What To Do For 36 Hours In Sydney, Australia

36 hours in sydney
| 8 min read

The city of Sydney is, for most people, the showpiece city of Australia. With its exceptional coastline and attractive beaches, it’s always a popular choice with the watersports and sunbathing aficionados, while the nightlife and shopping opportunities are unmatched throughout the nation. It’s hard to break the city down into just two days’ worth of things to see and do, but we’re certainly going to try. If you’re planning to take a quick trip to the Emerald City, you can check out this itinerary and see what to do for 36 hours in Sydney, Australia.

Day 1: Afternoon

Start with a tasty bite at Mode Kitchen and Bar

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Skip dinner and go straight to dessert..... Chef @zquentin and Chef @elliott_roussel have certainly been busy! #agfg #sydneyrestaurant #dessertplease

Posted by Mode Kitchen & Bar on Saturday, April 17, 2021

Mode Kitchen and Bar is a truly amazing restaurant in Sydney, with a particularly good reputation for its focus on fresh produce and ensuring a pleasant, enjoyable atmosphere for guests. The food is straightforward but interesting and exquisitely prepared; menu highlights include grilled spring chicken from the lunch menu and grilled baby calamari from the fantastic evening menu. If you don’t have time for a full sit-down meal, you can visit the bar to try a signature cocktail such as the Herbaijito and sample the snacks, which include oysters and crispy polenta chips.

Mode Kitchen and Bar

Address: 199 George Street Ground Floor, Sydney NSW 2000

Website: Mode Kitchen and Bar

Opening hours: 12pm - 10pm (daily)

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Absorb a little knowledge at State Library of New South Wales

State Library of NSW (2016)
Source: Photo by user Batsv used under CC BY-SA 4.0

State Library of New South Wales is actually the oldest library in the whole of Australia, so any bibliophile will definitely want to see it for themselves when visiting Sydney. The library is home to a wide volume of collections, such as Donald MacPherson Collection of Art and Literature and the Indigenous Languages Collection. This attraction provides a quiet, tranquil setting that any visitor will love. The library also offers exhibitions, workshops, and tours, and even has a cafe on-site for maximum convenience.

State Library of New South Wales

Address: Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

Website: State Library of New South Wales

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 8pm; Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 5pm

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Take a tour of Sydney Opera House (from USD 28.0)

Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic sites in the world, a fact that is confirmed by the structure’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. If you’re planning to visit Sydney, then visiting this impressive opera house is an absolute must. You can take a guided walking tour that lets you learn more about the history of the site and, with a tour, you can also glimpse the parts that are usually off-limits to the general public. This is a real treat of an experience that is sure to live long in your memory.

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Sydney Opera House Official Guided Walking Tour

Duration: 1 hour

2079 reviews

Sydney Tour Guide

Jo Henwood

Jo Henwood

Jo Henwood has been a Tour Guide since 1998, working primarily as a site Guide and Education Officer in many heritage sites around Sydney, building a rich understanding of Sydney’s history and culture, particularly around the Harbour. Jo is passionate about sharing stories about Sydney’s history, leading her own walking tours in Windsor and Liverpool, and women’s history tours of Sydney. Jo is an Accredited Storyteller with Australian Storytellers, an accredited Professional Guide with the Institute of Australian Tour Guides, and a member of Interpretation Australia and the Australian Folklore Network. She coordinates the Australian Fairy Tale Society. Jo’s qualifications include BA (Library Science), Tour Guiding Cert III, Grad Dip Museum Studies, Grad Cert Gifted Ed, and M. Cultural Heritage.

Tours by Jo

Day 1: Evening

Explore spooky Sydney at The Rocks (from USD 36.0)

The Rocks is a part of Sydney that is steeped in history and should be considered an essential stop for anyone visiting the city. You can explore the fantastic shopping and dining options in the area and immerse yourself in the unique, mellow atmosphere, or instead choose to take a ghost tour that offers a chance to learn more about the difficult past this city has seen. The Rocks is an absolute gem where, regardless of how you choose to spend your time, you can be sure of a fantastic experience.

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Sydney: The Rocks Haunted Walking Tour

Duration: 90 to 120 minutes

10 reviews

Take a bike ride across Sydney Harbour Bridge (from USD 97.04)

36 hours in sydney | take a bike ride across sydney harbour bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge is a popular choice for any visitor to the city. This fantastic structure that opened in 1932 is famous throughout the world and provides a great chance to see Sydney at its very best. You can walk across the entire length of the bridge if you wish, or instead choose to take a bicycle tour. Both activities provide the opportunity to make the most of the amazing views this attraction can provide.

