Why is Manly Beach famous?

Why is Manly Beach famous?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 11/13/2023

Reading time: 3 mins

The iconic beach has a long stretch of beautiful golden sand, lined with pine trees.

Manly Beach often gets overlooked when it comes to beaches in Sydney thanks to Bondi Beach. But not a lot of people know the history of Manly Beach and why it’s so famous.

Manly Beach is still considered one of Australia’s most famous beaches and here’s why. The beach held the world’s first surfing contest back in 1964! Even now, Manly Beach still hosts Australia’s biggest surfing event yearly, the Sydney Surf Pro.

What to do at Manly Beach

This iconic beach has an endless amount of things you can do. From sticking to the golden sand or doing some water activities, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.

Learn to surf

Different surf schools teach people of all ages to surf on Manly Beach. You’ll start learning how to balance on a board on the sand before you start to head out to catch some waves.

If you already know your way around surfing, you can bring your own board or hire one nearby and catch some waves. Manly Beach has some great waves for beginners and pros.


Manly Beach is a great swimming location, especially when Sydney gets hot! There are yellow and red flags that are marked at the beach advising that you swim between them. This will keep you safe and where lifeguards patrol.

There is also a chill swimming spot towards the southern end of Manly Beach that doesn’t have waves. Perfect for those who would rather relax in the water.

Play volleyball

Around the middle part of Manly Beach, there are volleyball nets set up. Bring your family and friends or even make new friends and play volleyball!

Beach Volleyball


Right by the beach are plenty of cafes, restaurants, or pubs for food or drink. Or if it’s a hot day you may want to just grab some ice cream and walk back towards the beach to enjoy the breeze and watch the waves crashing in.

Walk along the foreshore

Enjoy the scenic views of the beach and Manly and walk along the foreshore. Take in the palm trees lined by the golden sand. You can try to keep an eye out for some surfers catching the waves out in the distance.

Manly Beach is the place to visit when you’re in Sydney. From the city, Manly Beach is about a 30 minute drive from Sydney Central or a 20 minute ferry from Circular Quay and a short walk to reach the beach.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.