Thursday, 2 August 2018

Luxury in 48 Hours: Sydney, Australia.

Sydney is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I lived there for 18 months, and although there are a whole bunch of blog posts on here about different things I did and ate during my time there, I thought it would be useful to put together a quick 48 hour guide for those who may only be in Sydney for a short time. Sydney is one of those cities that people tend to just stop off in for 2-4 days unless they have family or friends there. Australia is such a big place and so varied, that you really need to make the most of it, so staying in a city for just a couple of nights to get a flavour of it makes total sense.

This guide is definitely more for people who have never been to Sydney before and only have a short amount of time to see the city. I'm planning on doing a separate 'locals' guide in the next few months for those who are staying in Sydney for a longer period of time, and have done the main sights and want to do more unusual things in the cute suburbs. So if that second post sounds more like your thang, feel free to follow me on Twitter or Bloglovin and bookmark my blog to get notified as soon as that one goes live!

Day of Arrival

Check in at: Langham Hotel, Sydney

I'm going to assume you are arriving around midday, so go check in at the beautiful Langham Hotel Sydney, get yourself freshened up, and then head out to Darling Harbour to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship to stretch your legs after your journey!

Spend an hour wandering around the gardens, and then walk up to the Sydney Observatory for some incredible views over the harbour bridge. If you arrive earlier in the day and are looking for somewhere for lunch, Bea at Barangaroo House is fab and very close to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship and Darling Harbour! They serve a very Australian menu (including Kangaroo steak), and there's this gorge view over the water...

Now, you want to go for a drink at Opera Bar to soak up the atmosphere and view (and hello! photo opportunity!), and then walk just a few meters back towards the city to the Pullman Hotel right on Circular Quay.

Inside the Pullman is the incredible Hacienda, a gorgeous restaurant with delicious food and cocktails, and another fabulous view over the harbour bridge and opera house! Make sure you don't have dessert though - you need to save yourself for a scoop (or three) of Gelato Messina on the way back to your hotel. My fave flavours are the Pear & Rhubarb, Apple Crumble, and Fig & Amaretti (I adore really sweet flavours).

Day 1 in Sydney - The City

One of my favourite foodie areas in Sydney is Surry Hills, which is where my old office is located. My favourite breakfast in the area is at Blacksmith in Surry Hills, right opposite Prince Alfred Park. They do such an incredible selection of Aussie dishes and the cafe itself is very trendy and instagrammable.

After breakfast either walk or get the train from Central Station one-stop up to Museum Station, which is one of the oldest stations in Sydney. It feels very 'London', and has lots of old advertisements and all of the signs are original. From there, walk up the long pathway through the middle of Hyde Park until you get to the fountain, and then turn left and keep going across the road.

Keep walking until you get to the pedestrianized Pitt Street, and then walk up the street towards St Martin's Place. Make sure you look up - the streets around here are filled with old buildings and it actually feels very European! Walk from Pitt Street over to the Royal Botanical Gardens and grab lunch at the cafe there. It really is the prettiest setting, and they do the very best Iced Chocolate's in Sydney. And make sure you don't miss the Calyx flower wall!

After lunch wander through the gardens and round to Mrs Macquarie's Chair for one of the best views over the city. It's generally pretty quiet round here - usually just filled with lots of runners on their lunch breaks - and the perfect spot for those souvenir photos.

If the sun is out jump in a taxi or Uber to Nielson Park in Vaucluse, which is where Shark Beach is located. This is one of my favourite beaches in Sydney and is very safe and great for swimming. The harbour beaches are much better for swimming than the ocean beaches due to the flat waters - the ocean beaches are always very choppy with fairly big waves. Also as the name of the beach suggests, it actually has a shark net because of the huge amount of Bull Sharks in Sydney Harbour. Swim within the net and you'll be just fine though!

After spending the afternoon on the beach jump back into an uber and head backt to The Langham to get changed and ready for the evening. I recommend dinner at Restaurant Hubert, one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney! You must get there early though as they have a no reservation policy and it's always super busy from about 6pm onwards with a long waiting list. Restaurant Hubert is an incredible French restaurant with very cool interiors, and the steak is one of the best I've had in Australia.

If it's a Friday or Saturday night when you're in town, have a mini bar crawl in the city. Start at Barber Shop (specialising in gin), then go to Baxter Inn, and then finally end up at Shady Pines Saloon (specialising in whisky) and Big Poppa's. If you want dancing, then Soda Factory just round the corner from Big Poppa's is one of my absolute favourites!

Take a look a my Favourite Bars in Sydney

Day 2 in Sydney - The Beaches

Rise and shine! If you're hungover from going out the night before, you need to get yourself in an uber or on a train/bus and go straight to North Bondi for brekky. Breakfast at Speedo's in Bondi Beach is a must, they do incredible vegan dishes and everything from smoothie bowls to french toast and insane pancakes covered in colourful fresh fruit!

Spend the morning on the beach, and then have lunch at Icebergs Dining Room. I know it seems like a lot of food, but Australia is ALL about the food! And you're going to need the energy for the epic Bondi to Coogee walk.

Bondi to Coogee is one of the most famous activities in Sydney, and a brilliant way to see the NSW coastline, and the walk begins just outside Icebergs. The walk is honestly breathtaking no matter what season or weather conditions, and takes around 3 hours one way. When you get to Coogee get the bus to Paddington to see a glimpse of a local suburb (and my old home for 18 months!).

If you get off the bus at William Street, there are some super cute shops in the area and there are often huge designer sample sales at Paddington Town Hall. Just opposite Paddo Town Hall is a large colonial styled building often used for pop-up art exhibitions. And don't miss the Paddington Reservoir Gardens! They're super pretty and only take 10minutes to have a wander around.

Depending on what you fancy for dinner, I recommend 10 William for great wine and exceptionally good Italian small plates (ideal if you had a big lunch at Icebergs), or The Paddington (not to be confused with Paddo Inn just down the road) for Australian food. The Paddington is great because you can keep it small by just nibbling on starters and salads, or go big with their famous chicken!

Whatever you do, DO NOT have dessert. You need to save your dessert stomach for Micky's Cafe, which is a 5-minute walk from both restaurants. Their thickshakes are LEGENDARY and you must have one! They have a huge list of different (and unusual) flavoured thickshakes, and they make them in-front of you and literally put half a tub of ice-cream in them to make them super thick and creamy. I personally recommend the Milo and Caramel, Gaytime, and Honeycomb Chocolate Fudge flavours, which the Honeycomb Choc Fudge being my absolute favourite. I will never understand why they put a plastic top onto it though, what a waste of energy and plastic.

After dinner and milkshake, it's a nice and easy 30-minute bus ride back to The Langham, or a quick 15-minutes in a taxi or Uber.

So there you have it, the ultimate Luxury in 48 Hours Sydney guide that incorporates a little bit of everything; touristy attractions and local neighbourhood must-do's! If you need more ideas for restaurants in Sydney, have a look at my favourite Sydney restaurants post, and make sure to check out my other Sydney posts. I'll be doing a more in-depth locals guide to Sydney towards the end of the year in time for Summer in Australia, so keep an eye out for that too!

Also you're probably wondering why there are no museums in this guide? To be honest, Sydney doesn't do museums well. They do some great pop-up art events (like the yearly Biennale, Sculptures by the Sea, and Vivid Sydney), but the museums are kinda rubbish if you're used to London or NYC museums.


PIN FOR LATER: How to spend two-days in Sydney, Australia! Tips and advice from a local on how to spend just 48 hours in Australia's most beautiful city.

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