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Sydney Opera House | ©
Sydney Opera House | ©
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How to Spend 48 Hours in Sydney, Australia

Picture of Hannah Lewis
Updated: 27 February 2017
Being Australia’s largest city, there is so much to see and do when you visit Sydney. There is a bustling city centre, a thriving arts scene and some of the best beaches in the world. Explore its beauty and experience all the fun it has to offer in 48 hours with this guide.

DAY 1

Morning

Jump aboard the public ferry at Circular Quay which heads to Manly Beach. Grab a seat outside and enjoy the sea breeze in your hair while admiring the views of the city from the water. You will be able to see the city skyline, the Harbour Bridge, the water-side neighbourhood of Kirribilli and several bays along the way including Balmoral, Double Bay and Neutral Bay. Once you arrive at Manly, you can weave in and out of the streets between the Harbour and the beach soaking up local life. And if you’re heading for some breakfast, stop by the seaside café, Hemmingway’s and people-watch over a lazy coffee before hitting the beach.

Afternoon

Walk north along the beach’s promenade towards Freshwater Beach, which is a small enclave home to a small beach with a swimming pool. Enjoy the coastal walk along the headlands until you reach the stunning beach Curl Curl. Once you have worked up an appetite, head back towards Manly and onto Shelly Beach to snag a seat at the ever-popular café, The Boathouse. Afterwards, head to North Head National Park towards the lighthouse, where you will be spoilt with panoramic views of the harbour and city in the distance. Once you have soaked it all in, head back towards to the ferry terminal and head to Watson’s Bay.

Night

Watson’s Bay Hotel is the best place to enjoy some sundowners at sunset as well as stay the night. The bustling beachside bar has a prime position on the harbour facing directly towards the city, where the sun sneaks behind the buildings creating Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Once the sun has set, enjoy another ferry ride to Circular Quay and enjoy a dinner of dumplings and duck at Mr Wongs, one of Sydney’s most celebrated restaurants. From there, bar hop in the city enjoying cocktails at tiki-themed Lobo Plantation and Baxter Inn before finishing the night in the dive-bar hipster hangout, Frankie’s Pizza.

DAY 2

Morning

Recover from the night before’s indulgence by going to Australia’s only infrared sauna studio, Nimbus and Co. in Sydney’s well known neighbourhood, Bondi. Here you can enjoy a sweaty session and feel rejuvenated for the day ahead. Once you feel detoxed, make your way down to the beach and enjoy a wholesome breakfast while watching the surfers at Porch and Parlour. Then mosey through the streets of Bondi, including the popular shopping street Gould Street. From there jump in a cab and head to the uber-trendy neighbourhood, Surry Hills.

Afternoon

Weave in and out of the streets of Surry Hills which are lined with traditional Sydney terraced homes, many of which have now been transformed into boutiques and galleries. A good place to start is Crown Street. Once you have built up an appetite, head to the outdoor garden-inspired restaurant, The Winery and lap up the sunshine over lunch and drinks. Then book yourself in to a Bridge Climb in advance so you can enjoy a hike up the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and enjoy the million dollar views of the city from above. Celebrate your climbing victory with a drink at the Glenmore Hotel located in the historic Rocks Precinct, which is in a prime position overlooking the harbour.

Sydney streets 🕊

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Night

Make your way to the grungy but gentrified neighbour of Newtown. Here you will find a multicultural collection of restaurants and some of the most buzzing nightlife in the city. Enjoy walking the streets and taking in all the street art. Live music is a must here and The Lead Belly and Newtown Social Club often have free live music playing a few nights a week, but a gig at the Enmore Theatre is the best way to experience the music scene. Once you’re ready for dinner, enjoy a cheap and cheerful meal at Thanh Bnh which is arguably the best Vietnamese food in the city.