Manly Beach

Sydney Tourists and Sydneysiders debate over whether Manly or Bondi is the most popular beach in Sydney.  Just 15 minutes from Sydney’s CBD, Manly is a comprehensive seaside resort overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean.  At any given time of the day you will find Manly Fitness showing off including, walkers, joggers and bike riders trailing the coastline of the tree-laden walkway next to the beach. The easiest way to get to Manly from Sydney CBD is by ferry, a scenic route which sets the location apart.

Without doubt, Manly is the best beach north of Sydney, perfect for its swimming and surfing conditions.  There are plenty of surrounding restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs at Manly, to suit all tastes and budgets.

Manly Beach Photo’s
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Manly Shopping is also worth mentioning, with the number one destination being The Corso, a pedestrian mall running straight to the beach. Manly has always embodied a ‘village’ feel and this has made it a popular destination for tourists looking to unwind from the hype of Bondi and Sydney’s CBD.

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History of Manly Beach

In 1787 when Captain Arthur Phillip left England with a fleet of ships, they landed in New South Wales.  It was not long before they had discovered beautiful Manly Cove and all the scenic wonders of the area.  The region was given its name by European settlers who noticed the ‘manly’ behaviour of the local Aboriginal population. 

Manly existed very much as a village in the early days and while things in the region have changed and developed over time, this village feel has remained.  With plenty of shopping, dining, walking and surfing activities, Manly is just 15 minutes from the CBD and is surrounded on three sides by the sparkling Pacific Ocean with incredible views of the Sydney Harbour.


Manly Corso Sydney

The Manly Corso is a 200m pedestrian mall lined with Norfolk and Island pine trees running straight to Manly’s beautiful surf beaches.  The strip is a constant bustle of tourists and locals, with souvenir shops, snack bars and a 1930s façade.  An eclectic blend of young and old, the plaza shopping attracts people of every age with its easy going village feel.  One of the best things to do when you visit The Corso, is to buy some fish and chips from one of the shops and take it down to the beach to relax in the summer air on one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches.

Manly Beaches
Map of Sydney Surfing Spots Northern Beaches

Manly beaches are some of the best beaches on Sydney’s north side, with one of the longest and most beautiful ocean fronts.  North Steyne, South Steyne and Queenscliffe make up the surfing strip of Manly at about 3km long.  Considered to be the jewel of north side coast land by tourists as well as locals, Manly Beach is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on three sides, with breath taking harbour views.  A mixture of casual and trendy, Manly has managed to keep its boutique, easy going feel without morphing into a replica of Bondi.  With surfing a favourite pastime for many of the locals, some of Sydney’s best surfing waves can be found here.

• Shelly Beach
Shelly Beach is one of Sydney’s best beaches for kids as it is protected from the surf and is a safe swimming spot.  There are barbecue facilities, showers, toilets and a kiosk selling food and ice creams.  Located just a short walk from Manly, the area is a protected marine reserve so no fishing is allowed.  Scuba diving and snorkeling are a must for visitors wanting to see some of Australia’s colourful marine life.  There is also a short walk around the headland, which again, boasts great ocean views.

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• South Styne
South Styne Beach is far quieter and more accessible than Manly Beach and is primarily used by locals.  Boasting a contemporary Art Deco surf club, swimmers are cautioned to stay between the flags as tidal rips and surfing conditions are often dangerous. 

• North Styne Beach
A great beach to learn to surf, North Styne Beach is one of the best surfing beaches in Sydney.  Visitors may want to visit the surf shop just opposite the North Styne Surf Club which run surfing lessons and courses for beginners wanting to learn to surf.

• Queenscliff Beach
Queenscliff Beach is part of Sydney’s Northern Beaches and is about one mile with sand as golden as its visitors and a large foreshore.

• Freshwater Beach
Freshwater Beach is a beautiful spot north of Manly on the Peninsular.  Flanked at either side by a headland, it is a favourite beach with surfers and can produce excellent surf conditions.  It is the spot where surfing was officially introduced to Australians by Olympic champion Duke Kahanamoku.   There is also a large rock pool at the northern end and lifeguards patrol the water.

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Places of Interest Manly Beach

• Ocean World Manly
Placed on the beautiful Manly Cove Beach, visitors to Ocean World can watch sharks, stingrays, turtles, schools of fish and other marine life in the 4 million litre oceanarium.  There are guided tours and live shows to get visitors up close and personal to the crocodiles, snakes, spiders and sharks.

by Between a Rock @

• Manly School of Artillery
North Fort is in Manly’s North Head and is home to the National Artillery Museum, showcasing the history of Australian gunners.  The area was once occupied by a military base, however, the general public are now able to access the site from 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday, with guided tours on Wednesday and the weekend.  The Museum is located on North Head Scenic Drive and there is a café on site offering meals and light refreshments.

