Manly Beach Sydney: The Only Guide You’ll Need
Manly NSW 2095
Area: Northern Beaches
If you’re looking for a fun and friendly beach to enjoy on your next trip to Sydney, look no further than Manly Beach!
Manly Beach is a world-famous surf beach located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, approximately 15km north of Sydney CBD. With its gentle waves and sandy shores, Manly Beach is a paradise for surfers and sunbathers alike. The beach is also home to a large selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it the perfect place to spend a day in the sun. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves or simply relax in the sand, Manly Beach is sure to offer everything you’re looking for.
Manly sits on a beautiful peninsula and is lined by Norfolk Island pine trees on both the ocean and harbour beaches.
Manly sits on a beautiful peninsula and is lined by Norfolk Island pine trees on both the ocean and harbour beaches.
The beach is divided into three sections
- South Steyne
- North Steyne
Each section has its own surf club and is patrolled. South Steyne is closest to the Corso, which is the main, shop-lined promenade between Manly Wharf and Manly Beach and tends to get the busiest, especially in summer.
North Steyne is mainly frequented by surfers and Queenscliff is family friendly, with a rock pool, park and a playground just a short stroll away.
The beach is fully exposed to the sun so if you are planning a full day out, bring beach shelter. In summer you can hire beach chairs, umbrellas or you can spend part of your day on the grassy area which has large trees that provide some shade.
Whether you’re an action seeker or looking forward to a relaxing time on the beach, there are plenty of activities and attractions to make your visit unforgettable.
Manly Beach at a Glance
|Park / Reserve:||Yes at Queenscliff End|
|Picnic Tables:||Yes along the foreshore|
|Shade:||Yes under the trees|
|Swimming:||Yes at the beach|
|Beach patrolled:||Yes in 3 locations|
|Playground:||Yes along the foreshore and at Queenscliff end|
|Cafes / Restaurants:||Yes lots of cafes and restaurants|
|Toilets / Showers:||Yes|
|Parking:||Paid and free parking|
Stand-up paddle boarding
Things To Do at Manly Beach Sydney
If you have young children, they will enjoy:
- swimming in the rockpool
- playing at one of the playgrounds – either along the shore or near Queenscliff section
- building sandcastles
Older kids can:
- go bodyboarding
- throw a frisbee
- ride a scooter or bike
- skateboard along the promenade
Teenagers will have a lot of fun:
- stand-up paddle boarding
- body boarding
- riding a bike
Adults / parents / couples will enjoy:
- eating at one of the many restaurants and cafes
- sipping a cocktail or drinking coffee while enjoying spectacular view
- riding a bike
- strolling along the beach
- game of beach volleyball
If you don’t have your own equipment, you can hire bikes and skateboards from Henrietta Skate 2, 49-53 N Steyne, Manly.
Inline skates, scooters, skateboards, longboards, cruiser bikes and tandem bikes can be hired from from Skater HQ, Shop 2/49 North Steyne, Manly NSW, 2095
Surfboards and bodyboards can be hired from Manly Surfboard Rentals.
IMPORTANT: If this is your first time visiting Sydney or Australia, for your safety please make sure you swim between the red and yellow flags. However, if you are going to surf you will need to do that away from the swimming areas.
Learn to Surf at Sydney’s Manly Beach
Manly Beach is a popular destination for anyone who wants to learn surfing. If you haven’t surfed before or you’d like to refresh your skills and knowledge about the beach, it is a good idea to take lessons at an accredited surfschool.
Learn how to get on your feet quickly, discover the best and safest spots and find out how to behave in the water to avoid danger.
Manly Surf School offers:
- Adult Group Lessons
- Kids and Group Lessons
- School Programs
- Private Lessons
- Women’s Program
Manly Surf School offers daily lessons and cater to all levels of ability, age and fitness level. Find out more at Manly Surf School website.
If you want to see Manly Beach surf conditions, check out Surfcam and beach report.
Every year Manly hosts Australian Open of Surfing, which is a skate, surfing and music festival held over 9-10 days and attracts the world’s best surfers and skaters. For more information check out Surfing NSW website.
