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An Afternoon Trip To Manly, Sydney


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Reta Ehlers



Located on the picturesque coastline of Sydney, Australia, Manly is a vibrant and popular beachside suburb that offers a perfect escape from the bustling city. With its stunning beaches, charming streets, and a wide range of activities and attractions, Manly is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.


Known for its laid-back atmosphere and outdoor lifestyle, Manly offers an array of attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the local shops and restaurants, or embark on an adventure, Manly has something for everyone.


One of the best ways to reach Manly is by taking a ferry from Circular Quay. This scenic ride offers breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the city’s iconic landmarks before you even arrive in Manly. The ferry ride itself is an experience not to be missed, providing a unique perspective of Sydney’s coastal landscape.


Once in Manly, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the stunning Manly Beach, a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and various water activities. The beach boasts golden sands and crystal-clear waters, making it a picture-perfect destination for beach lovers.


Aside from its natural beauty, Manly also offers a vibrant shopping and dining scene. The Corso, a pedestrian street that runs from the ferry terminal to the beach, is lined with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, browse for unique souvenirs, or simply soak in the lively atmosphere.


If you’re interested in marine life, a visit to the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary is a must. The sanctuary is home to a wide range of marine creatures, including sharks, penguins, and tropical fish. You can even participate in interactive experiences such as shark dives and penguin encounters, providing a thrilling and educational adventure.


For those seeking a more serene experience, Shelly Beach is a hidden gem nestled between two headlands. With its calm waters and tranquil surroundings, Shelly Beach is the perfect spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply unwinding on the sand.


Manly also has a rich indigenous heritage, and visitors can explore the local Aboriginal culture through the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. This guided tour takes you on a journey through the history and traditions of the original inhabitants of the area, providing a deeper understanding of the land and its significance.


If you’re a nature enthusiast, Manly offers an extensive network of coastal walks that allow you to explore the stunning coastline and take in the breathtaking views. The Manly to Spit Bridge Walk and the North Head Sanctuary Walk are popular options that showcase the natural beauty of the area.


After a day of exploration, you can unwind at one of the many restaurants and bars in Manly, offering a variety of cuisines and atmospheres. From fresh seafood to international delights, Manly’s dining scene has something to satisfy all taste buds.


As the sun sets, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach or indulge in some shopping at the local boutiques. With its laid-back charm and diverse offerings, Manly is a destination that will leave you wanting to come back for more.


How to Get to Manly

Getting to Manly is a breeze and offers the opportunity to enjoy one of Sydney’s most scenic ferry rides. One of the most popular and iconic ways to reach Manly is by taking a ferry from Circular Quay, located in the heart of the city.


Circular Quay is a major transportation hub in Sydney, and you can easily reach it by train, bus, or by foot if you’re staying in the central business district. Once at Circular Quay, head towards the ferry terminal, where you’ll find regular ferry services to Manly.


The ferry ride itself is an experience not to be missed. As you glide across the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It’s a great way to soak in the beauty of the city while heading towards your destination.


The ferry services to Manly run regularly throughout the day, with more frequent services during peak times. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, providing ample time to enjoy the panoramic views and capture some Instagram-worthy photos.


If you prefer a shorter journey, you can also take a private water taxi or hire a kayak to paddle your way to Manly. These options offer a more personalized and adventurous experience, allowing you to enjoy the scenic coastal views at your own pace.


Once you arrive in Manly, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the action. The ferry terminal is conveniently located near the stunning Manly Beach, ensuring that you’re just steps away from the golden sands and crystal-clear waters.


If you’re driving to Manly, there are several parking options available near the ferry terminal and around the suburb. However, keep in mind that parking can be limited, especially during peak times, so it’s advisable to arrive early or consider alternative transportation options.


Public transportation is also a convenient way to reach Manly. Bus services operate regularly from various locations in Sydney, including the city center and surrounding suburbs. The buses provide a direct route to Manly, allowing you to sit back and relax while enjoying the scenic journey.


In summary, reaching Manly is easy and offers the opportunity to enjoy a picturesque ferry ride across Sydney Harbour. Whether you choose to take a ferry, hire a water taxi, paddle your way in a kayak, or opt for public transportation, getting to Manly is the start of an unforgettable beachside adventure.


The Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly is not only a means of transportation but also a delightful experience in itself. Known as one of the most scenic ferry rides in Sydney, it offers passengers breathtaking views and a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of Sydney Harbour.


As you board the ferry, find a comfortable seat and get ready to witness some iconic landmarks from a unique perspective. The ferry glides through the sparkling waters, passing by the world-famous Sydney Opera House and the majestic Harbour Bridge. The sight of these architectural marvels against the backdrop of the clear blue sky and the glistening water is truly a sight to behold.


