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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 24 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

Manly Beach is perhaps second only to Bondi in terms of global fame, but since it lies on the North Shore of Sydney Harbour has its own unique charms – and unlike Bondi there is plenty of street parking. Flanked by Norfolk pine trees, this 1.5km-long strip of golden sand is family-friendly, suitable for surfers and swimmers.

While you’re there

The beach offers regular, manageable surf breaks – great for beginner and pro surfers alike; many of Australia’s top surfers learnt their craft here. The local surf school offers a wide range of courses for beginners and experienced surfers alike. Kids’ classes start at five years and up. Adult students can choose from group lessons, one-on-one lessons, elite training or day-long surfing tours along the Northern Beaches.


Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: +
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Fast (and slower) ferries depart every few minutes from Circular Quay. It’s a very scenic 20-minute ferry ride across the harbour, then a short walk from the ferry stop to the beach. Driving via the Bridge takes about 40 minutes from the city.

The tradition on day trips to Manly is get take-away fish and chips to eat on the beach. It’s standardfare, but how often do you get to eat on the beach? Note: chippies are ubiquitous here.

When to do it

Sydney’s beaches are a delight any time of the year, but the water is quite chilly from August to September.

Who to go with: organised tours


Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Manly Snorkel Trip and Nature Walk with Local Guide


Manly Snorkel Trip and Nature Walk with Local Guide
Enjoy a relaxed 2.5 hour snorkeling and walking tour at Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve in Manly, just a short hop from Sydney. This morning or afternoon tour gives both beginning and experienced snorkelers a chance to see some of the diverse marine life of Australia, launching right off the beach into calm waters with a variety of marine life. Your guide also takes your small-group, limited to 8 people, on a short walk on the headlands where you get great views of the Northern Beaches.

Price: A109

Min age: 8

Rating 4.76 / 5 [180 ratings]

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Destination guides


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New South Wales, Australia

Sydney opera house at night

One of the world’s most dynamic and glamorous cities, with golden beaches, world-class eating and dining and effervescent, friendly people. Home to the eye-popping Opera House and the indescribable Sydney Bridge Climb.