Hire a Bike at Manly Beach Sydney
For something different, explore Manly Beach Sydney and surrounding areas on a bike. You can either join a bike tour or head off on your own.
Manly Bikes has many different styles including E-Bikes, Hybrid Bikes, Cruiser Bikes, Road Bikes, Kids Bikes and even Tandem Bikes.
With each bike hire, you also get a helmet, lock, map and bar bag.
For more information about bike hire, check out Manly Bikes website.
Thanks to the many passionate volleyballers who play and teach at Manly Beach, volleyball has gained popularity over the past few years.
You will find permanent beach courts set up half way between South Steyne and North Steyne,. If you have your own ball, you can come and have a hit, but if you have never played before, check out adult beginner courses run by BeachVolleball.com.au.
I remember playing in a beach volleyball tournament in Manly many years ago. Although my friend and I had played indoor volleyball for quite a while, we were only new to the beach volleyball circuit. One of our first games we got to play against very experienced players.
Although they easily beat us, they were very gracious and even clapped when we scored a point against them.
Manly Beach Cafes and Restaurants
There are more than 100 cafes, restaurants, bars and eateries in Manly. Most of them are situated on The Corso or the beachfront. Some local favourites include
A little bit of Swedish haven right in the centre of Manly, Fika serves typical Swedish dishes including meatballs and skagen prawns, which are to die for.
Hugos offers one of Manly’s most spectacular waterfront locations, Watch Sydney ferries pull into the Wharf while enjoying delicious pizza, pasta or seafood dishes.
Located right on Manly Beach, the Pantry offers spectacular views and modern Australian cuisine. Restaurant is also licensed so you can enjoy one of their signature cocktails.
Fun place to hang out with friends. Awesome atmosphere and serves seafood, pizza, burgers and classics such as chicken parmigiana and schnitzels.
Manly Fish Market and Cafe
Great quality fish and chips and fresh seafood with large portions and at very reasonable prices.
Manly Ice Creams
Your children will enjoy the great variety of ice creams available in Manly including
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Royal Copenhagen
- Little Shop of Waffles
Accommodation at Manly Beach
Manly offers a wide range of properties – from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels
Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific
55 N Steyne, Manly NSW 2095
Located on Manly Beach, this hotel offers beautiful views and luxury accommodation. The 213 air-conditioned rooms include minibars, smart televisions and private bathrooms. Amenities include an outdoor pool and 24 hour fitness centre.
The Sebel Sydney Manly Beach
8/13 S Steyne, Manly NSW 2095
Situated across the road from South Steyne Surf club, The Sebel Sydney Manly Beach featurures 83 air conditioned rooms with private balconies. Amenities include 24 hour front desk, laundry, lounge/bar, hot tub or spa and business centre.
54-68 West Esplanade, Manly
Quest Manly is located directly opposite the Manly Ferry. Many rooms offer beautiful Sydney Harbour views. Quest Manly serviced apartment style hotel rooms offer guests a relaxed and comfortable Manly accommodation experience perfect for short or long stays. Amenities include gym and sauna, Foxtel, 24 hour reception and complimentary Wifi.
Shopping at Manly Beach
Manly’s shopping has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Many years ago, The Corso was dominated by touristy and cheap stores, but now the majority of shops are quality, with many surf and active wear outlets including Quicksilver, Ripcurl, Billabong and Roxy.
You will also find a newsagent with books and souvenirs as well as grocery and fresh produce stores.
On the weekend, Manly Market Place is very popular amongst locals. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm, you will find everything from historic photos to candles, fine design jewellery, accessories, homewares, prints, plants, clothing and art.
Getting to Manly Beach Sydney
North of the city, Manly is easily accessible from Sydney CBD by ferry. The trip only takes 30 minutes on a regular ferry or 15 minutes on the fast ferry and promises fabulous views of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
If you are coming from the airport or southern part of Sydney, simply follow the signs to North Sydney. Take either the scenic route by crossing the Harbour Bridge or make your way through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. Follow the road via Neutral Bay / Mosman and cross the Spit Bridge. Shortly after the Spit Bridge you will see signs that point you towards Manly.
