Yes, it is part of Sydney but, lying 11km from Circular Quay in the CBD, a ferry trip to Manly across the stunning Sydney Harbour feels more like a day trip than visiting a Northern Beaches suburb. While Sydney's east may have Bondi Beach, those that venture across the harbour are in for a seaside treat.
Manly sits on a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Sydney Harbour. The area contains 18 beautiful beaches, including the eponymous 2km stretch of white sandy shore, Norfolk Pine trees and surfing swell, plus hidden coves, national parks, Aboriginal sites and historic landmarks. Named for the sighting of ‘manly' Aborigines by Australia's first Governor Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788, the area attracts surf lifesaving, Ironman competitions and boasts famous surfing pros as residents. The popularity of the area stems from its natural good looks and enviable laidback lifestyle.
Must-see attractions and activities in Manly include taking a dip at Manly Beach; traversing the meandering 9.5km Manly Scenic Walkway trail to Spit Bridge in Mosman across the sandstone headlands, through Aboriginal sites and down small beaches; and taking in the bush and views from North Head in Sydney Harbour National Park. Adventure seekers and marine life enthusiasts will love Manly where you can swim with the sharks at Oceanworld, go wave jumping with Sydney Ocean Adventures, or even learn to surf.
More gentle pursuits can also be enjoyed in Manly. The suburb boasts a plethora of fine dining, friendly pubs and relaxed cafes along North and South Steyne Streets - sampling the local fish and chips while enjoying the panoramic view is a must! The main pedestrian mall is The Corso, or ‘the Village' to locals, which links the ferry terminal to the oceanfront and is lined with more touristy fare and ice-cream shops. To visit Manly, it's a half-hour road trip or for scenic harbour views, the Manly Ferry makes the 30-minute trip from Circular Quay to Manly regularly. For a faster ride, Manly/Sydney Fast Ferries will get you there in around 17 minutes. From the ferry terminal it's a 10-minute walk to the beach.