You only have 2 days to see Sydney? Key Attractions and things to do...

You only have 2 days and are wondering what you should do in Sydney. Here are some ideas of what we have enjoyed in Sydney. The first thing to do is to stay close to the action. It may cost more, but we have always stayed at the Park Hyatt in The Rocks. From here you are close to the Opera House, Harbour Tours, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the central business district and a whole host of great restaurants. In fact the Park Hyatt was rated as the number 1 hotel by Travel and Leisure Magazine for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in their August 2001 and 2002 edition.

Despite the wonderful service, this hotel is all about location, You are virtually on Sydney Harbour and wonderful views of downtown Sydney and the Opera House are available for most rooms. In fact this photograph was taken from our room during our last visit. Of course, this is not the only hotel in a great location and you can check our listing of hotels in New South Wales to do your own research.

Day 1:

  • Think about taking a harbour cruise on your first morning, especially if the weather is nice. This will give you a good feel about life in Sydney and how the city is laid out. I would recommend the longer cruise which can take a few hours. The beauty of this cruise is that you will get up close to the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and get a feel as to how the more affluent Australians live along the shoreline in the many small coves and bays. The cruises typically leave from Circular Quay in downtown Sydney which is a short walk from The Rocks. This is a nice way to have a relaxing start to the day over coffee, tea or something a little stronger if you desire. There are many cruise services available but one of the more prominent companies is Captain Cook Cruises.
  • By the end of the cruise you will no doubt be ready for lunch. A great place to sit outside and eat some of Australia's famous seafood is Doyles Restaurant which, once again, is very close to the Park Hyatt Hotel. It is located at the Harbour Bridge end of the International Overseas Shipping Terminal at Circular Quay The restaurant is directly opposite the Sydney Opera House, with breathtaking views of the Harbour. The King Prawns are a delicacy that you should try.

  • For the few hours that are left in the afternoon, you may just want to wander around The Rocks where you will find shopping arcades that have many unique shops, selling everything from Aboriginal crafts and Aussie bush-gear to the latest street-smart fashions. A slightly different shopping experience can be found on weekends, year-round, when the northern end of George Street comes alive with a covered outdoor market featuring original arts and crafts.

  • While, you are getting cleaned up for an evening out it is always nice to just sit on your balcony if you are staying at the Park Hyatt and watch the harbour traffic rush hour with the Opera House as a backdrop and enjoy one of the many good Australian wines. For dinner, there are any number of good restaurants and you can be sure that most of them in the area are fair to good but you may want to check with the concierge. A good choice during our last visit was Aria. It is located right next to the Sydney Opera House and the food and wine was excellent but expensive. However, you must remember that the exchange rate is very favorable currently (November, 2001). For an after dinner treat, it is only a short walk to the Opera House. You should book your tickets in advance.

Day 2:

  • Today, you can see another side of Sydney and have a lot of fun doing it. If I were you I would climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sounds crazy but it's not. There is a company called Bridge Climb that have the legal rights to take people on a tour all over the bridge. Of course this may not be advisable if you have a physical handicap as there is quite a lot of climbing involved as the name would suggest. The climb is very secure as you are always attached to the bridge and the pace is pretty slow so you will get plenty of time to rest. While you are enjoying the view, you will be able to listen to your guide give you a very interesting history of the bridge and the surrounding Sydney land marks. The whole tour should take around 3 hours.

  • After climbing the bridge, take a short taxi ride over to Darling Harbour to get some lunch. There are many restaurants on the waterfront in the Darling Harbour area. One restaurant that we have enjoyed is Nick's Seafood Restaurant but there are many other choices. After lunch, walk around and enjoy a range of world-class attractions offering exciting and unique experiences for every visitor. You can visit Australia's leading maritime & powerhouse museums, an aquarium, the world's largest movie screen, a laser show on the water and a magnificent Chinese Garden. Darling Harbour attractions are sure to inspire. When you are done with Darling Harbour, head on back to the hotel. One method is to catch a water taxi. This is a unique way to travel around Sydney. You should be able to identify them as they are yellow taxis not unlike the taxis in many U.S. cities expect they are boats. This is more expensive than a regular land taxi but it is more fun. The water taxi will drop you off right at the Park Hyatt. Ask the concierge about dinner reservations. If you want to go it alone, try some of the restaurants in and around The Rocks or Circular Quay. If you like to have a few cocktails after dinner, you may want to try one of the many local pubs. One of special interest is the Lord Nelson which is Sydney's oldest pub which and was built in 1836. You may want to take a taxi as it is a bit of a walk.

    Enjoy your quick trip to Sydney. Hopefully you will have more than 2 days. If not, we are sure that you will want to come back again.

Go to our Sydney Slide Show for more images of Sydney
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