Manly: a seaside suburb with cosmopolitan buzz

Manly is famous for its relaxed coastal vibe, trendy cafes and restaurants, cool bars and beautiful, secluded beaches ideal for a range of recreational sports. Just across the harbour from the CBD, Manly has all the cosmopolitan buzz of the city centre and is the gateway to Sydney's beautiful Northern Beaches

GoNSWGoNSW1 year ago
Manly: a seaside suburb with cosmopolitan buzz

Getting there

Manly is just 10 kilometres from the Sydney CBD. Catch the Fast Manly Ferry from Circular Quay, which only takes 18 minutes, and offers spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the city.

Swim, surf and play

Manly is an aquatic playground — home to a myriad of water-based recreational activities, but the suburb is best known for its epic surf conditions. Manly Beach is where the first world surfing contest was held in 1964, so it’s no surprise that surfing is high on the list of many tourists visiting the seaside suburb. Manly Beach stretches out for three kilometres, curving around from South Steyne to North Steyne and Queenscliff, where a submerged reef, or bombora, creates the waves. If you want to learn to surf, sign up for lessons at Manly Surf School or Manly Surf Guide. Alternatively, take a dip at Fairy Bower Pool located along Marine Parade. Built by local residents in 1929, Fairy Bower rockpool is triangular in shape and one of many historic pools cut into the coastal rock along the New South Wales coast as saltwater bathing became popular.

Manly Beach
Manly Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Marine Parade
Marine Parade, Southport QLD, Australia

No trip to Manly is complete without a visit to picturesque Cabbage Tree Bay — an aquatic reserve that aims to protect marine life. It covers an area of approximately 20 hectares, from the southern end of Manly Beach, including the rocky shores and beaches, to the northern of Shelly Beach. Discover an array of fish and sea creatures as you swim, snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal clear waters.

Cabbage Tree Bay
Cabbage Tree Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Enjoy the tracks and trails

With a selection of scenic walking tracks and bike trails, Manly is an oasis for people who love the outdoors. Go on the Manly Lagoon to North Head Walk — a 10km coastal track that loops around to the end of North Head and offers views of towering cliffs, magnificent headlands and historic military sites.

Alternatively, embark on the 10km Manly to Spit Bridge walk and be rewarded with breathtaking views across the harbour. The track unravels through a mix of bushland and harbourside trails and series of short tracks crossing between stunning beaches, bays and inlets in North Sydney. The walk is well signposted and takes around three to four hours to complete. Stop at Reef Beach, Forty Baskets Beach, Fairlight Beach.

Reef Beach
Reef Beach, Balgowlah Heights NSW, Australia
Fairlight Beach
Fairlight Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Explore ancient Aboriginal rock engravings at Grotto Point — one of the best preserved in Sydney. You might even spot a humpback or southern right whale making its way along the coastline during the annual migration.

Grotto Point
Grotto Point, Clontarf NSW, Australia

If you prefer to be on wheels as you explore Manly, you can hire a bicycle from Manly Bike Tours and Hire and ride along the tree-lined promenade. With a large fleet of mountain bikes, cruisers, tandems and kids’ bikes they can cater to any of your needs.

Dine by the ocean

Manly is a hub for deluxe dining, trendy bars and historic hotels. If you’re looking for a stunning seaside dining experience, try The Boathouse at Shelly Beach. The menu is fresh modern Australian cuisine and the coastal decor, combined with the spectacular ocean views makes it a popular spot among locals and visitors.

The Boathouse Shelly Beach
The Boathouse Shelly Beach, Marine Parade, Manly NSW, Australia

For delicious thin-crust pizzas and classic cocktails, pay a visit to Hugos Manly. Located on Manly Wharf, the restaurant offers a contemporary Italian menu and stunning views of the glistening water across Manly Cove.

(Facebook: Hugos Manly)

Hugos Manly
Hugos Manly, East Esplanade, Manly NSW, Australia

Celebrate the quirky and colourful aspects of Japanese culture with a delightful meal at Daniel San. The Okinawa-inspired, Japanese Rock‘n’Roll bar is adventurous and energetic with an incredible menu to choose from.

Daniel San
Daniel San, North Steyne, Manly NSW, Australia

Make sure you sample a brew from one of Sydney’s original craft beer brands at 4 Pines. You can see the original microbrewery behind the bar and a rotating selection of beers on the taps. Grab one of the seats along the verandah for views out over the wharf.

Further north in Freshwater, discover traditional Italian meals inspired by Sardinia at the two-hatted fine dining restaurant, Pilu. Acclaimed celebrity chef Giovanni Pilu uses locally sourced ingredients to create an inspired Italian menu that can be enjoyed in a serene beach house.

Freshwater NSW, Australia

Shop at the markets

Don’t forget to swing by Manly Fresh Produce Markets and stock up on an incredible array of regionally grown produce, quality cheeses, olive oils and fresh flowers. Located at Manly Plaza, this much-loved farmers market, which runs each week on Sunday from 8am to 2pm, is a destination for locals, tourists, families, and Sunday brunch goers alike. Support emerging designers and artists at the Manly Marketplace every Saturday and Sunday. With eco-friendly items, artisan products, handcrafted jewelry, original art and vintage clothing, Manly Marketplace is a vibrant shopping experience.

Manly Fresh Produce Market
Manly Fresh Produce Market, Sydney Road, Manly NSW, Australia

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