An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

This suburb is a go-to for any tourist coming to Sydney, and I've been here countless times myself. It's my pleasure to take this bl...

On the Tourist Trail: Manly

This suburb is a go-to for any tourist coming to Sydney, and I've been here countless times myself. It's my pleasure to take this blog to 


Manly is a huge Northern Beaches suburb. The uncontested best way to get here is to grab a ferry from Circular Quay. Your leisurely harbour cruise will take 30 odd minutes, offering up world-class views, before you finally arive at Manly Wharf.

Being a nice-weathered weekend, I disembarked with half of Sydney today. 

The ferry station exits onto a bustling outdoor plaza, 

with a number of restaurants, 

and a small beach. 

Without looking at the map, you may not realise that Manly is actually a peninsula, and as such, this suburb actually has heaps of beaches - not just the one we usually call Manly Beach. This one goes by the name Manly Cove Beach.

Rather than head immediately to Manly's main beach, I figured today was a day where I'd explore parts of the suburb I hadn't before. I followed the busy path along, 

on what is apparently known as the Manly Pathway of Olympians,

and past this monument thing,

in order to head to Manly Pavilion. 

This is a surprisingly quiet corner of Manly, with interesting architecture, 

even at its loo. 

The building here is actually a restaurant with an ocean-front balcony. 

Heading back in,

I continued to another Manly pocket I hadn't really checked out before - suburban Manly, right in front of the cove. Immediately, this place is full of absolutely gorgeous older buildings.

I headed inland to see if this theme continues. Being a beachside suburb, this means some disgustingly steep streets, 

some terrible photos owing to the sunny day,

and this beach house I liked. 

I also found, parked on the side of the road, what I assume is Dame Edna's car. 

Just next door is another Manly point of interest I never knew existed - Manly's own botanical gardens.

Plus war memorial.

To the untrained eye, this is just a bushy suburban park - 

with aforementioned bonus war memorial.

Luckily, my eye is particularly untrained, so that's exactly what I found here.

At the bottom of the park is a bowls club, 

and cricket field. 

This led me onto the street,

via the Curly Gates,

and into Manly's commercial core. 

I crossed the road and headed into the more pedestrian focused bits of Manly which a casual visitor would perhaps be more likely to traverse. 

This took me into Manly's network of walking streets and plazas.

This particular patch is the slightly quieter section, featuring more "normal" shops like bakeries, 

the local MP's Office,

and this hostel,

but keep walking, 

and you'll soon hit Manly's more famous pedestrian thoroughfare, The Corso. 

This is the wide walking street that you'd normally take heading from the ferry to the beach. It features pubs and restaurants, the occasional street performer, and a constantly busy atmosphere.

In an attempt to explore more parts of Manly I don't really know, I headed off The Corso and down this artsy alleyway,

arriving in yet another plaza. 

Of interest here are these... podiums? covering a bit of a timeline of Manly history since about 4000BC. One of these podiums tells the very literal story of how the suburb got its name. 

From here, it was finally time to head to the main event - Manly Beach. 

However, I got distracted on the way.

From this fish and chip shop - Manly Fish Market - I enjoyed what I can only describe as perfect calamari and chips. Bonus points are given for including tartare sauce without charging extra,

and the sauce, salt and vinegar station open for unlimited use. Ladies and gentlemen, if you're after a non-stingy fish shop next time you're in Manly, head here. 

My meal was also enjoyed against a pretty great backdrop. 

Here's Manly Beach. 

It's one of our city's many picturesque beaches, and probably one of the more popular ones. 

Yes, this does mean it's busy here, but you don't come to Manly looking for serenity. 

The obvious next step is to take a stroll along the shore. 

Rather than walk along Manly Beach itself, I chose to take this path off of the main beach in order to head to what is probably Manly's second most popular beach. 

Along the way, you naturally get stunning views of the main sweeping beach,

you get to contend with plenty of other folks enjoying the same day out you are, 

and you get to look at rocks and water, with the next beach visible in the medium distance. 

Naturally, along the way is a busy cafe or two, 

an ocean pool,

and some metallic tributes to the snorkelling and diving you can do here. 

After a leisurely walk, I arrived at beach number three for the day - Shelly Beach. 

Shelly Beach is a much smaller beach compared to its busier brother around the corner, and is a popular spot for snorkelling and diving (as mentioned earlier). It's also far calmer than the main beach due to its geography.

You'll see folks in scuba gear dotted in the sea as you look out. 

From Shelly, you have a few options. The first is to stop for a meal or drink,

right on the beachside. 

The next is to head away from the water, 

past the locals,

and up these stairs,

peeking out at the beach along the way,

to head into the bush. 

Well, sort of. You're not really in the bush here, as you're still only a few steps away from the bustle of Manly, but what you do get,

are some paths, 

to some pretty spectacular coastal lookouts. 

Not a bad place to take a seat. 

This continues with a pattern of paths, 

followed by lookouts, 

somewhere to sit,

more paths,

and more lookouts. 

From here, you can choose to head deeper entering into Sydney Harbour National Park, a significant slice of bushland with more paths, more lookouts and even more beaches around Manly's harbour peninsula. 

That's one for another day, however, as this post is getting long enough, and I'm sure there are already much better guides to this national park than I would provide. 

As such, from here I quietly headed back to Shelly Beach,

past these suspicious looking diving tanks,

and retraced my steps back into Manly proper. 

Satisfied I'd given this wonderful slice of Sydney a substantial enough go, despite only just scratching the surface, I was now at liberty to head back to the ferry wharf,

leaving the bustle of Manly behind. 

'Til next time. 

Manly: There used to be a girls school in this suburb. It was named Manly Girls. I wonder why they closed it. 


  1. You make it look quite charming and far less busy than it normally feels. But it is tragic that you did not visit the teapot kangaroo statue in the funkiest neighbourhood of Manly:

    1. That is definitely a funky statue.

      I do really like Manly but yes, it's not the kind of place where you're by yourself. That being said, with the end of cheap sunday transport, the closed borders and winter, it's a lot quieter than normal now.

  2. You did well to get to Ivanhoe park, that's a little off the usual tourist track. Further up the hill there is a nicely renovated late Victorian home called Lawrentia, it's rather grand and a bit fancy.
    Of course there are quieter beaches in Manly on the harbour side. Little Manly tends to be just left for the locals, and Stores Beach is accessible only through a rough bushland track. There's also a newish development facing the harbour there, all expensive homes on leasehold land, in amongst the bush. If you are lucky, you might meet an echidna on North Head, there are a few that live there.