As the ferry leaves Circular Quay, you’ll gradually leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and enter into a more serene and relaxed atmosphere. The views of the Sydney skyline will gradually give way to the lush green headlands and golden sandy beaches that line the coast.


Throughout the journey, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the stunning coastline, dotted with picturesque bays and charming seaside suburbs. The ferry ride offers a unique perspective of the city’s natural beauty, showcasing the rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and inviting turquoise waters.


Make sure to have your camera ready, as there will be plenty of opportunities to capture Instagram-worthy photos. The changing perspectives and the play of light and shadow will provide you with countless photo-worthy moments.


The ferry ride is not just about the views, but also about the experience. The gentle rocking of the ferry, the cool breeze on your face, and the sounds of the water lapping against the hull create a soothing and relaxing ambiance.


During the journey, you can indulge in some onboard amenities to make your trip even more enjoyable. Grab a cup of coffee or a refreshing beverage from the onboard café, and sit back as you sip your drink and take in the stunning surroundings.


Whether you choose to sit indoors and enjoy the comfort of the air-conditioned cabin or opt for a seat on the outdoor deck to feel the wind in your hair, the ferry ride offers a unique experience for every passenger.


The ferry services run regularly throughout the day, providing flexibility for visitors to plan their trip to Manly. Whether you’re heading to Manly for a day trip or spending a few nights, the ferry ride is an essential part of the experience.


So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey as you make your way to Manly. Let the beauty of Sydney Harbour unfold before your eyes, and get ready for the adventures that await you on the other side.


Exploring Manly Beach

Manly Beach, with its stunning coastal beauty, is the crown jewel of this vibrant suburb. Nestled between two headlands, it offers visitors a perfect blend of natural wonders and a lively beachside atmosphere. With its golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and a range of activities to enjoy, Manly Beach is a must-visit destination for beach lovers.


One of the main attractions of Manly Beach is, of course, the beach itself. Stretching for approximately 1.5 kilometers, it provides plenty of space for sunbathing, beach sports, and leisurely strolls. Whether you want to swim, surf, or simply relax on the sand, Manly Beach has something for everyone.


The beach is divided into three sections, known as North Steyne, South Steyne, and Queenscliff. Each section offers a slightly different atmosphere and amenities, catering to various preferences. North Steyne is the hub of beach activity, with a buzzing promenade lined with cafes and surf shops, while South Steyne is known for its scenic views and quieter vibe.


If you’re a surfing enthusiast or want to try your hand at catching some waves, Manly Beach is a great spot for all skill levels. The beach’s exposed location means it receives consistent swells, making it popular among surfers. You can even take surf lessons from one of the local surf schools and ride the waves like a pro.


Aside from surfing, Manly Beach offers a range of water activities to enjoy. You can rent stand-up paddleboards or kayaks and explore the scenic coastline while getting a workout. Snorkeling and scuba diving are also popular options, particularly at nearby Shelly Beach, which boasts a protected marine reserve teeming with colorful fish and marine life.


For those who prefer to stay on land, Manly Beach offers a picturesque promenade to take a leisurely stroll or go for a jog. The Palm Beach to Manly Walk, also known as the Manly Scenic Walkway, is a popular coastal trail that allows you to explore the stunning coastline and take in breathtaking views along the way.


If you’re visiting with children, Manly Beach has you covered with its family-friendly amenities. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards, ensuring a safe swimming environment. There are also designated areas for picnics and barbecues, making it a great spot for a family gathering or a relaxed beachside feast.


When you’ve had your fill of sun and surf, head to one of the beachfront cafes or restaurants to refuel. Here, you can enjoy a delicious meal while soaking in the laid-back atmosphere and taking in the panoramic views of the ocean.


Exploring Manly Beach is not just about the beach itself; it’s about immersing yourself in the beachside lifestyle and embracing the beauty of the coastal surroundings. So, grab your towel, sunscreen, and sense of adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories at Manly Beach.


The Corso Street

Located in the heart of Manly, The Corso is a vibrant pedestrian street that connects the ferry terminal to the iconic Manly Beach. Lined with an array of shops, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques, The Corso offers a delightful mix of retail therapy, delicious dining options, and a lively atmosphere.


The Corso is the main thoroughfare for visitors coming from the ferry terminal, making it a bustling hub of activity. As you make your way along this lively street, you’ll notice a wide variety of stores catering to different tastes and interests. From surf shops selling beachwear and equipment to unique boutiques offering fashion, accessories, and souvenirs, there’s something for everyone along The Corso.