• North Head
During the whale watching season, North Head is one of the best spots in Sydney to watch these amazing mammals.  The best way to get there is to take a short 15 minute stroll through the Fairfax Walking Trail Heading in Manly.  The Sydney Harbour National Park at North Head shows off the incredible city skyline and the natural rugged beauty of South Head is worth taking a look at too.

• Manly Walks
With over 100km of natural heritage around Manly, be sure to pack your joggers so you can give yourself a walking tour of the area.  From short strolls to challenging hikes, Manly offers it all.  Perhaps its most loved route is the Manly to Spit walk, which takes you through harbour side suburbs, Australian bushland and subtropical forest, scenic harbour views and Aboriginal landmarks and in case those sights aren’t enough, you might even see some migrating whales.

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• Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club
The beginnings of this club can be traced back to 1921, with its origins on the Sydney Harbour at Balmain.  More recently, the licensed facilities have become very popular with the club’s members and friends, servicing as a boutique venue overlooking the spectacular water in Manly Cove. Sailing activities in this club have allowed its fleet to become one of the most competitive in Australia.  It is located on the corner of Stuart and East Esplanade Street, Manly.

• Manly Jazz Festival
What could be better than saxophones, jazz and a backdrop of Manly Beach?  The Manly Jazz Festival is held during the October long weekend and features around 70 free performances on six outdoor stages.  Running from lunch time until the evening, music fans from all over can be seen flocking to Manly to hear the cool tunes of the largest and longest running jazz festival of its kind.  The relaxed ambiance mixed with the beautiful ocean front setting, makes the festival second to none in the jazz world – be sure you don’t miss out.

by bernardoh @ by bernardoh @

• Manly Food and Wine Festival
The Manly Food and Wine Festival is one of Sydney’s largest community events and takes place on the first weekend in June.  Approximately 30 000 people are drawn to Manly’s beautiful beach shore to sample the area’s finest range of international cuisine.

• Manly Cinemas
When the summer sun gets too much, the shopping bags get too heavy, or you just need to relax somewhere dark and cool – why not take some time out at the Manly Cinemas.  Located at 43 East Esplanade, Manly, the cinema runs all the Hollywood blockbusters and session times can be accessed online daily.

• Manly Art Gallery and Museum
Located just four minutes walk from Manly Wharf, the gallery opened in 1930 as the first regional metropolitan one of its kind in New South Whales.  The Manly Art Gallery and Museum is a popular attraction for both tourists and locals alike, becoming a community hub for workshops, discussions with artists, recitals and performances.  The museum seeks to preserve details of Manly’s unique history, particularly that of its 20th century beach culture.

• Manly Whale Watching
When so much of Manly’s charm is inspired by the beach, what better way to immerse yourself in Australian culture, than to go out on an ocean adventure in search of whales!  If action on the water is your thing, then head to the Manly Wharf to begin your whale watching tour.

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How to get from Sydney CBD to Manly Beach?

• By Ferry
Manly Ferries departs from Circular Quay, (Pier 3 ) every 30 minutes. Don’t miss out on this memorable experience at Port Jackson, passing some of Sydney’s major tourist attractions.

Sydney Ferries and Cruises have numerous options to get to Manly, combining your travel arrangements to Manly Beach with a Sydney Harbour Cruise or tour is a great option.

The Manly Jetcat is probably the quickest way to get to Manly Beach from Sydney Harbour. (15 minutes).

• By Bus
The cheapest route is the 151 bus. Sydney Taxis are convenient and readily available in Sydney, however in peak hour it could cost you up to twice the usual fare to get from Manly to the city.

• From the airport to Manly
If you arrive to Sydney by yourself, public transport is the cheapest option and gives you a nice tour of the city.  To get from the airport to Manly, get the train for about 20 minutes to the Circular Quay Station.  On arrival, head towards the ocean side of the station and walk to Wharf 3.  Buy a ticket from Manly Ferries or Jetcat and you should land at Manly Wharf after about 15/30 minutes.

If your flight leaves the airport after 11pm, you will have to catch a taxi or Sydney shuttle bus as public transport after this hour is difficult.  The Manly Airport bus transfers visitors to and from the Manly region every day and night, with the first bus running at 4:30am.