Manly Beach is located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, a 20-minute ferry ride or roughly 25-minute (depending on traffic) drive from the CBD.
Manly is famous for its beach, beach culture, and surfing – holding the world’s first surfing contest in 1964, forever putting it on the map. It is also home to some of the best surfers including Layne Beachley and Barton Lynch who grew up here.
Situated in between Shelly Beach and Queenscliff Beach, Manly has a unique combination of wide-open beaches on one side and serene sandy coves on the other.
The beach has a long walkway that runs from Manly Beach, through North Steyne in the middle, up to Queenscliff Beach at the northern end, with the three sections monitored by three matching surf clubs: Manly, North Steyne and Queenscliff.
Manly has fast become an ocean swimming hot spot and is home to the iconic Cole Classic ocean swim event, which made the swap to Manly from Bondi Beach in 2005, and Australia’s largest community of ocean swimmers, the Bold and Beautiful.
There is something for everyone at Manly whether you are a water lover or land lover, so bring your friends and family and make a day at Manly post-swim.
The best way to get to Manly Beach is by taking the scenic journey across Sydney Harbour via ferry. It is actually one of the most picturesque ferry rides in the world.
Of course, you can still catch a bus or drive with two large public car parks located on Central Avenue, one in Whistler Street and one in Wentworth Street or there is all-day pre-paid parking available on the surrounding streets.
Buses operate from interchanges located on Belgrave Street and the Western esplanade.
Manly Beach is not short on activities to do post-swim, both in and out of the water.
If you also love to surf, pack your board and head to the middle or south end to find the most consistent waves.
Sandwiched between Manly Beach and Shelly Beach is Cabbage Tree Bay, an aquatic reserve teeming with colourful fish, small (harmless) sharks and other marine life where you can enjoy a snorkel or scuba dive. With over 150 species of fish at the reserve, including iconic species such as blue groupers, giant cuttlefish, wobbygongs and a resident green turtle, it is worth spending even more time here.
If you’ve had enough of the water for the day, enjoy a stroll along the beachfront walkway, while admiring the stunning Norfolk Pines or if you are up for something a little longer the Manly to Spit Bridge is a 10km trek that gives you stunning views of the North Harbour coastline.
Grab a coffee and bite to eat from either Little Pearl or Manly Point Cafe which are both cool, beachfront cafes and restaurants. Three Beans Cafe is also a favourite among locals for its organic coffee and the retro Showbox Coffee Brewers on Whistler Street is also a must visit. The BoatHouse Shelly Beach also offers stunning views of both Manly Beach and Shelly Beach with equally stunning food.
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