Welcome to my quick travel guide on how to spend 48 hours in Sydney. This beautiful harbour city is massive and full of vibrant life and beautiful angles to capture as a photographer.
It’s the place where I developed my skills as a photographer. Sydney has been an amazing place to explore every day. I love living in Sydney because of the vast opportunities and the amazing weather.
The “mateship” culture is very much present but life in Sydney is also extremely fast paced. Like many big cities, traffic is intense and drivers are aggressive. Everyone tends to be in a rush with little to no spare time.
When Sydneysiders do get some free time, there is simply no better place to live and no better place to explore. I’m a real sunset lover and it’s hard to beat Mrs Macquarie’s Chair just by the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The chair was carved out of a sandstone rock in 1810. Here, you’ll find epic views of the Sydney Harbour and skyline. Combine the views with a beautiful Sydney sunset – it doesn’t get any better than that!
In fact, Bronte Rock Pool is probably one of the most photogenic pools not only in Australia but in the entire world. 30 metres in length and the perfect place to cool off on a hot summers day in Sydney.
Another favourite place of mine is this amazing vantage point that I believe was one of the first places I shot and posted from. Up the street from Luna Park in Milsons Point, you can hike up and find all three Sydney icons framed in one shot: Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and Sydney Opera House.
You need a Telephoto Zoom Lens to get it. But once captured, it compresses the background so it almost looks unreal. I love that one spot to bits! Even if you’re not into photography, it’s a great place to visit.
48 Hours in Sydney: Best Attractions and Experiences
Stroll over to the Sydney Harbour Bridge to get up close and personal with this masterpiece of architecture. Then take a ferry back to the city for some amazing views of the harbour. On a sunny day this is awesome!
Both of these destinations are excellent and offer spectacular views and places to swim. If you come to Sydney in summer then both Bondi Beach and either Manly or Watsons Bay would be a top priority!
Back to the city at night and have a drink from the top-level bar at Shangri-La or the revolving bar at O-bar for stunning views. If you still have time left, hop on the ferry to Taronga Zoo for a half day trip. This award-winning zoo is home to over 4000 animals including native wildlife unique to Australia.
If you are spending more than 48 hours in Sydney it might be worth looking at a full day trip out to the beautiful Blue Mountains. You can easily do this trip in one day on a train journey to Katoomba. The mountains offer stunning walks and hikes, with simply amazing views.
Beach Life and Cafe Culture in Sydney
Sydney gets steaming hot in the middle of summer, so the only place to stay cool is actually at the beach. I tend to visit big beaches like Bronte in the eastern suburbs, Bondi and Coogee.
But for a swim I prefer some beaches that are a little more secluded. My personal favourite beaches in Sydney are Shark Beach (don’t worry there’s a shark net there to protect you) and Balmoral Beach.
Other outdoor adventures to enjoy in Sydney would be to go exploring with your camera anywhere close to the Sydney Harbour. There are endless beautiful places to capture the moment.
In addition to photography adventures, I do love the outdoor cinemas that Sydney offers. The one at the Royal Botanic Gardens is stunning and is a fantastic place to catch a movie.
When it comes to cafe culture, I prefer to hit up my local pub/bar rather than go out to a fancy restaurant. I tend to go local to where I live, staying far away from the tourist traps of the city.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
I would recommend avoiding Darling Harbour unless you want to be surrounded by tourists. It can get crazy busy there, especially on the weekends. Lastly, remember to apply sunscreen whether it be sunny or cloudy – there is zero natural cover in Sydney and the sun is strong.
It’s important to plan ahead in Sydney, allowing enough time to arrive at places especially around rush hour. Traffic can be maddening. Get yourself an Opal card as soon as you arrive in the city and remember to tap on and off. You can use it on all the different means of public transport here.
Don’t underestimate the cold season in Sydney. It’s not all about beach life and we do have cold winters. Make sure you pack appropriate clothes for the season when you’re visiting.
Also, when you first arrive, don’t take the train from the airport. Taxis and Ubers will be cheaper, especially if you’re travelling with one or more people where you can split the fare.
Thanks for reading my article on how to spend the perfect 48 hours in Sydney. I hope to see you here in this beautiful harbour city one day soon.