Manly is one of the popular beaches in the Sydney area and one of my favorites. I first came to this beach during my first trip to Sydney in 2007 and since then we have returned every visit.
The beach itself is always busy with sun worshipers, surfers, people swimming and the beach gawkers. The beach has nice sand and a good set of waves to make the bathers and surfers happy. My favorite thing to do at the beach is people watch. My husband and I can spend hours doing this admist the beautiful ocean backdrop. There is so much activity; you will not get bored in the least.
If the surf and crowds are a bit much for you a short walk down the beach is Shelly Beach and the salt water pool if you want calmer waters and less people.
If you are an adventure seeker and nature lover then you can't go past whale watching in Sydney. We had some friends from the UK visiting who had been whale watching up the coast and had regretfully gone with a larger tourist boat, so we wanted the most intimate experience as possible.
We found a local company Manly Ocean Adventures that operate off the Manly warf, which was perfect as we got the Manly Ferry with our guests from where their hotel was at Circular Quay.
It's an open top boat with a small group which was great as we got to know the tour operator and Manly local Blake who shared the local "know how" with us.
We got out near the heads and within 10 minutes or so we saw the first megalith mammal glide out of the ocean with one of her calves! As much as you can watch National Geographic or look at photos online, nothing can describe how truly epic these creatures are face to face!
It was great being in a boat of this size as we could get so much closer (not too close!) with the giants than i've been before.
This was a massive highlight for our guests and also us as Sydney locals!
The Corso in Manly is where the majority of restaurants, shops and businesses are located. The Corso stretches from the Harbour all the way to Manly Beach; so if you arrive by ferry it is only steps from the Ferry Terminal. Smaller streets jut out from this main street and have some cute shops and restaurants as well; it's good to explore them and see what you turn up. During one of our explorations we found a cute little street fair selling some really nice hand made jewelry and bath products....see you never know what treasure you might find.
As the Corso approaches the beach it gets a bit busier due to large amounts of restaurants with sidewalk seating;perfect for some dining al fresco. Food options range from cheap take away kiosks, reasonable pubs to more upmarket dining.
Shopping here is great especially if you are looking for beach attire and swimsuits. I have found some lovely swimsuits and accessories here along the Corso at a shop called the Big Swim(ladies check it out!). They have some large chain places such as Billabong and Rip Curl as well as local owned shops. It's a little piece of shopper's heaven.
A fun thing to do in Manly and one of my Favorites by the beach is the Eco Sculpture Walk. The walk begins at the Manly Surf Club and ends at the tranquil Shelly Beach. Along the walk are eleven sculptures depicting the history, marine life, plants and attractions of the area.
I love walking along the path and viewing the sculptures some are quite cute such as the Gloomy Octopus and the Little Penguin. Some are just whimsical; the Groper appearing out of the water and the scuba divers. It is a must see in my opinion and something that most people take for granted and just walk by on their way to the beach.
MANLY. To most people heading for the beach in Manly most choose to go to the Ocean beach. But, for those with families and little children the beach at the Manly Ferry wharf is protected. This beach on the West Esplanade is definately a place for mums dads and small children being protected there are no ocean wave activity and the beach has shallow waters .This is easy to find as it is directly at the Ferry Wharf. So, coming off the ferry from the city it is on your left hand side of the wharf.This is a Harbour Beach and is netted ..so, no nasties.. Also handy for mums is that there are local toilets handy and shops if needed.
This is also where a large beeding colony of Penguins are and can be seen at nights. This is a protected area and Please take notice of advisory safety signs..
NORTH HEAD RESERVE
A short drive from Manly Corso up Darley Road.just past the Manly Hospital will find you at the entrance to The Sydney Harbour National Park..you can drive right to the Headland and the views of Harbour entrance...South Head (opposite) and the Harbour back to the city and to Manly and Balmoral are excellent from here..it is a wonderful setting with open bushland and the displays of natural wildflowers are something ..you will also see many native birds and sometimes animals up here when it is quiet..if you are not driving..There is a bus that goes most of the way and drops you at the entrance to The Park..a lot of people choose to do the walk from here to the headland and back as it is easy...it is also one of many walks that are done from Manly Wharf.
