Manly in Sydney, has long beaches of golden sand, lined majestic Norfolk pines. And a sweeping seascape of sandstone cliffs. As soon as you step out of the ferry terminal, the aroma of sea salt and pine washes over you, and instant holiday mode sets in.
The kind of holiday mode that makes you want to buy a kombi van and run away with a long-haired, tattooed surfer.
But that’s not the only reason why you will never want to leave Manly.
The suburb juts out into the sea- with Manly Beach on one side and Harbour beach on the other. The southern end of the beach, nearest the Corso shopping strip, is named South Steyne. North Steyne is in the center and Queenscliff sits at the northern end.
Manly is not only the home to a string of golden beaches. It has magnificent man-made rock pools sprinkled like diamonds along the coast. For me, they are the essence of Sydney’s waterfront and they also give swimmers an alternative to an oceanfront swim.
Cabbage tree bay
After soaking up the sun on South Steyne beach, it’s time to go and pester the kids at Fairy Bower Rock Pool. Just take the path that leads to Shelly beach. (It’s an easy 750m walk to Shelly beach) This delightful rock pool is ideal for kids, you can see how shallow and safe it is.
Cabbage Tree Bay is also a magical snorkeling spot, it’s filled with spectacular tropical fish, including giant Blue Gropers, and sharks.
One of my favourite beaches is Shelly Beach, you can see it here behind me. It’s a sheltered little cove with a surf break making it popular with families and surfers alike.
It’s also home to The Boathouse cafe nestled on the foreshore. Enjoy breakfast or lunch, the food is superb, but be warned it’s overflowing in summer, so try to go early or mid-week.
WHAT TO DO IN MANLY
Manly is perfect place for adventure or to completely unwind. There are over 40 beaches to explore so claim your favourite spot and soak up the serenity. Come for the day, or indulge in weekend escape.
- Hire a snorkel and flippers, beach umbrellas, loungers, pretty much anything you need for a seaside vacation.
- Explore the national forest and discover secluded hidden beaches.
- Visit the numerous sea baths
- Hire a surfboard, or have a surfing lesson
- Go scuba diving
- Fishing and kayaking
- Check out the regular Food and Wine and Jazz Festivals along with the Australian Open of Surfing.
- Wander through the weekend markets and discover funky boutiques in hidden laneways
- Go shopping for new swimwear and beautiful beach side decor.
WHERE TO EAT in manly
Manly has an impressive food and bar scene. There are over 100 cafes, restaurants, bars, and eateries to tempt your taste buds.
The gourmet thin-crust pizzas, classic Italian dishes and cocktails are bliss. You will love Hugo’s on every level…for lunch, an afternoon drink, and appetizer, or full-blown dinner with friends…the food is always great.
2. the Boathouse
A beachside restaurant, cafe, and kiosk on Shelley Beach. The setting is divine and the food delicious. Get in early for breakfast, it fills up fast.. Rated 4.5 stars rating on Trip Advisor.
3. Hotel steyne
Hotel Steyne was built in 1859 making it one of Manly’s oldest buildings. It has a casual seafood bistro, a tapas and cocktail restaurant, a breakfast cafe, 6 bars including a rooftop option offering live music and sea views.
4. The Pantry
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From drinks and tapas to salads, and homemade desserts, you will love everything!
The Pantry has a 4.5-star rating on Trip Advisor from over 1000 reviews!
A Jamaican beach shack brings a little piece of the Caribbean to the northern beaches. A small, vibrant spot serving Jamaican classics.
Jamtown has a 4 star rating on Trip Advisor.
This Imaginative and modern Japanese restaurant never disappoints! The food is absolutely delicious and the cocktails are superb!
Sunset Sabi has a 4.5 star rating on Trip Advisor
If you’re up for a cosy drink or a bite among the books you’ll love Hemingway’s.
Hemingway’s has a 4 star rating on Trip Advisor.
An upmarket warehouse vibe, with a cocktail bar and Manhattan loft-style restaurant. A New York-inspired tapas menu and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Donny’s has a 4 stars rating on Trip Advisor.
take me to manly, Sydney
WHERE TO STAY
The only place to stay anywhere is at an Airbnb unless you have a kombi van, then always stay in the kombi!
Check out Airbnb in Manly
How to get there
- Travel around Sydney can be done by purchasing an opal card at any transport station with a booth or Newsagency. All trains, buses, and public ferries are swipe on and off. Super easy.
- Next jump on the Manly ferry its a wonderful 40-minute ride from Circular Quay. You’ll love the Manly ferry it feels like an adventure just riding on one of these iconic ladies as they’re fondly known.
- Head straight out the ferry exit and keep going straight, it’s a 5-minute walk to Manly beach. You can’t miss it.
WHAT TO PACK
- A backpack or beach bag
- Sunglasses + Hat + sunblock + lip balm
- Mobile Phone and portable iPhone charger
- A bottle of water
- A lightweight cotton towel
- A selfie stick if you’re traveling solo.
- Bathers ( I wear mine under my outfit)
- Beach dress Or Shorts and a top
- Comfortable walking shoes.
When I arrive in Manly I buy a newspaper. There’s nothing like reading the paper on the beach and enjoying a takeaway coffee to put you in vacation mode.
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