Weekend Staycation: 48 Hours in Sydney

We may be biased, but Sydney really does have it all: a sparkling harbour, postcard-perfect beaches, a thriving food and cultural scene, and big-city sophistication. The city meets the sea in a beautiful way, and locals count themselves lucky to live here. While you could spend a lifetime exploring every nook, cranny and cove, if you’re just jetting in for a weekend or entertaining out-of-towners, it’s best to stick to the CBD.

Here’s our insider’s guide to spending two fun-filled days in Sydney.

Day 1


Photo Credit - Royal Botanic Gardens
Ro­yal Botanic Gardens

Beautiful and serene, the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to familiarise yourself with Australian wildlife. As you meander through, you’ll spot cockatoos, lizards, possums and butterflies, and colourful flowers in bloom. For a panoramic view of the harbour, the best vantage point (and photo op) is Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.

Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney

Sydney Opera House

Exit The Royal Botanic Garden and walk around the harbour foreshore until you reach the Sydney Opera House for a matinee show. Every day, talented artists take the stage for theatre, dance, music and, of course, opera performances so be sure to book your tickets in advance. You can also tack on a tour to learn about the building’s history.

Bennelong Point, Sydney


Photo Credit - Pullman Quay Grand
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

Check into this impeccable five-star hotel for a chic overnight stay. Offering beautiful harbour-side and garden front rooms, the Pullman Quay Grand has a modern feel with stunning views from every room. Its luxe décor has made it a destination within itself. With a decadent restaurant and beautiful bar onsite (more on these later), everything you need for an unforgettable staycation is right within these elegant walls.

61 Macquarie Street, Sydney


A stay in the city would not be complete without shopping at the Queen Victoria Building. The QVB is a heritage landmark and has had many lives before becoming the shopping mecca it is today. High-street flagships share real estate with exclusive designer labels, and the vintage shopfronts are juxtaposed with the contemporary interiors. For one-of-a-kind accessories, Pushmataaha is the Sydneysider’s go-to and Camilla cannot be beaten when it comes to luxe-boho threads.

455 George Street, Sydney


Photo credit - Q Dining
Q Dining

In a city full of restaurants, choosing just one to dine at is difficult. The beauty of staying at the Pullman Quay Grand is that you have Q Dining just down the corridor. Following a full refurbishment, the polished Q Dining combines a modern colour palette and refined furnishings, with ethical eats and a beautiful backdrop to deliver the ultimate harbour-side dining experience.

Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour – 61 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Photo Credit - Haceinda

For an after-dinner drink, Hacienda is the place to go. Also situated within the Pullman Quay Grand, this plantation-style bar is what Insta dreams are made of, with its pastel-pink interiors and artfully strewn greenery. Offering a select food menu with Caribbean inclinations, a curated cocktail list and ample choices of dark liquors – rum and whiskey being the natural preferences – let the sights and sounds transport you to Havana.

Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour – 61 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Day 2


Photo Credit - Barangaroo House

From the Pullman Quay Grand, take a short walk around the harbour’s edge through Barangaroo Reserve to reach one of Sydney’s coolest new precincts. Since opening, the Barangaroo precinct has developed into one of the city’s premium foodie destinations with a bar/restaurant/bistro/café around every corner. Stop in for a coffee while you hit the pavement and explore the city. Campos is a must for caffeine fiends, and for tea lovers, The Rabbit Hole is the place to be.

Photo Credit - Pier One, Jarrad Seng
Walsh Bay

Tucked away on the west side of the Harbour Bridge, waterfront Walsh Bar is an enclave of culture. On the pier, Hickson Road is bustling with bars, restaurants and theatres – the district is home to theSydney Theatre Company,Sydney Dance Company, andSydney Philharmonia Choirs. At the Roslyn Packer Theatrethroughout May, you can see Tennessee Williams’ renowned play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof


Photo Credit - MCA
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Keen for an art fix? Stroll down George Street to Circular Quay and pay the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA Australia) a visit. Entry is free, though some special exhibitions are ticketed. Inside the Art Deco-inspired building with a custom modern five-storey wing, you’ll find a range of cutting-edge art in paint, photography and film form. For a quick bite or afternoon pick-me-up, head to the MCA Café on the rooftop and enjoy the uninterrupted harbour views.

Harbour Bridge Climb

The harbour is the jewel in Sydney’s crown, and the best way to see it in all its glory is from above. If you are looking for a bit of adventure, the Bridge Climb is a breathtaking experience and it’s even better at twilight, where you can watch the sun dip into the horizon. The climb takes just over three hours, though you can choose a shorter tour if you’re not-so-keen on heights.

3 Cumberland St, The Rocks; from $174


The Rocks

Let’s go back to the beginning – of Sydney’s history, that is. The Rocks is the oldest part of the city, and it’s a charming peek into the past: think cobblestoned streets, tiny laneways, sprawling pubs and colonial buildings. Stroll through The Rocks Square, Gloucester Walk and Campbells Cove, and check out The Rocks Discovery Museum. If you’re there on the weekend, wander the open-air market and pick up a handcrafted treat.


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