Two days in Sydney | Conference visiting guide

You’re coming for a conference or a business trip but what should you do? Here are the best things to do when you have two days in Sydney

Did you know that the city of Sydney surrounds the world’s largest natural harbour? Made up of 658 sprawling suburbs, home to more than five million people and continuously inhabited for approximately 60,000 years, Sydney is a rich destination for business and leisure travellers alike.

Coming for a conference or a business trip? Never visited Sydney before? We’ve rounded up the best things to make the perfect itinerary for two days in Sydney.

The world famous Bondi Beach is a must see for your two days in Sydney.1

DAY ONE: Enjoy the view

Breakfast by the ocean

Australian brekkie is arguably the best in the world. Combining the best of a Full English with American classics, European specialities and an Aussie twist, there’s usually something for everyone.

Our pick is The Manly Pavilion, built right on the stunning beach, where you can watch the surfers and smell the ocean while you eat. A local favourite.

Walk on the beach

Summer in Australia begins in November and fades away in March. During that time the sea temperature is around 20oC to 25oC while ambient temperatures range from 20oC to, occasionally, 40oC.

Sydney has the perfect beach climate and some of the best beaches in the world. World-famous Bondi Beach lies to the south-east of the city centre, with its unmistakable big waves and a long stretch of pristine, white sand.

On the northern side of the harbour is the fantastic Manly Beach which can be wavy or calm depending on the weather. A short walk from there is Shelly Beach which is always flat and great for snorkelling. There are even scuba dive lessons available there.

See the city with Sydney Bridge Climb

If you’re interested in climbing the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll need to book in advance. But it’s well worth it. The main climb takes around four hours and can be done at day, dawn or night.

Don’t worry too much if you’re afraid of heights, the climb itself is fairly simple: you’re just climbing a long, flat staircase with a spectacular view. Express Climb, which only takes two hours and lets you walk along the pathways suspended beneath the bridge – right over the water – before you ascend to the majestic view at the top of the bridge.

View of Sydney with interior reflection from O Bar Restaurant and Dining.2

Sydney’s best bars are perfect for watching the sunset

If you’re only in town for a short time, you need something spectacular.

The Opera Bar is underneath the Sydney Opera House and looks out across Circular Quay to the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It’s one of the best views in the world, with boats sailing by during the day and shining city lights after dark. Better yet, it’s surprisingly affordable for such a world-class location – not one to be missed.

If you’re looking for something more refined, why not try one of Sydney’s iconic skyline establishments for a stunning view of the city which stretches all the way along the harbour. We recommend the unique views of the O Bar and Dining revolving, or cocktails at the exclusive Blu Bar on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel.

Dine at one of the world’s best restaurants

Sydney has an excellent range of casual dining to cater for all cuisines and tastes – alongside some of the very best restaurants in the world.

Our two picks are Tetsuya’s unique French-Japanese fusion and Quay, which offers world class dining with a spectacular harbour view. The only caveat is that you’ll need to reserve your table early, as these not-be-missed experiences will be in high demand during the conference. If you miss out, Sydney’s got a number of fantastic choices.

Finish your evening at world-class casino Star

Sydney’s Star Casino has been a feature of Sydney for many years and offers an international-grade experience for thrill-seekers and party-goers of all budgets. Soon to be joined joined by the brand new Barangaroo Crown casino, the Star is just a short walk from the Darling Harbour conference centre.

DAY 2: Adventure Around Sydney Harbour

Sydney is built around the world’s largest natural harbour.3

Start the day on Sydney Harbour

There are plenty of spectacular Harbour Tours to choose from which leave from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, right on the doorstep of conference’s venue, the ICC Sydney.

For many, the grandest trip around the harbour is a simple ride on the the city’s ferries, which offer some lovely round trips. The pick of the bunch is the Manly ferry, which shuttles between Circular Quay and Manly in just 30 minutes.

Manly is one most beloved day trips in Sydney thanks to its beautiful beaches, and vibrant restaurants and bars. Be sure to start your day early, as the queues for the ferry can get pretty long around lunchtime.

A curious giraffe admires the view of the Opera House from Sydney’s Taronga Zoo

Meet the locals at Taronga Zoo

Perched on a charming hillside Sydney Harbour’s north shore, Taronga Zoo isn’t just one of the best zoos in the world, it’s got some of the best views in the world.

Choc-full of Australia’s entrancing wildlife the zoo is made even more incredible by the backdrop of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Don’t miss the seal show.

For a great day out with the family, catch the ferry from Circular Quay and ride the cable car up to the top (but beware, as the kids will want to ride more than once).

Humpback whales can be seen off the coast of Sydney during whale watching season

Head out to sea for Whale Watching

From April to mid-August Humpback whales swim past Sydney, as part of their migration northwards to mate. From August to mid-December they swim back south with their newborn calves.

While you go whale gazing from cliffs like South Head (at the mouth of the Harbour) and see them, there’s nothing like the thrill of the seaborne whale-watching tours which leave from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour.

Humpbacks love to put on a show. If you’ve not seen a 30-tonne animal launch itself out of the water just for kicks, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Closer to home: Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Sea Life Sydney and Madame Tussauds

If you’d prefer a less adventurous activity but still want to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife and culture, these three venues are a just short walk from the conference centre.

The Wild Life Sydney Zoo has a great collection of Australia’s amazing fauna, including a giant crocodile and cute wallabies that you can pet.

Next to that is the stunning Sea Life Sydney which houses all manner of marine wildlife and lets you walk beneath the water with sharks.

Madame Tussauds has some lifelike international celebrity waxworks, but may be a bit Australian-focused for some overseas visitors. If you’d like to see all three, book online and save money with combination tickets.