Shopping on The Corso is not just about finding the perfect item; it’s also about experiencing the laid-back beach culture that Manly is known for. Browse through the shops with a sense of leisure, taking in the relaxed vibe and enjoying the friendly interactions with the local shopkeepers.


If you’re in need of a caffeine fix or a quick snack, The Corso is dotted with charming cafes and eateries. Grab a freshly brewed coffee, indulge in a delicious pastry, or sit down for a hearty breakfast or lunch. The street is alive with the inviting smells of freshly prepared food, and you’ll find a range of cuisines to satisfy your taste buds.


As you stroll along The Corso, take a moment to soak in the captivating street performers and buskers showcasing their talents. From musicians and dancers to magicians and living statues, their performances add an extra layer of vibrancy to the street. Don’t forget to show your appreciation by tossing a coin or two into their collection hats.


The Corso is not just a hub for shopping and dining; it is also a cultural and entertainment center. The street is home to several art galleries showcasing local artists’ works, providing glimpses into the artistic talent that thrives in the Manly community.


While The Corso is bustling during the day, it remains vibrant well into the evening. As the sun sets, the street comes alive with a different energy. The twinkling lights, the laughter and conversation spilling from the restaurants, and the lively ambiance make it a perfect spot for a night out.


During special events and festivals, The Corso becomes even more vibrant with live music, street performances, and markets. The atmosphere buzzes with excitement and celebration, providing a unique and memorable experience for visitors.


Whether you’re looking for a souvenir to remember your trip to Manly, want to indulge in some retail therapy, or simply want to soak up the lively atmosphere, The Corso offers a delightful and diverse experience. So, make sure to take a leisurely stroll along this iconic street and immerse yourself in the beachside charm of Manly.


The Manly Sea Life Sanctuary

If you have a fascination for marine life, a visit to the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary is a must during your trip to Manly. Located just a short walk from the ferry terminal, this popular attraction offers a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the underwater world.


The Manly Sea Life Sanctuary is home to a wide range of marine creatures, providing an interactive and educational experience for visitors of all ages. As you explore the sanctuary, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with some fascinating marine species.


One of the highlights of the sanctuary is the Shark Harbour exhibit, where you can observe these elusive creatures in a specially designed underwater tunnel. As you walk through the tunnel, you’ll be surrounded by sharks gracefully gliding above and around you, giving you a rare glimpse into their world.


In addition to sharks, the sanctuary is home to many other marine animals, including rays, turtles, and a variety of fish. You can watch mesmerizing displays of tropical fish in vibrant coral reefs, marvel at the graceful movements of stingrays, and even spot the adorable little penguins waddling around in their specially designed enclosure.


The Manly Sea Life Sanctuary is not just about observing marine life; it also offers interactive experiences that allow visitors to get hands-on with the animals. You can join one of the daily talks and feeding sessions, where knowledgeable staff members provide fascinating insights and answer any questions you may have.


If you’re seeking an even more immersive experience, the sanctuary offers a range of special experiences, such as Shark Dives or Penguin Encounters. These unique opportunities allow you to get closer than ever to these incredible creatures, providing a thrilling and unforgettable adventure.


For those with a passion for environmental conservation, the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary also runs various educational programs and initiatives. Through these programs, visitors can learn about the importance of marine conservation and the actions they can take to protect our oceans and its inhabitants.


As you explore the sanctuary, make sure to take some time to visit the interactive touch pools. Here, you can touch and feel marine animals such as starfish and sea urchins, providing a hands-on learning experience that is both educational and entertaining.


Whether you’re a marine enthusiast, a family with kids, or simply curious about the underwater world, the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary offers an enriching and exciting experience. From captivating exhibits to interactive encounters, it’s a place where you can connect with marine life firsthand and gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the ocean.


So, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a memorable journey into the depths at the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, and discover the fascinating marine world that lies just below the surface.


Shelly Beach

Tucked away between two headlands, just a short walk from the main strip of Manly, lies the hidden gem that is Shelly Beach. Renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and pristine beauty, Shelly Beach offers a serene escape from the bustling energy of its neighboring beaches.


Shelly Beach is a small but stunning beach with calm waters, making it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The protected marine reserve surrounding the beach is teeming with colorful fish, making it an underwater paradise for nature enthusiasts.


For those new to snorkeling or diving, the beach is home to the Shelly Beach Dive Site, where you can rent equipment or join a guided tour to explore the vibrant underwater world. Take a dip in the clear waters and discover the rich biodiversity that lies beneath the surface.


The beach is also popular among families, as the gentle waves and calm conditions make it an ideal spot for children to paddle and play. Kids can explore the rock pools dotted along the shoreline, discovering fascinating marine creatures and learning about coastal ecosystems.