The Manly Art Gallery is small but very interesting. I visited the Gallery and Museum yesterday, The Entrance was free and there was a huge exhibit of smimming costumes on display that had been worn on the beaches back to the turn of the last century.
This is the main theme of the museum all to do with beaches and beach wear. Also included was brief history on the laws then regarding how much of your body could be lawfully exposed. with some wonderful old photos. .Boy, How times have changed ,but I think the one piece suits were smart as the protected the wearer a lot more than the bikinis of today for both men and women.. There is a small art gallery here to be seen and talks on loacl artists and their works are to be heard on some sundays.The museum has on display different indiginous and pottery from various parts of the world.. I though this was a very different museum to say the least
When in Manly.. to get away from the crowded main beach there is a quiet little beach just around the point...can be seen from Manly Beach and a walkway makes it easy to get to. It is about a ten minute walk on a good pathway. The beach is known locally as Shelly Beach, it is an area ALSO, known as the Cabbage Tree Bay Reserve..(I"ve always known it as Fairey Bower)and we used to play here after school.....Shelly Beach is reached by a short walk around the point from the southern end of Manly Ocean beach. (South Steyne).The beach is protected from big surf and is popular with Mums and small kids..There is a grassed area to just lay and sunbake or a good sandy beach.bring along some picnic (meat) and use one of the BBq's that are here....located here also are public toilets and great outdoor showers..There is a snack bar here and also a nice restaurant.
WHEN VISITING MANLY ...THE BEACH IS SUCH A GREAT ATTRACTION...ALSO HAS GOOD SURF..ON THE BEACH FRONT THERE ARE MANY SURF OUTLETS THAT HIRE SURFBOARDS..SO...GET WET ..HIRE A BOARD ALSO THERE ARE SURF SCHOOLS THAT TEACH YOU "HOW TO SURF"..ENJOY THIS WONDERFUL STRETCH OF BEACH. TAKE CARE.
Most days Manly is an extremely popular place and Sunday is even more so with the Sunday markets.. Located at the end of the Corso (main thoroughfare from the Wharf to the Ocean beach).There were many lookers when I was there checking out some great photography on a popular stall.There are many different stalls to be found selling mainly souvenirs of Manly and Sydney in general..although other stalls are selling various handy work , paintings and craft items.
I wish we would have actually taken the time to visit Oceanworld, but we promised we would return.
According to some reading I recently did on the aquarium, it isn't large, but it does have some interesting exhibits like the Shark Tunnel and Great Barrier Reef to name a few. The aquarium prides itself in taking very well care of their animals and encourages children and adults alike to learn more about the wonderful array of species they exhibit.
Hours of operation: Daily from 10am - 5.30pm 25 December
Family (2A+2C) $45.95
Single Family (1A+2C) $31.95
Extra child on family ticket $6.00
Discounted Admission after 3.30 pm 15% off all prices
If you want to do a little surfing at one of Sydney's best surf beaches, then take a walk along Manly Beach to North Steyne Beach. You will find everything needed at the Dripping Wet Surf Shop.
Dripping Wet: Locker hire, surfboard and wetsuit hire. 95 North Steyne 9977 3549 www.drippingwetsurf.com
Sydney Harbour is the ultimate place to sail. You can either hire a yacht/ catamaran or hop onto a yacht as crew at Manly Skiff Club. The locals would be happy to have you along. Saturday and Wednesday are the main race days.
Sea Sydney Catamarans - 0438 920 997 www.seasydcats.com.au
The West Esplanade Park boasts a calmer side of Manly. The beach area is less crowded and the water is a great deal calmer than the other beaches. There are plenty of shady pines, picnic tables and soft sand to enjoy a nice sunny day.
The Manly Pathway of Olympians is a series of plaques commemorating great Olympians who hail from the Manly area. There are 80 plaques for now that span 100 years of Olympic games. The plaques list the name of the Olympian, sport, year and location of Olympic game.
This is one of those attractions that we had walked by several times before during our visits to Manly but never noticed until our November 2010 trip.