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Scenic Sydney Harbour Bridge Bicycle Ride

Duration: 5.0 hour

23 reviews

Enjoy a top culinary experience at William Blue Dining

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Sydney is a city that has long enjoyed popularity with foodies, and William Blue Dining should prove to be a great choice for those seeking an amazing culinary experience. The establishment is actually a training centre of sorts, but this just adds to the overall sense of adventure. If you decide to dine here, you can definitely expect the food to be of the highest of quality. The staff is excellent and you’ll be able to sample from the delicious menu options while relaxing in the bright, cheerful atmosphere.

William Blue Dining

Address: 107 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000

Website: William Blue Dining

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

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Day 1: Night

Enjoy a glass with a fragrant bouquet at Urban Winery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Australia is famed for the quality of its wine, and a visit to Urban Winery Sydney provides the perfect opportunity to sample some of the country’s most famous wares for yourself. However, this is more than just a place to enjoy a beverage - you can also take this opportunity to learn more about winemaking too. While here, you can blend your own concoctions, take a tour of the entire winery, and even try grape stomping if you’re looking for a particularly unusual experience!

Urban Winery

Address: Moore Park NSW 2021

Website: Urban Winery

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Have a few laughs at Comedy Store Sydney

Comedy Store Sydney is, as one might have guessed, a comedy venue that hosts a raft of amazing and well-known comedians. Some of the famous names that have performed here include Micky Bartlett, Anthony Locascio, and Geraldine Hickey, and there are also events where a number of acts take the stage to impress the audience with their wit. You can enjoy a direct-to-table drink service during your time at this venue and even nibble on some snacks for a complete trip.

Comedy Store Sydney

Address: 122 Lang Rd, Moore Park NSW 2021

Website: Comedy Store Sydney

Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 6pm - 11pm (closed from Sun - Wed)

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Day 2: Morning

Stop for a snack at the Sandwich Factory

36 hours in sydney | stop for a snack at the sandwich factory
Source: instagram

The Hole In The Wall Sandwich Factory is the perfect stopping point for anyone visiting the city. If you want to take a quick pause for some great food while sightseeing, this is one of the best options. The establishment does not allow people to dine-in, and instead, they offer an incredible array of options to take away. This is ideal if you’re looking to grab something while on the move. Sandwiches are the main focal point of the menu, but there are also options such as pastries and cheese platters, plus a range of drinks available to try.

Sandwich Factory

Address: 229 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

Website: Sandwich Factory

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 3:30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

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Pay a visit to Royal Botanic Garden at Sydney (from USD 35.0)

Botanic gardens are always a highlight, and the Royal Botanic Garden at Sydney is particularly impressive. Spread over 30 acres (12.14 hectares), the entire site is dedicated to providing information about plants and the natural world, including a number of birds. There are numerous exhibitions, tours, and events such as the present Aboriginal Heritage Tour that looks into how the indigenous people used local plant life to thrive in the Outback. The city centre location is incredibly convenient, the gardens themselves are perfectly maintained and, overall, you can while away a pleasant few hours at this fantastic site.

Tip from tour guide



Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park

Just a short walk away from here is Hyde Park, a must-visit spot for history buffs. Don't miss the Archibald Fountain while here. It was built as a mark of Australia's alliance with France during World War I.

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Aboriginal Heritage Tour at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

2 reviews

Check out works of genius at Art Gallery of NSW

Art Gallery of NSW
Source: Photo by user Merryjack used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW) dates back to the 19th century and has plenty of wonders that will surely delight any visitor. Located in the Domain - a spectacular building worth seeing in and of itself - the gallery includes a wide variety of art types, including Australian, Asian, Pacific, and Western art, all of which can be explored at your leisure or by booking a tour with one of the expert guides.

Art Gallery of NSW

Address: Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000

Website: Art Gallery of NSW

Opening hours: 10 am - 5pm (daily)

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Day 2: Afternoon

Treat yourself to the food at Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar is a quaint bistro situated close to Bondi Beach. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, the menu is impressive, and each dish is prepared to perfection. During the day, you can enjoy an all-day brunch or a salad for lunch after spending some time at the nearby beach. Visit at night and you’ll have the choice of sophisticated options such as dijon-marinated lamb rump or chargrilled rib eye, as well as a dark chocolate crème brûlée with lemon sorbet for dessert.

