Four fabulous ways to spend 48 hours in Sydney

It's no secret that Sydney is a favourite weekend destination for Kiwis - after all, it's only a hop, skip and a jump of a medium-sized kangaroo away.

So why then, at the ripe old age of 27, had I yet to take in the vistas, shop up a storm, gorge myself on fine food and repeatedly talk in a bad Aussie accent no one asked for?

Enough was enough.

Not only would I take on Sydney for the first time ever, I'd do it with reckless abandon, immersing myself in as much of the city as I could get my mitts on in one weekend.

So, if you're sussing out how to spend your first 48 hours in Sydney, I've got four fun places to start.

Sydney Bridge Climb

Look, I'm not normally one for spontaneously scaling iconic bits of infrastructure, but I couldn't think of a better way to see Sydney if my life depended on it.

In fact, I really did connect with the concept of my own mortality a few times. Climbing down a ladder backwards over eight lanes of traffic is sure to get the heart racing, but that only adds to the experience.

Our tour guide Mitch had me laughing louder than a kookaburra from the moment we donned our jumpsuits and strapped on our harnesses - the combination of which made me feel like the stunt woman I never knew I wanted to be. 

Before I knew it, I was 132 metres above sea level, drinking in 360-degree views and learning facts about the bridge's construction that I'll annoy my friends with at every dinner party ever. 

You even get a free hat at the end of it all. Honestly, cannot fault it.

The Igloos at Pier One Sydney

All that adrenalin-junkie stuff is thirsty work, but not a qualm - a magical igloo awaits at Pier One Sydney, a harbour-side hotel that offers a different kind of dining experience.

That's right, hire yourself out a little snow globe of luxury for a long, lazy lunch and make all of your Instagram followers hate you forever with your jealously-inducing, self-indulgent photos.

In the spirit of it being my first time in the city - and in an igloo, for that matter - I decided I should put on my big girl pants and try my first ever oyster.

I wish it could say that it went well, but it did not.

Thankfully, our lovely waiter Edison did not witness my loss of composure, but he did bring a steady stream of off-menu cocktails, bubbles and mouth-watering morsels to help me wash it all down.

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Less than an hour's drive from the city centre, Featherdale Wildlife Park offered an opportunity for me to channel my inner Bindi Irwin, getting up close and personal with a host of Aussie creatures. 

It might be a little off the beaten track in terms of a classic tourist approach to Sydney, but jump in a rental car - the adventure is all worth it. 

I screamed in the face of a cassowary (sorry, but have you seen how scary those birds are?), cuddled a Wallaby joey and re-enacted Britney Spears' 2001 performance of 'I'm A Slave 4 U' with a python around my neck.

The keepers were super informative during the behind-the-scenes experience, and patient enough to deal with me hyperventilating in the reptile room.

Seriously guys, Australia has the weirdest animals in the world. You've got to go and meet them.

Dave's Pub Tours

Few things go better with a cold beer than a classic yarn, and Dave's Pub Tours offer a jaunt through the historic Rocks area of Sydney that brings those things together in beautiful, hoppy harmony.

Wandering the cobbled streets and alleyways for an afternoon, we were regaled with stories of the gangs, ghosts and glory days of the oldest watering holes in the notorious neighbourhood.

Not only is it a perfect way to meet some fellow tourists and sample the best local brews, it really can feel like you've managed to fit in a spot of time-travel before dinner.

My only complaint is that our Dave's Pub Tour guide was called Paul, not Dave, but he was a bloody legend so all is forgiven.

My feet were sore, my tummy was full and I couldn't have been happier. Sydney, you're a big hunk of spunk with a funny accent, and I think I'm in love with you. Call me.

Monika Barton visited Sydney as a guest of Destination NSW.