Manly is an incredibly special spot for Sydney-siders and an absolutely must for travellers looking to explore the northern beaches. If you’re thinking of making the trip over the Harbour Bridge to this laid-back, surfer’s hot spot, Manly is a location you’ll want to spend a day in exploring. Here, we give you the low-down on this spectacular region, with lengthy stretches of sand and endless sunbaking spots, world-class restaurants and show you how to spend the perfect day in Manly.
Getting to Manly is simple, with the easiest and most scenic form of transport being the famous ferry that coasts north through the Harbour. Ferries to Manly leave approximately every half hour from Circular Quay (Wharf 3) and return at similar intervals. The trip takes 30 minutes and the Manly Ferry gates close two minutes prior to the departure time. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket booth at Wharf 3, Circular Quay. There is also the option of a Fast Ferry which only takes 18 minutes to get to and from Manly and Circular Quay. There are two Fast Ferry operators which include The Manly Fast Ferry and Sydney Fast Ferries. Both operators run hourly services between Manly and Circular Quay throughout the day.
If you decided to drive, getting to Manly by car also takes roughly 30 minutes and is a streamlined trip across the Bridge up Military Road, into Split Road, and to the beach. The Northern Beaches has four car parks available 7 days a week, offering a variety of hours. Two car parks are in Central Avenue, one in Whistler Street and the other in Wentworth Street.
WHERE TO EAT
Manly is home to many a foodie hot spot, with everything from delectable cheap eats to fancy fine-diners and everything in between. From breakfast to dinner, you will be covered for every meal of the day on your daytrip to Manly. To kick-start your day and enjoy breakfast with a view, make a beeline for The Pantry (Ocean Promenade, N Steyne), located at the edge of Manly Beach. For a highly recommended lunch spot, The Boathouse Shelly Beach (1 Marine Parade) also offer a picturesque setting and features a kiosk and café where they dish up health and delicious meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a memorable dining experience, try Garfish (1/39 E Esplanade) or Hugos (Manly Wharf, 1 E Esplanade) for their fresh seafood and stunning outlooks, or The Herring Room (94 Pittwater Road) for a five-star experience.
WHERE TO SHOP
There’s more to Manly than beaches and good tucker, so if you wander off the beaten track, you will find a treasure trove of boutiques and stellar shopping experiences to get excited about. Make a pit stop at Bow and Arrow (15 Whistler Street) where you will find a beautifully curated collection of fashionable items, including apparel, accessories, makeup and footwear to trawl through. Also don’t miss Apostlebird (367 Pittwater Rd, North Manly), a warehouse brimming with vintage finds and eclectic antiques. Desire Books and Records (3/3 Whistler Street, is the perfect stop off to find classic books and retro vinyl.
WHAT TO SEE
We would be lying if we said the best thing to see in Manly isn’t the beaches – there’s no doubt they are the main attraction. Naturally, one would gravitate toward the main and iconic Manly Beach, which stretches from north to south through three main sections of Queenscliff, North Steyne, and South Steyne. Collins Flat Beach is a serene spot with scenic harbour views nestled between North Head and Little Manly Cove. Spread out here for a day-long romantic picnic. Finally, the Grotto Point Lighthouse is essential if you’ve ever wanted to know what the life of a lighthouse-keeper is like. This historic site is located on a rocky headland near Dobroyd Head and is a beautiful and nostalgic landmark to see.