In addition to its natural beauty, Shelly Beach boasts excellent facilities. There are picnic areas and barbecues available, providing the perfect setting for a family picnic or a leisurely lunch with friends. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance as you savor a delicious meal while overlooking the sparkling waters.


For those looking to stretch their legs and immerse themselves in nature, Shelly Beach is also the starting point for several walking trails. The stunning Coastal Walk, which runs from Shelly Beach to the Spit Bridge, offers picturesque views of the coastline and the surrounding bushland. As you make your way along the trail, keep an eye out for the native wildlife that calls this area home.


If you prefer a more leisurely stroll, the Fairy Bower to Shelly Beach Walk is a short and scenic coastal walk that offers breathtaking panoramic views. As you traverse the path, you’ll be rewarded with glimpses of the iconic Fairy Bower Pool, a picturesque ocean-fed rock pool that rests adjacent to the beach.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a connection with nature, Shelly Beach offers a slice of coastal paradise. The idyllic setting, combined with its rich biodiversity and family-friendly amenities, makes it a place not to be missed during your time in Manly.


So, escape the crowds and discover the tranquility of Shelly Beach. Immerse yourself in the beauty of its calm waters, explore its diverse marine life, and embrace the serenity of this hidden gem nestled within the vibrant coastal landscape of Manly.


Aboriginal Heritage Walk

Delve into the rich indigenous history of the Manly area with the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, a guided tour that provides a deeper understanding of the land and its significance. Led by knowledgeable guides, this immersive experience takes you on a journey to discover the ancient culture and traditions of the Aboriginal people who have lived on this land for thousands of years.


The Aboriginal Heritage Walk offers a unique opportunity to learn about the local Aboriginal community, their connection to the land, and their spiritual beliefs. As you walk through significant sites, your guide will share stories, legends, and traditional knowledge, providing valuable insights into the deep cultural heritage of the region.


One of the highlights of the walk is visiting the rock engravings and art sites, such as Gubba Gubbagunyah and Little Manly Point. These sites showcase the artistic expression and storytelling traditions of the Aboriginal people, depicting significant events, animals, and dreamtime stories.


Throughout the tour, you’ll also learn about the traditional bush food and medicinal plants that have sustained the Aboriginal people for generations. Discover the fascinating uses of native plants and how they have contributed to spiritual and practical aspects of Aboriginal life.


The Aboriginal Heritage Walk is not just a lesson in history; it’s an opportunity to foster a greater appreciation and respect for the Aboriginal culture. By gaining a deeper understanding of the traditional custodians of the land, visitors can contribute to the preservation and celebration of this rich heritage.


As you walk alongside your guide, take in the breathtaking coastal scenery and connect with the land in a profound way. The walk serves as a reminder of the enduring presence of the Aboriginal people and their ongoing connection to country.


Do keep in mind that the Aboriginal Heritage Walk is a culturally sensitive experience, and it is important to approach it with respect and an open mind. Ensure that you follow the instructions and guidelines provided by the tour guide, and refrain from touching or interfering with any cultural artifacts or sacred sites.


Embark on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk to gain a deeper appreciation for the land, the culture, and the traditions that have shaped the Manly area. Engage in meaningful conversations, witness ancient stories come to life, and leave with a greater understanding of the rich heritage of the Aboriginal people.


By participating in the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, you contribute to the recognition and respect of the Aboriginal community and their enduring legacy in this extraordinary part of Australia.


Coastal Walks

Manly is not just about its beautiful beaches and vibrant atmosphere; it also offers stunning coastal walks that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy leisurely strolls, the coastal walks in and around Manly offer breathtaking views and a chance to connect with nature.


The Manly to Spit Bridge Walk is one of the most popular coastal walks in Sydney. Stretching for approximately 10 kilometers, this iconic trail takes you through lush bushland, picturesque beaches, and clifftop vistas. Along the way, you’ll encounter secluded beaches, rocky outcrops, and native wildlife, providing a true escape into nature. The walk can be completed in either direction and offers several entry and exit points, allowing you to customize the length and difficulty of your journey.


For a shorter but equally rewarding walk, the North Head Sanctuary Walk is a must. Located in the nearby Sydney Harbour National Park, this 2.2-kilometer loop trail takes you to North Head, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Sydney Harbour, and the city skyline. As you wander through the coastal heath and bushland, keep your eyes peeled for native flora and fauna, including the iconic Australian bush turkey.


