Located among the swathe of pristine Northern Beaches in Sydney City, Manly Beach stretches north to south, encompassing Queenscliff, North Steyne, and South Steyne. It got its name from Captain Arthur Phillip, who named it after the indigenous people living there, claiming that their “confidence and manly behaviour” were the reason for the naming.
Just along from Manly Beach, you’ll find Fairy Bower and Shelley Beach, between which there are plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs for visitors to enjoy.
At one end of the 1.5km stretch of sand, Manly Beach boasts a sheltered ocean pool. To the north at Queenscliff, there is a spot perfect for surfing, where many experienced and novice surfers hang out and hit the waves. To the south, there is a pathway that curves around to Shelley Beach, which is a popular place for joggers and cyclists. Nearby, there are plenty of pretty bushwalks and historical sites to explore.
Things to do at Manly Beach
This picturesque walkway takes visitors around the harbour between the Spit Bridge and Sydney Harbour. Along the route, you can take in panoramic views and beautiful bushland. This walk takes about three to four hours, and you’ll be greeted by some of the Harbour’s most iconic landmarks at the end.
North Head Sanctuary
Stroll through the bushland, stopping to admire the birds and animals as you go, and take a tour of North Fort, a prominent military base that dates back to World War II. This is one of Manly’s hidden treasures and well worth a visit for history lovers.
Sydney Harbour National Park
In Sydney Harbour’s National Park at North Head, you can check out Q Station, which is Australia’s first and longest-running quarantine station. Here, you can learn more about Australia’s early settlement.
Marine life is a huge part of Australian nature, and Oceanworld at Manly gives you the chance to learn more about what species are in the area. You can check out Penguin Cove, where you can see Manly’s popular colony of Little Penguins. In addition, you can go to the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, where you can delve into the history of Manly and Sydney’s northern beaches and admire the collection of swimwear, hats, towels, beach bags, and surfboards that span the 1900s.
Sporting and Cultural Endeavours
For the more active traveller, Manly Beach offers the chance to play volleyball, kayak around the coastline, and scuba dive. At the weekends, a flea market pops up selling handmade arts and crafts, while pubs and bars host lively music.