Manly beach lifestyle
Making your way to Manly
One of Sydney's favourite beaches, Manly Beach has a casual atmosphere that feels a world away from the city – yet it's just a 30-minute ferry trip from Circular Quay. The scenic ferry ride through the harbour passes close to The Heads, where the sandstone cliffs at the harbour meet the ocean.
Things to do in Manly
Manly has it all: beautiful beaches, tranquil bays, coastal walks, and buzzing cafes and bars. Manly combines the best of Sydney's beach lifestyle with a relaxed village feel. Getting there is half the fun when you catch a ferry from Circular Quay – just 30 minutes later, you're at Manly Wharf, with its serene inner-harbour beach and waterfront restaurants and bars.
It's just a 5-minute walk along the Corso from Manly Wharf to the oceanfront promenade that's lined with Norfolk Island pine trees. This stretch of sand comprises several ocean beaches –Queenscliff, South Steyne and North Steyne.
Explore Manly on foot, rollerblade or bike, with pathways and coastal walks taking you further north to Freshwater Beach or around the headland to Shelly Beach, a lovely sheltered sandy cove with plenty of colourful fish for a fantastic snorkelling or scuba diving experience.
Away from the beach, there are plenty of things to see and do. If you prefer to gaze at the marine life while staying dry, Manly Sea Life Sanctuary always delights with its huge sharks, giant stingrays, turtles and shoals of fish. Brave adventure seekers can even dive with the sharks!
To get up close and personal with marine life, Dive Centre Manly offers training and expeditions for all levels. If you'd rather stay on top of the water, you'll find a number of surf schools by the beach. Manly Surf School has classes for beginners and advanced surfers throughout the year, and Fairy Bower is a right-hand reef break that's popular with experienced surfers.
The popular Manly to Spit Bridge scenic walk is 10 kilometres long and takes three to four hours to complete at a moderate pace. Along the way, you'll discover parks, reserves and outstanding views of Sydney Harbour.
And of course, your day in Manly wouldn't be complete without a stop for a bite to eat or a cocktail at one of the many cafes and restaurants along the waterfront.
If you're new to surfing, then Manly is one of the best places in the world to learn, while paddle boarding offers a different experience for those looking to enjoy the waves. Manly Surf School and Manly Stand Up Paddle School both provide all the equipment and guidance that beginners need.
In addition to water-based activities, such as kayaking and snorkelling, there are lots of things you can do around Manly. Get involved in a game of beach volleyball or hire a bike. There are also plenty of coastal walks to and from Manly that help you discover the true beauty of the area.
With such a prominent beach lifestyle, it's no surprise that Manly's seaside dining is in a league of its own. With small cafes serving some of the best coffees in Sydney, takeaways offering locally caught fish and a number of up-market restaurants along the beach and the wharf, you're never short of options.
Enjoy Sydney’s beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips.
Always swim between the red and yellow flags – surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It’s also a good idea to always swim with a friend.
Make sure you read any safety signs at the beach and you are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.
Check conditions before you go and find a patrolled beach by visiting www.beachsafe.org.au.