2 days in Sydney can be expensive, and exhausting, cramming everything in, in a short amount of time. In fact, Sydney came in 10th for a survey done on the most expensive cities in the world. However, 2 days in Sydney is plenty of time to to explore and see the main attractions, whether you’re new to the city or not, we have some great ideas for free things to do over 2 days.
We currently live and work in Sydney and have explored a lot of beaches, amazing nature, some iconic buildings structures, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As a result of this, we have gathered all we have learnt and everything we have seen into a nice bite size 2 days in Sydney itinerary, showing you the best places to visit including the must see tourist attractions, all for free!
How to get around?
Before we get started, here is the best tip for visiting Sydney, purchase an Opal card. Although the places we list and tell you about may be free, transport isn’t. Also it is best to save time getting to different destinations; especially if you want to see the best Sydney attractions over a short period of time. Use Sydney’s great public transport system. You can purchase these Online, at an Opal retailer, at selected Transport Customer Service Centres/Shops and at a selected Service NSW location.
Added bonus: Use of the Opal card is capped at $2.70 on Sundays so try doing most of your travelling on this day if you can, to save money! See more information on travel fees using the Opal card here.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Rise and shine. Start your 2 days in Sydney by heading towards Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. We say this because it is coupled with a nice walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens towards the other main attractions. Some of the best views of the Sydney Opera house are on this walk and it only takes around 20 mins by foot. If you feel like it, it is also the perfect spot for a picnic as you absorb the beautiful scenery. After taking in the views and strolling through the Royal Botanic Gardens, at the end of the walk you come to the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Opera House
With 2 days in Sydney, an itinerary would not be complete without at least touching or taking a selfie outside the Sydney Opera House. Take in the architectural beauty in the shape of shells and opening lotus leaves. Run up and down the famous stairs like kids or go inside and book a show. Yes, booking a show may not be free, but it’s worth it if you know you’ll only be in Sydney once. We found booking inside at the ticket desk was cheaper than booking online. They are options for everyone from drama, musicals, stand up comedy or music concerts.
There is also a daily light show projected on the Sydney Opera House at sunset and 9pm every night, totally free.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Just in case you have missed it (surely not) you can undoubtedly see the Sydney Harbour Bridge too. Again, selfies are the custom, but if you want to experience it a bit closer you can actually walk across it. Still not impressed? Well you’re in luck, if you have the coin, book in advance and climb the damn thing. It would be amazing to climb it at sunrise or sunset and one of those moments you would always cherish. However, booking in advance is crucial.
Was all that walking, running up and down stairs and selfie taking a bit exhausting and emptied your stomach? Well look no further than Circular Quay. As well as hosting the Sydney Opera House it’s rich in restaurants, cafes and bars. Have brunch here to re energise and sip it down with a cocktail (Its fine, its Sydney, anytime is cocktail time). Check out Searock Grill where they do ‘Happy Hour Lunch’. If none of that food interests you and you want something a bit greasier, there are always fast food restaurants like Hungry Jacks and McDonalds to get the taste buds kicking. You can also check out the many souvenir shops for a browse or window shop if you want to keep the pennies down.
To finish the day, head over to ‘The Rocks’. Featuring historic laneways, The Rocks is also filled with old pubs, street food and boutique stores. If you happen to be in Sydney on the weekend, The Rocks also has a weekend market, these will be filled with local vendors selling their wares so check it out and get your bartering game on.
If you happen to find yourself at the Rocks near the evening time, they are also lavish restaurants dotted around the area, perfect for an evening meal to end the day.
Bondi to Coogee walk
This walk deserves the whole day. It should not be rushed and squeezed in a Sydney itinerary. It is one of the best things to do in Sydney. Normally, people tend to go from Bondi to Coogee, however, we have done the walk a few times and starting from Coogee is better in our opinion. It is less hilly and the reward at the end is much better touching down in Bondi. There are numerous options for food and drink within a closer proximity.
Coogee beach is a nice beach indeed and you will, without question, see people playing beach volleyball. On the occasions we have been, the playing areas were all full, but don’t be shy and get involved if you can!
In between Bondi and Coogee is Bronte, another marvellous beach to take advantage of. There is also a free pool in the sea to use. Make sure to get yourself some fish and chips. Oh, and…beware of the seagulls (Don’t say we didn’t warn you).
At the end of this famous walk, you will reach Bondi Beach. Bondi Beach is probably Australia’s most famous beach. It is an instant attraction for surfers due to the reliability of the waves, as well as being an irresistible allure for backpackers and equally enticing for locals. The Bondi to Coogee walk contains a cocktail of different people, from dog walkers and runners to sun bathers and swimmers.
Bondi Icebergs Club
Lastly, reaching Bondi you will have the chance to visit the Bondi Icebergs Club. If you have ever done a search of Sydney of Instagram you’ll probably recognise it. Now it may not be free to enter, but you can at least enjoy people watching and taking pictures of the famous pool. For a small fee you can have access to the infamous Icebergs pool in the sea, or have munchies and a few drinks within the club as you watch the sun go down.
Where to stay spending 2 days in Sydney
As Sydney is pretty expensive we would highly recommend renting a room through Airbnb. We did this the first time we visited and it worked out to be the cheapest and most convenient option.
When to visit
Spring: September – November
Summer: December – February
Autumn: March – May
Winter: June – August
We would suggest visiting between the months of September – November, March – May. These are the cooler months but still beach weather. Try to avoid the hottest months of the year during the summer, which, believe it or not, can be TOO hot to enjoy walking around the city at times. In addition, you also skip the school holidays so in general, it won’t be as busy.
- Purchase an Opal card and use Sydney’s public transport system to get around faster
- The Opal Card caps at $2.70 on Sundays
- Start your walk from Coogee to Bondi for a better experience
- The Icebergs Pool is closed on Thursdays for cleaning so keep that in mind. However the bar is still open, should you fancy wetting your whistle.
Staying more than 2 days in Sydney? Check out our Sydney Blogs for more great ideas!