Manly Beach is  "seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care"  - a quote penned by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company who were in operation from the late 19th and 20th Century.

Manly is everything Australian. Its alive with screeching seagulls, long sandy beaches, small coves, inlets, swaying Norfolk Pines, bikinis and cold icy beer. Festivals, music, flip flops, pink zinc, fish and chips, yachts, boats, divers, fishermen, lifeguards all characterise this idyllic seaside location. Manly features a National Trust Oceanfront Promenade and is easily accessible by ferry or jetcat operating from Circular Quay (city) to Manly Wharf. The short walk up the Corso leads to the ocean beach.

Surrounded by the ocean and harbour on three sides, Manly is unique with its 18 small cove harbour and ocean beaches. It lays peacefully as a peninsula with stunning and breathtaking views. Now a major tourist beach resort with million dollar homes, it has become one of Sydney’s most popular beaches and an international destination for overseas travellers.

Manly is steeped in Australian history. It was discovered by Captain Phillip in 1788 and was named after the 'manly'  behaviour of the Cannalgal and Kay-ye- my clan of aborigines who greeted him. The Quarantine Station was built in 1832 to segregate ill passengers on the arriving ships from England. Although Manly is only seven miles north-east from Sydney, it was severed from the city by the harbour until Henry Gilbert Smith brought land in 1853 and introduced the ferry service.  Afterwards the the Norfolk Pines along Manly Cove were planted and a small community and village started to flourish.


Photo: Manly, showing the wharf on the harbour side

Manly Beach is about one mile long with a large foreshore and golden sands. The northern end is called Queenscliff Beach which has a lagoon estuary that empties into the ocean. It is quieter than Manly and is used mainly by the locals. There is an ocean pool and a tunnel, which was once chiseled out by local fishermen as a short cut to Freshwater Beach. The centre is called North Steyne Beach and the southern corner, South Steyne. Next to Manly Beach is Cabbage Tree Bay and Shelley Beach.

Cabbage Tree Bay was named after the Cabbage Tree Palm and Shelley Beach is the only west-facing beach on Australia's east coast and is filled with unique marine life such as the Eastern Blue Groper, the Weedy Sea dragon, Gloomy Octopus and Little Penguin. The bay is an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkeling because of its clear and shallow waters. Shelley Beach is a haven for sun seekers and is a popular sheltered beach, for families and children.

The Harbour beaches include Manly Cove, Little Manly, Stores, Collins, Fairlight, Forty Basket, Reef and Clontarf beaches. There are numerous sea and harbour pools in Manly. The Bower Pool is located half way to Shelley Beach along the walkway from Manly Life Saving Club. Little Manly Cove which is located next to Manly Wharf and is excellent for children and families. Fairlight Pool is a short coastal walk from the Manly Aquarium.

Entrance to Q station

Photo: Entrance to North Head and Q Station


Manly has a diversity of walks along the coast which offer fabulous views and historical interest.

♦ Manly to Spit Bridge -  A 10km three hour (one way) across Manly Cove to Oceanworld steps lead to the coastal path. Take in the beauty of Delwood and Fairlight beaches, Forty Basket, Dobroyd Head, Crater Cove, Castle Rock, Washaway Beach, Grotto Point, Fisher and Sandy Bay. Take plenty of water, food, sunscreen, cozzies for a dip and good walking shoes.

♦ Manly Eastern Hill Heritage walk -  A historical walk that starts at East Esplanade at the white broken column. You will see Manly Rowing Club/ 16ft Skiff Club/ Addison Road with its architectural buildings/Peace Park/ Little Manly Cove/Storms Beach/Little Manly Gasworks/Spring Cove/Collins Beach/ St Patrick’s College/Parkhill Cottage/North Head/ Manly Hospital/ Quarantine Station/ Shelley Beach/ Cabbage Tree Bay/ Bower rock pool/Manly Life Saving Club. This walk can get steep at certain places.

♦ Manly Heritage Plaque Walk – Take a stroll through the history of Manly you will see Aboriginal sites/Manly Cove/The Corso/Marine Parade/South Steyne/Ivanhoe Park/Fairlight House/North Harbour Reserve/Dally’s Castle and Park/Queenscliff Bridge/Manly Lagoon/and Jenkins Road.


