With ocean pools, patrolled beaches, playgrounds and fun tours, Manly is perfect for a family day out. You’ll find plenty of kid-friendly places to eat or enjoy a family picnic under towering Norfolk Island pines that shade the picnic tables on the pretty promenade at iconic Manly Beach.
The beach curves 1.4km and is patrolled by three surf lifesaving clubs. Remember to always swim between the yellow and red flags. You can enrol the kids in surfing lessons, too. An ocean pool is at the northern end and a short scenic walk at the southern end will take you to Fairy Bower Pool.
Built in 1929, the rock pool is near gorgeous Shelly Beach in Cabbage Tree Bay, a marine sanctuary teeming with hundreds of brightly coloured fish species. Take the family on a snorkelling tour with Dive Centre Manly or EcoTreasures. Stand-up paddleboarding is popular too in the sheltered bay.
Free barbecue facilities are in the lovely park adjacent to Shelly Beach. Another wonderful way to experience the splendid coastline is on a bicycle, riding to the North Head for amazing views of Sydney Harbour and the ocean. Manly Bike Tours and Hire has bicycles to suit the whole family.
You can spot whales from North Head and other points in the Northern Beaches between May and November. For a closer look at majestic humpbacks migrating along the coast, there are whale-watching ocean tours in Manly, such as Manly Ocean Adventures and Manly Whale Watching.
At Manly Kayak Centre, near the ferry wharf, you can hire kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and explore the northern waters of Sydney Harbour, one the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. Or hire a yacht and skipper from Manly Sailing and take the family sailing on the harbour.