Manly Beach, New South Wales

Manly Beach, Manly, NSW. © Destination NSW & Hamilton Lund

Manly Beach, New South Wales

Manly Beach is another of Australia’s most popular suburban beaches along Sydney’s long stretch of northern coastline. Manly Beach was named in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, because he was impressed by “the confidence and manly behaviour” of the area’s original Aboriginal population. Take the majestic Manly ferry from Circular Quay and in half an hour you’ll be at Manly Wharf. ‘Only seven miles from Sydney and a million miles from care’ is a phrase often quoted by the people of Manly. When you visit this seaside town you will quickly realise why.

Nestled between a tranquil Sydney Harbour beach on one side and a popular Pacific Ocean surf beach on the other, the laid-back character of Manly Beach seems a thousand miles from busy Sydney, yet it is only a ferry ride away.

Manly is a great Sydney beach for the whole family. From the harbour foreshore, the palm-tree lined Manly Corso leads you to the Steyne promenade, where a number of surf clothing shops sell everything from surfboards to bikinis.

The 1.5 kilometre-long golden Manly Beach has a sheltered ocean pool at one end. Queenscliff, at the northern end of the beach is a great spot to learn to surf as well as for experienced surfers. Many of Australia’s champion surfers learned at Manly Beach. At its southern end, a pathway curls from the Manly Surf Lifesaving Club to Shelley Beach that is a popular track for joggers, cyclists and locals.

On Manly's doorstep there are many beautiful bushwalks, bike-riding paths and historical sites.

The Manly Scenic Walkway meanders around the harbour foreshore from The Spit Bridge via Dobroyd Head to Manly through some of Sydney Harbour's most stunning scenery and bushland. It takes about three to four hours to complete.

North Head Sanctuary is one of Sydney's hidden treasures. Take a leisurely walk along the tracks through virtually untouched bushland and look out for native birds and animals. Take a guided tour of North Fort, an important military base from World War II.

Within the Sydney Harbour National Park at North Head, Q Station is the site of Australia's first and longest-running quarantine station and offers a fascinating insight into Australia’s early settlement.

Visit Oceanworld Manly and learn about the local marine life. At Penguin Cove you can see Manly's colony of Little Penguins. The charming Manly Art Gallery and Museum showcases the history of Manly and Sydney’s northern beaches. The collection includes examples of swimwear, sunglasses, hats, towels, beach bags and surfboards from the 1900s to the present.

Other popular activities include beach volleyball, kayaking and scuba diving. Manly also boasts many fine restaurants and cafes along the beachfront. It also has some lively music venues and pubs. On weekends a flea market sells original handmade arts and crafts, jewellery, photographs, and sculptures inspired by the local culture and lifestyle.

Manly is the start of Sydney’s long stretch of northern beaches which extend all the way to Palm Beach.

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