Another delightful option is the Fairy Bower to Shelly Beach Walk. This short and picturesque coastal walk offers breathtaking views across the ocean, with stunning rock formations and rugged cliffs as your backdrop. Along the way, you’ll pass by the Fairy Bower Pool, a charming ocean-fed rock pool, before reaching the beautiful Shelly Beach. This easy and accessible walk is perfect for those looking for a leisurely stroll and an opportunity to take in the incredible coastal scenery.


During the whale migration season (May to November), Manly also offers a chance to witness the majestic creatures up close. The Manly Whale Walk is a dedicated trail that runs parallel to the coastline, offering unique vantage points for spotting humpback whales as they make their annual journey along the coast. Binoculars are available for hire along the route, ensuring you don’t miss out on these awe-inspiring encounters.


Whether you choose to embark on an epic coastal adventure or opt for a leisurely stroll, the coastal walks in and around Manly offer a chance to reconnect with nature and experience the breathtaking beauty of the area. So lace up your walking shoes, pack a picnic, and explore the stunning coastal landscapes that make Manly a truly special destination.


Remember to bring water, wear sunscreen, and adhere to any safety guidelines or signs along the walking trails. Respect the natural environment and take care to leave it in the same pristine condition as you found it, ensuring that future generations can also enjoy the beauty of these coastal walks.


Dining and Shopping Options

Manly offers a diverse range of dining and shopping options, ensuring that visitors have plenty of choices to satisfy their culinary cravings and retail therapy needs. Whether you’re looking for a beachside brunch, international cuisine, or trendy boutiques, Manly has something to suit every taste and style.


When it comes to dining, Manly boasts a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to a variety of palates. From casual fish and chip shops to fine dining establishments, there’s a wide array of options to choose from along the bustling Corso street and the scenic beachfront.


If you’re a seafood lover, you’re in for a treat. Manly is known for its fresh catch, with many restaurants serving up mouthwatering dishes that showcase the best of Australian seafood. Indulge in a platter of succulent oysters, enjoy some grilled barramundi, or savor a delicious seafood paella while taking in the panoramic ocean views.


For those seeking international flavors, Manly has a vibrant culinary scene with a diverse range of cuisines on offer. You can find everything from Italian trattorias and Mexican cantinas to Japanese sushi bars and Thai street food stalls. No matter what cuisine you’re craving, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in Manly.


After a satisfying meal, take a stroll along the Corso street to explore the unique retail offerings. From fashion boutiques showcasing local designers to stylish homeware stores, you’ll find a range of options for fashion, accessories, home decor, and more. The Corso is also home to well-known Australian brands, so you can stock up on the latest trends or find the perfect souvenir to remember your visit.


If you’re a beach enthusiast, Manly is the perfect place to indulge in outdoor shopping. Along the beachfront, you’ll find beachwear stores where you can browse through a range of swimwear, surfboards, and accessories. Pick up everything you need for a day at the beach or a surf session, and embrace the beachside lifestyle of Manly.


In addition to the shopping and dining options on the main strip, Manly also boasts several markets throughout the week. The Manly Market Plaza hosts a variety of stalls selling everything from fresh produce and artisanal products to handmade crafts and unique souvenirs. These markets offer a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to support local producers and artisans.


When it comes to dining and shopping in Manly, the options are endless. Whether you’re looking for a casual beachside dinner or an upscale shopping experience, Manly’s eclectic mix of options is sure to satisfy your cravings and retail desires.


So, take the time to explore the dining and shopping scene in Manly, try out new flavors, discover local designers, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere that makes this suburb a true shopping and dining paradise.



Manly, with its stunning beaches, vibrant streets, and diverse range of activities and attractions, is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Sydney, Australia. From the iconic ferry ride that offers breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour to the tranquil shores of Manly Beach, this suburb embodies the laid-back and outdoor lifestyle that Australia is renowned for.


Whether you’re looking to relax on the golden sands, explore the local shops and restaurants, or immerse yourself in the rich indigenous heritage, Manly has something for everyone. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk offers a deeper understanding of the ancient culture of the land, while the coastal walks showcase the natural beauty of the area, from scenic clifftop vistas to secluded bays.


Manly also impresses with its dining and shopping options. From seafood feasts to international cuisines, the suburb’s restaurants cater to a range of tastes, while the boutique shops and markets offer an array of unique finds and local treasures.


Whether you’re a visitor or a local, the charm of Manly is undeniable. The welcoming atmosphere, the sound of crashing waves, and the breathtaking coastal landscapes all combine to create an unforgettable experience.


So, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a taste of the beachside lifestyle, Manly has it all. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the beaches, explore the vibrant streets, indulge in delicious cuisine, and forge memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss the chance to discover the magic of Manly and the beauty that makes this coastal gem a true Australian treasure.