sydney bucket list should be a quick visit to the Iconic Luna Park. Luna Park Sydney is a heritage-listed amusement park that takes you back to the olden age. It is similar to Cooney Island in New York. Lots of fun older types of attractions and games.

The entree to the park is free, so if this is not your thing, just wander over it and take a couple of pics. If you wish to do a couple of attractions, then just head to the kiosk and buy a couple of tickets.

You can grab a bit to eat here are well if you are hungry after walking around all day.

7 PM | WALK BACK

Depending on how your feet are feeling you can either walk back to your hotel by crossing the bridge again, but this time after dark. This allows you to capture the Opera House at night from the bridge.

If your feet can not handle another walk, then just hop on the train at Milsons Point Station and head home.

DAY 2 | BONDI BEACH

On day two of this 6-day Sydney itinerary, you should head to Australia’s most famous beach, Bondi Beach. Bondi beach shot to ‘stardom’ due to the immensely popular reality show Bondi Lifeguards.

Don’t wear just thongs(flip flops) to this beach though, cause you will also be walking a couple of k’s along with its ridiculously beautiful coastline.

9 AM | GRAB A BUS TO BONI BEACH

Bondi Beach, Sydney
Bondi Beach, Sydney

Since Bondi Beach is such a popular destination, there is a very regular service towards the beach and back (Pretty much every 10 minutes)

Getting there | All buses from the city start from Circular Quay and the ride to Bondi Beach takes 45 minutes. The starting point is in Alfred Street, close to ferry wharf number 2. The bus may be numbered 380 or 333 with the destination showing North Bondi, Dover Heights, Watsons Bay or Bondi Beach. Collectively this is called “the 380 bus” and all buses go to Bondi Beach.

10 AM | EXPLORE BONDI

Once you get to Bondi beach, just start exploring! This hipster part of Sydney offers a lot of cool shops, delicious restaurants and of course that famous beach.

Some shops you should definitely check out when in Bondi:

Naomi Levi  | 52 Hall Street | Bondi Beach NSW 2026
beautiful boho clothing made from quality materials. From stunning flowy dresses to cute tops and some jewellery this store has it all.

Mezi Australia | 1/9 Hall St | Bondi Beach NSW 2026
I am not sure if this is a chain store, but I have never seen it before. A stunning jewellery shop. Not the cheapest you will ever find, but it has some really beautiful jewellery.

Please check if these restaurants are still operating when you are travelling to Bondi. They change very often, so I don’t want you to be disappointed when they are permanently closed. These are some restaurants that I tried on a trip in December 2018.

Bondi Hardware | 39 Hall St |  Bondi Beach NSW 2026
I had late lunch here when I arrived on the Friday right after checking in. I loved the food and the atmosphere. It describes themselves as having inventive bistro food and cocktails in a funky, rustic-chic restaurant with a leafy courtyard.

Sean’s Panorama | 270 Campbell Parade | Bondi Beach NSW 2026
A cozy space with eclectic decor, a passionate and attentive wait staff, and top-notch food. I really loved it here. Their dishes are seasonal and fresh and absolutely delicious.

1 PM | START THE BONDI TO COOGEE WALK

The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is probably one of the most iconic walks that you can do in Sydney (or maybe even in Australia). Following the rough cliffs along the ocean with stunning views all over, 6 of the most famous/beautiful beaches and Australian wildlife surrounding you all along the way.

Pick up the trail behind Icebergs, at the far end of Bondi Beach. The trail winds along the coast, with plenty of up and down to sneak in your cardio, but your reward is the stunning coastal views, rock pools and many beaches you’ll come across along your way. You can choose your own adventure and turn back or hop on a bus at different locations throughout the walk. Try to stick it out to the end though, cause it is worth it.

Bondi Beach, Sydney | The Icebergs swimming pool
Bondi Beach, Sydney | The Icebergs swimming pool

I have written an encompassing guide on this walk. I advise you to buy some food along the way in one of the many supermarkets located near Bondi Beach. Take it with you and along the coast, when hungry take a seat, enjoy the scenes and just nibble away with your brought lunch.

For this itinerary, I am going to assume that it is beach weather and that during your walk you will be stopping and swimming a couple of times. If you just walk this route it will take you about 2 hours.

From Coogee Beach, there is a direct bus back circular Quay.

3.30 PM | TAKE THE FERRY TO COCKATOO ISLAND

After visiting Bondi Beach, is it now time for a bit of culture and a bit of un unusual stop. Most (if not all) other Sydney itineraries will skip this island! I find that it is such a shame, as it combines a quick ferry trip with a UNESCO Heritage Sire.

So, hop on the Parramatta River Ferry (wharf 5, side B). Depart the ferry at Cockatoo Island, which will take about 20 minutes.

3.50 PM | EXPLORE COCKATOO ISLAND

Cockatoo Island operated as a convict penal establishment from 1839-69, primarily as a place of secondary punishment for convicts who had re-offended in the colonies. The island was off-limits to the public for more than one hundred years. The island is now UNESCO world-heritage-listed and reminded me out of scenes of the walking dead.

You can wander around here and explore the vacant buildings.

Cockatoo Island, Sydney
Cockatoo Island, Sydney
Take the ferry back to Circular Quay and have a freshen up at your hotel.

7.30 PM | DINNER AT THE OPERA HOUSE

Sydney Opera House
Dinner at the Sydney Opera House

End your evening by grabbing an ‘expensive but once in a lifetime dinner’ at the Sydney Opera House. There are different restaurants in the vicinity of the Opera House, most with different price tags:

  • Bennelong
  • Portside
  • Opera Kitchen
  • Opera Kitchen
  • Theatre Bar
    The lounge

9.30 PM | GRAB A COUPLE OF DRINKS AT THE OPERA BAR

The Opera House Bar is the place to have a drink whilst enjoying some of the cities most amazing views. Listen to live music and chill for the rest of your evening. Make it as early or as late as you please.

I hope you have enjoyed my Sydney itinerary ( 2 days )! If you are planning to travel to this amazing city and you have some questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to help you to my best abilities.

Thank You Guys For Reading my Sydney itinerary for 2 days <3

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