Family Activities in Manly
For a fun-filled family day out, it's hard to go past Manly. This waterside suburb has it all, not only is there a world-class patrolled beach, but there are smaller coves and fantastic ocean pools in addition to playgrounds and picnic spots. You're also spoilt for choice when it comes to child-friendly places to eat.
Things to do
Manly is perfect for a family day out. For one thing, there's the beach which is a spacious 3km long and is patrolled by three surf lifesaving clubs, so you can rest assured there are safe places to swim between the yellow and red flags. Enrol active kids who are confident swimmers in surfing lessons.
You'll find an ocean pool at the northern end and Fairy Bower Pool at the southern end of the beach. Built in 1929, the rock pool is part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a marine sanctuary teeming with hundreds of brightly coloured fish species. Go snorkelling with Dive Centre Manly or EcoTreasures or hire a stand-up paddleboard.
Continue along the walkway and you'll find the pretty and petite Shelly Beach, which is more sheltered than Manly Beach. There's a park here with free BBQ facilities or if you prefer to pack a picnic, try and grab one of the many picnic tables under the towering Norfolk Island pines along the Manly Beach promenade.
You can also enjoy the coastline on land. Rent a bicycle from Manly Bike Tours and Hire and head up to North Head. Once you get to the top, the amazing views of Sydney Harbour and the ocean will make the uphill ride worthwhile. From there, there's a cycle path that takes you to Collins Flat Beach, a hidden harbour beach with views of The Heads.
North Head is an ideal position for whale watching during the migration period between May-November. If you want to get closer to these majestic humpbacks frolicking along the coastline it's a good idea to sign up for a whale-watching ocean tour, such as Manly Ocean Adventures and Manly Whale Watching, which depart from Manly Wharf.
Manly Kayak Centre, near the ferry wharf, is where you can hire kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to 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.
Eat & drink
There are plenty of kid-friendly places to eat in Manly where adults can enjoy themselves without worrying about the children misbehaving. You'll find a range of cafes and casual eateries on South Steyne, opposite the beach and children are welcome at the bars along the wharf, including the Manly Wharf Hotel and The Bavarian Manly Wharf.