It’s the argument that has divided Sydney-siders, which beach is better, Bondi or Manly? There are a number of reasons these two beaches are perennially popular tourist spots, and we’re going to pit them against each other to see which one swells up best.
Fairy Bower Pool vs. Icebergs Pool
Fairy Bower Pool is located along Marine Parade on the way to Shelley Beach and is a beauty to withhold with views spanning Manly Beach to Shelley Beach and sculptures designed by Helen Leete – not to mention it was hand-built by local residents in 1929.
However, in this instance we have to side with Icebergs Pool. It is the epicentre of Sydney’s most glamourous, and remains one of the most photographed sights in Sydney due to its aqua blue appearance.
Kayaking to Store Beach vs. learning to surf on Bondi Beach
While both Manly and Bondi offer surfing lessons for all ages, Bondi Kids two-hour surf lesson, “flexi lesson” has been specially designed by on-hand sports scientists and experienced PE teachers not to mentioned it’s widely believed to be the home of Australian surfing.However, not only does Manly offer surfing, it offers other water-bound adventures including kayaking to secret locations across the Harbour to isolated Store Beach, paddle-boarding by the wharf, snorkelling at Shelley Beach and more. We’re siding with Manly here for variety.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal walk vs. Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway
Manly to Spit Bridge Walkway is a scenic 10km walk along some of Sydney’s best harbour side beaches including Fairlight Beach and Clontarf Beach. The Bondi to Coogee walk is a much shorter 6km with views of Bondi Beach and the coast all the way to Coogee. In terms of scenery, both are as beautiful as each other, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you can brave a 10km walk or would rather play it safe with 6km.
Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride vs. Bus Trip from Circular Quay
To get to Bondi, take either bus 333 or 380 from Circular Quay to Bondi, or the 373 to Coogee (these can also be used for your return journey back to the city from each location.) To travel to Manly, take the iconic Manly Ferry from Wharf 3 at circular Quay for a half hour journey across the harbour, sit upstairs towards the back for amazing views of the city. We have a clear winner here – Manly – you’re ticking off bucket-list items before you even reach your destination.
Manly Jazz Festival vs. Sculptures by the Sea
In terms of events, these two are most probably the biggest on the calendar for each destination. The internationally acclaimed Manly Jazz Festival is known worldwide the celebrated diversity of music it presents, from traditional New Orleans jazz to funk, Latin, fusion, blues, gospel, swing and roots, not to mention its beautiful beachfront location.
However, Sculptures by the Sea is the largest free to the public sculpture exhibition in the world with Australian and International artists flocking to create installations along to Bondi to Coogee coastline. This outdoor sculpture exhibition combines two Australian qualities we love, our stunning beaches and art and culture talent beyond belief, for this reason we’re siding with Bondi.
While we’re here, what’s great about both?
The markets: Wander through the laneways off the Corso to discover Manly’s popular open aired weekend markets full of locally produced jewellery, homewares, paintings and more. A similar marketplace resides at Bondi Beach Public School with Saturday set up as a food market and Sunday having a similar vibe to Manly in terms of boutique items and Sydney-sourced trinkets.
The food: From Icebergs to Matt Moran’s North Bondi Fish, there is a culture of fine-dining cuisine here that cannot be topped. Not to mention its home to iconic Gelato Messina – the perfect addition to any beach day. On the flipside, Manly is home to The Pantry, a restaurant literally positioned on the beach sand, Manly Wharf Bar and a host of eclectic bars including Daniel San, Hemmingway’s and microbrewery, 4 Pines.
Our Verdict: Draw. We’ll let you decide which you’d rather visit based on the above in the know expertise.