Exploring Manly by bicycle is a time honoured tradition and the ideal way to experience every corner of Sydney’s most beautiful coastal town. The area caters for all fitness levels and boasts over 20km of dedicated cycling paths allowing riders to easily get around without the worry about competing with traffic. Furthermore, as many of the attractions in Manly are not easily accessible by foot, cycling offers a great way to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

The popular places to ride in Manly include:

1. Bike the beach

Cruise along world famous Manly Beach. Follow the dedicated bike path along the ocean promenade and past the Mediterranean style villas along Cabbage Tree Bay to picturesque Shelly Beach. Enjoy a drink at one of the seaside cafes and take a leisurely ride back down the main beach past the Manly Corso, the “Hole in the Wall” and Manly Lagoon.

2. Sydney Harbour National Park and North Head

Experience Sydney’s most amazing views. Explore the secluded Collins Beach and waterfall, Little Manly Point, St Patrick’s Estate, North Fort Artillery Museum and Sydney Harbour National Park. Combine it with “Bike the Beach” for great scenic ride.

3. Dobroyd Head and Spit Bridge

Bike along well signed bike path, past the house ofthe first Prime Minister of Australia and through the leafy coastal streets of Manly to Tania Park and Dobroyd Head. Soak in the breath taking views of North Head and South Head as well as a bird’s eye view of Manly. For those wanting more, continue to the Spit Bridge lookout, stopping off at the Aboriginal rock carvings, Tania Park 10km return, Spit 13km.

4. Off-road Mountain Bike at Manly Dam

A mountain bikers’ paradise. One of the premier offroad mountain bike tracks in Sydney it caters for novices right up to the expert rider. Enjoy the tranquil bush setting and views across the Peninsula.

More information can be found about bike riding at

St Patricks

Photo: St Patricks


Manly offers a great diversity of food outlets from quick fish and chips take-away to small cafes and classy waterfront restaurants. There is almost any international cuisine available Chinese/ Italian/ Thai / Indian/ African / French / Australian / from cheap to expensive.

1) Manly Wharf Hotel: Excellent food (from seafood, steak, or pizza and a daily special) with spectacular views. As you arrive off the Manly Ferry it is just on the right past the ticket office. It's a really popular place to eat and drink!!!

2) WockBar: 27 Belgrave Street Manly. BYO noodle bar based on popular Asian street foods from south east Asia. The style of cooking is simple, healthy and bursting with exotic flavours from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan. 

3) Zali's Restaurant: Manly Pacific Sydney, Managed by Novotel - beachfront dinner, catering for all Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  Check out  Mediterreanen buffet on Saturday night and Sunday Lunch.   ph: 02 8966 7442

4) Cafe Brisca:  Family run Italian cafe excellent for lunch or dinner - Wentworth Street.   

5) Ribs N Rumps:The best Steak House in Australia. Nearly every major Rugby and League team in the world has visited. 
6) Le Kiosk: Beautifully positioned overlooking Shelley and Manly Beach in a historic sandstone cottage. Dine inside or under the huge Morton Bay Fig tree and take in stunning views whilst enjoying modern Australian seafood cuisine. Voted by New York Times as “Best romantic restaurant”. Located 15 minutes walk from Manly Life Saving Club along promenade. (expensive)

7) The Bower Restaurant for lunch: Do not miss this. Lovely setting overlooking the Bower Pool with stunning views of Shelley and Manly Beach. Located half way between Shelley Beach and Manly Beach along promenade. It is also fabulous place to stop and have coffee and take in the scenery. Food is also terrific and reasonably priced. Tel: 9977 5451, corner of Marine Pde and Bower Lane. (Great value)

8) Manly Ocean Beach Boathouse: Positioned overlooking the sea with lovely bar and restaurant offering excellent Australian seafood. (Medium – expensive) Ocean Promenade South Steyne Tel: 9977 0566.

9) Pilu At Freshwater: Take a taxi to freshwater beach and dine in style in fantastic federation building overlooking spectacular views of beach with first class food………A Must Do. (expensive) but worth the dining experience. Tel: 9938 3331

10) Whitewater: Located across the road from Manly Beach. A upmarket restaurant offering a modern comtemporary menu. Seafood is strongly mentioned on the menu.

11) Garfish: Situated directly across the road from Manly Wharf. A lively modern seafood restaurant .

12) Alhambra: A great Moroccan Restaurant with plenty of exciting dishes. Located along the West Esplanade.

13) Hugo's: Located on Manly Wharf overlooking the harbour with stunning water views.

14)Manly Beach Club: Located on the beach front right next to the corso, Manly Beach Club is the first restaurant on your right.with a fantastic view over looking Manly Beach. The food offer is comfort with some salads, burgers and pizzas and few classics like steak frites or fish and chips. Go for lunch or only a drink and enjoy the view.

15) Manly Pavilion: Located in the former bathers' pavilion at Manly. Chefs chef Jonathan Barthelmess (Icebergs Dining Room ) and James Parry create a new team to bring an exciting new  Italian-Mediterranean  menu.

