The capital of Australia in all but name, Sydney is a city that cannot be summed up in mere words. A vibrant, modern metropolis that peers out into the South Pacific, Sydney is home to forward-thinking architecture, world-famous beaches, exemplary shopping opportunities and a multitude of iconic monuments. All of these have been the subject of countless photographs.

To fully experience everything that Sydney has to offer, 48 hours may seem a desperately short amount of time, but with foresight and planning, you can cram in a great deal of culture, art and good old-fashioned sightseeing. By jumping into your vehicle from East Coast Car Rentals, available to hire from Sydney Airport or the city itself, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to explore every nook and cranny of Australia’s largest city.

Day One 

Sydney is renowned for its cafe culture, so before you fully get your rapid-fire Sydney adventure underway, you’ll need to fuel yourself. Crown Street is replete with some of Australia’s finest coffee houses, so whether you fancy a relaxing cappuccino or the buzz of a double espresso, you’ll have your day jump-started – why not take in a sizzling bacon sandwich or perhaps a sumptuous eggs benedict (with hollandaise sauce, of course!) whilst you’re there?

With your stomach satisfied, it’s time to head on out and really see the sights, and none are more iconic than the Sydney Opera House. It’s perhaps best to see this avant-garde monument before all else, as you won’t want to rush your time in its presence. Marvel at its unmistakable ‘shell’ roof and take a walk around its interior – that shape is designed to provide only the finest acoustics.

an aerial view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the surrounding harbour
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a focal point of the city. Climbing it grants extraordinary views of the skyline.

From the Opera House, you’ll be granted unrivalled views of another famous Sydney landmark, the Harbour Bridge. As the world’s largest (though not quite longest) steel-arch bridge, the structure towers an impressive 134 metres above the harbour, and is known to locals as the ‘Coathanger’, due to its shape. If you’ve a good head for heights, you can climb the Harbour Bridge, offering breathtaking views of the city skyline- or even take on a bungy jump, if you dare!

No trip around any part of Australia is complete without a visit to the beach, and Sydney is no different. Bondi is easily the best-known of the city’s sandy spots, stretching for a kilometre on the city’s eastern edges. Aside from all the surf, sun and fun on offer, the Bondi Markets are well worth a visit, with a huge selection of arts, crafts and everything else you can think of – especially bohemian clothing which you won’t find anywhere else.

As the Sydney sun begins to set, make your way to Watson’s Gap. This is a viewing platform nestled upon a cliff, where you can safely watch towering waves batter the rocks below as you watch the sun disappear into the ocean.

A vibrant, modern metropolis that peers out into the South Pacific, Sydney is home to forward-thinking architecture, world-famous beaches, exemplary shopping opportunities and a multitude of iconic monuments.

Day Two

Start your second day in Sydney the relaxing way and make your way to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens are home to a collection of native Australian plants, shrubs and trees that you can for you to walk amongst, as well as delivering fine views of the nearby Opera House. Despite the Gardens’ proximity to that tourist hotspot, they remain a tranquil, quiet experience that will calm your mind before taking on the hectic excitement of Sydney once more.

Time to get arty. The Museum of Contemporary Art underwent a $58 million expansion in 2010, reopening three years ago. It now displays a vast range of pieces, both from local and international artists, as well as traditional works crafted by indigenous masters. Ever-changing exhibitions will keep your interest piqued, and the expansive windows of the gallery offer splendid views of the harbour.

One of the oldest parts of Sydney is The Rocks, which is now known primarily for the sights, sounds and smells of its bustling market. Anything from traditionally-made boomerangs, to hand-crafted didgeridoos can be found here. If you’re feeling a little peckish, be sure to check out the Foodies Market (which occurs on a Friday) where you can immerse yourself in a whole new world of tastes and flavours – you’re sure to find something delectable that you’ve never tried, or even heard of before!

As the sky over Sydney darkens once again, you’ll want to snap one more perfect photograph to remember your whistle-stop tour of Sydney, with perhaps a drink of the good stuff to reminisce with. You can kill two birds with one proverbial stone by heading back to the Harbour and visiting the Glenmore. This homely establishment features a flat-top roof which delivers spectacular views of the illuminated Sydney Opera House, glistening in all of its glory. Take a photograph or three, sit back and relax and drink in the glowing city of Sydney as the inky-black night falls.