Brown Sugar

Address: 106 Curlewis St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Website: Brown Sugar

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 6pm - 11pm; Fri - Sun: 8:30am - 2:30pm, 6pm - 11pm

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Admire the view at Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

The Bondi Beach side of the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk
Source: Photo by user John Menard used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to see the might of the incredible Australian coastline in person. This popular trail is just over 3 kilometres (1.86 miles) in length, so it’s long enough to give you a chance to see the majesty of the natural scenery, but not so long that completing the walk will take an entire day. Along the route, you’ll be able to admire the cliffs and peer down over the stunning beaches below.

Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Address: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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Head to the legendary Bondi Beach (from USD 84.65)

head to the legendary bondi beach

Of all the many reasons people choose to visit Australia, the beaches are amongst the most popular - and there’s one beach that stands above the rest as the most instantly recognisable: Bondi Beach. The semi-circle of white golden sand combined with the stunning blue waters combine to create a stunning vista. There’s plenty to do and see in the area, too: water sports such as surfing are common, or you can unwind in one of the nearby eateries and enjoy the view of the ocean.

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Bondi Beach: 2-Hour Surf Lesson Experience for Any Level

Duration: 2.0 hour

294 reviews

Day 2: Evening

Take in a show at Sydney Opera House (from USD 73.0)

If you’re a fan of opera, then a trip to Sydney Opera House to see a live performance guarantees an experience unlike any other. From La Boheme and Carmen to Don Giovanni, the performance choices are wide-ranging enough to ensure that there is something for every personal preference. Besides enjoying the performance itself, you’ll also have the chance to enjoy the splendour of its incredible interior.

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Opera Performance at the Sydney Opera House

Duration: 2 to 4 hours

223 reviews

See the remarkable Man O'War Steps

Man O'War Steps in 2019 from Opera House steps
Source: Photo by user Collywolly used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Originally built in 1810, the Man O'War Steps have become popular with visitors to Sydney both for their historical significance and their close proximity to some of the most famous sites in the city. The “steps” were originally used as a jetty, where the crew would join docked ships or load supplies. This site is now included in the New South Wales State Heritage Register. If intending to visit the Opera House or the Royal Botanic Gardens, visiting the Steps is very straightforward - they can be found on the eastern side of the headland, and they are definitely worth seeing.

Man O' War Steps

Address: Farm Cove Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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Taste seafood delicacies at Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar has developed a reputation as one of the best seafood restaurants in Sydney. This establishment is located close to the water and offers spectacular views to diners. The atmosphere is light, pleasant, and thoroughly enjoyable. The food, however, takes centre stage for good reason: the menu is expansive, and every dish - such as the Cone Bay barramundi or the incredible “surf and turf” option - is prepared to perfection. The decadent desserts are the perfect finishing touch to an amazing evening.

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

Address: 1 Circular Quay East, Sydney NSW 2000

Website: Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

Opening hours: 11am - 10:30pm (daily)

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Day 2: Night

Eat, drink, and dance at The Scary Canary

The Scary Canary in Sydney has, over the years, cultivated a reputation as the best place for backpackers to party the night away - but the establishment and the amazing evening it can provide is open to all and absolutely worth a visit. There’s food available if you want to grab a bite to eat. Expect fares such as simple but delicious burgers, salads and chicken wings, plus a good range of drink options. This is the place to revel in the amazing music and the electric party atmosphere.

The Scary Canary

Address: 469 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000

Website: The Scary Canary

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 3am; Sun: 12pm - 4am

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Boogie on down at Rock Lily

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Rock Lily is a live event venue that hosts a variety of different performances, from comedy to live music, across a variety of different genres. If you’re in Sydney, you can be sure there’s always something entertaining going on here. Located within the renowned Star Sydney hotel, the venue offers an exciting atmosphere and a great interior space that ensures whatever type of act you’re going to see, you’ll have a fantastic time while doing so.

Rock Lily

Address: Level 1, The Star Sydney, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009

Website: Rock Lily

Opening hours: Wed - Thu: 6pm - 12am; Fri - Sun: 5pm - 3am (closed on Mon & Tue)

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Scintillating Sydney is the perfect place to have a quick getaway

Sydney is Australia’s largest city in terms of population and in terms of personality. There is always something going on here, something to see and do - and more importantly, something good to eat and drink. You’ll never tire of this remarkable Australian metropolis, the so-called Emerald City of the East Coast. If you’ve got just a few days to spare here, these are some of the places you absolutely must visit on your trip.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Antonia Kelly is a freelance writer based in Leicester, UK and she enjoys European travel as well as road trips closer to home. Her favourite domestic destinations include Snowdonia and the Brecon...Read more

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