Now for some cheaper ones:

♦ International College of Management  - college for chefs - have a three course lunch meal for $30.00 AUD, bookings essential 99770333 151 Darley Street Manly. The college is surrounded by 20 hectares with spectualar view (see photo above).

♦ Bacino Bar: Small Italian café offering excellent value for money. Tel: 9977 8889 

♦ Manly Beach Club - 9977 5338 - Try the Salads and burgers Great for lunch open for dinner on Friday and Saturday

♦ Syrens: for best seafood platter Tel: 9977 8877

♦ Angelo and Theresa: Italian a local favorite

♦ Jellyfish: Try the chilli garlic angel hair pasta Tel: 9977 4555

♦ Manly Wharf Hotel: Good for everything, cool beer, friendly staff and cool menu.

♦ Out Of Africa: For something different - fabulous food - Opposite Manly Wharf Tel:9977 0055

♦ The Ivanhoe: Great for steaks

♦ The Steyne Hotel: Upstairs on Balcony for lunch and afternoon drink  

♦ Fish and Chips on the beach – A must try.

♦ Bavarian Cafe: Manly Wharf, lovely position overlooking harbour - great place for a beer.  

♦ Manly 16ft Skiff club - 9977 3322 - afternoon lunch






  • Aquablu Holiday Apartments – Beachfront 5 star
  • Quest Grande Esplanade – Manly Cove harbour view 4 star  
  • The Park Holiday Apartments – 4 star
  • Manly Beachside Apartments -
  • Peninsular Holiday Apartments – 4 star
  • Pacific Harbour – Victoria Pde Manly – 3 star
  • St Louie Apartments – Victoria Pde 3 star
  • Nth Steyne Holiday Apartments – Beachfront 3 star
  • Santa Fe Holiday Apartments Victoria Pde Manly.
  • Manly Paradise motel/apartments – Beachfront – 4 star (best)
  • Manly Seaside Holiday Apartments
  • Nautica Holiday Apartments – New
  • Waterside Holiday Apartments -
  • Manly Surfside Apartments

WEBSITES for accommodation  


  • Ivanhoe Hotel – The Corso – three levels to suit different ages.
  • Manly Wharf Hotel – youngish crowd 18 – 30’s, excellent place to have afternoon drinks overlooking the harbour
  • Steyne Hotel – The Corso opposite Manly Beach. Great for afternoon drinks or casual meal on balcony upstairs. Also has great intimate bar and restaurant upstairs at back. (9 bars over 2 levels, 2 restaurants, accommadation). There is also a nightclub disco which is large and comfortable. 
  • Manly Boatshed – downstairs, dark, gloomy but alive with music for the young surfie set.
  • Diggers Club – Freshwater beach, large club offering cheap bistro food, pokies and shows.
  • Manly Civic Club – Great seafood buffet Friday/Saturday night. (More for the elders)
  • Manly Beach Club - Beachfront Manly Beach - 3 levels of cool bars.
  • Barking Frog Bar - good bar with restaurant.
  • Insitu - Central Avenue Manly
  • Henry Afrikas - Beach Front  Manly Beach - disco and cool bars.
  • Hugo's - The "IN" place to be seen - fabulous views of the harbour - Manly Wharf.  


MANLY FESTIVALS: - (some events can be subject to change)

Manly Heritage Festival - April

Manly food and wine festival (June 4th - 5th)

Guringai Festival - Aboriginal culture ( July)

Manly Arts Festival - September  

Manly International Jazz Festival – October Long Weekend.

Carols By Candlelight - December

New Years Eve Celebrations - Fireworks on the beach and DJ music.



Manly Quarantine Station Tour

Guided tours only allowed – phone for booking 9247 5033

  • Public Tour: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat and sun Time: 1.10pm – 3.40pm (Take the no 135 bus from Manly Wharf)
  • Adult Ghost Tours: Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun Time: 7.30pm – 10.30pm
  • Kids Ghost Tours: Friday 6 – 8pm

From Circular Quay catch the ferry to Manly Wharf - catch a bus/taxi or walk. It takes approx 5 - 10mins travel time. Walking is difficult as its a steep climb up Eastern Hill. 

The Top Five Excursions:




Ferries from Circular Quay to Manly Wharf leave every half hour and take approx 35 minutes. The privately operated Manly Fast Ferry departs from Circular Quay Eastern Pontoon. From the airport take the train into the CBD and transfer to a ferry at Circular Quay, otherwise take the private shuttle bus service direct from Airport to Manly Beach.

Buses - - 9972 5600