There is a number of car parks, some of which have free 2 hour parking.
Whilstler Street Car Park
5a Market Place, Manly
Manly National Car Park
Central Avenue, Manly
24 East Esplanade, Manly Wharf
You will also find metered parking along the beach.
Most Manly side streets offer limited 1-2 hour parking
To plan your trip, visit Transport NSW website.
Toilets and Showers
You will find toilets and showers in each surf club building and there are also outdoor showers and bubblers on the beach promenade.
Public toilets are also available on the beachfront, across the road from The Corso, below The Pantry cafe/restaurant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Manly or Bondi Beach Better?
The Manly vs Bondi debate has been going on for a very long time and your preference will depend on your priorities.
Both beaches have their unique characteristics.
Bondi is closer to CBD, whilst Manly is a stunning ferry ride away from Sydney centre.
Both beaches are great for swimming, surfing and coastal walks.
Bondi beach is more lively and tends to attract younger tourists, whilst Manly Beach atmosphere is more chilled and family friendly.
If you are visiting Sydney, I would recommend checking out both beaches, but if you have time for only one, I would choose Manly because there is much more to see and do and Manly has a greater variety of cafes and restaurants.
Is Manly Beach Kid Friendly?
Manly Beach is very safe and kid friendly. Your children can explore the rocks and observe many sea creatures at South Steyne, swim between the flags, go body boarding, build sand castles and create their own sculptures by the sea, ride their scooters along the promenade, enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, kick the ball and throw a frisbee on the sea shore.
If Manly beach conditions are rough or the beach is closed due to dangerous currents, you can walk along the shore to Shelly Beach, where your kids can safely swim all year round.
You will also find a rock pool located between Manly Beach and Shelly Beach, which is also safe for swimming.
Where Can You See Penguins in Manly?
Cute fairy penguins can be seen at Manly Wharf during their nesting season (between July and February every year) The best time to see them is about an hour before sunset.
According to Environment NSW male penguins start returning to the colony in May / June to find or reconstruction suitable burrows.
Nest sites include under rocks on the foreshore, under seaside houses and structures including stairs and under overhanging vegetation including lantana.
The incubation period varies between 33 and 37 days with the male and female sharing incubation duties and shifts usually lasting 1 to 2 days.
For 2 to 3 weeks after the chicks have hatched, adults alternate between remaining in the nest and foraging at sea. The adults swap these guarding and feeding roles each evening and it is at this time they can be seen coming onto the shore.
Is It Safe to Swim at Manly Beach Sydney?
It is safe to swim at Manly beach, providing you follow the rules and swim between the yellow and red flags. There are 3 sections on Manly Beach that are patrolled by Surf Life Savers – South Steyne, North Steyne and Queenscliff.
If there are no flags, it is NOT a good idea to swim at the beach as there are often currents that can be dangerous. If you still want to swim, head to Shelly Beach, which is just 15 minute walk from Manly Beach along the foreshore. You can also safely swim at the Queenscliff Rock pool, located at the northern part of the beach.
Are There Sharks at Manly Beach?
Sharks are a natural part of any ocean and Manly Beach is no different. Whilst it is rare to hear of a shark attack in the area, it is wise to follow Shark Smart guidelines, which recommend swimmers and surfers should:
- Tell an on-duty lifesaver or lifeguard if you see a shark.
- Stay close to shore when swimming.
- Stay out of the water with bleeding cuts or wounds.
- It’s best to swim, dive or surf with other people.
- Avoid swimming and surfing at dawn, dusk and night – sharks can see you but you can’t see them.
According to SharkSmart not all sharks are dangerous to humans and nearly all shark bites in coastal waters are attributed to just 3 species
- Great white sharks
- Bull sharks
- Tiger sharks
NSW Department of Primary Industries has invested millions of dollars in a shark management strategy, trialling new technology such as drones, smart drumlines, shark listening stations and shark nets to protect beach goes while minimizing harm to marine life.
Learn more about staying safe at Shark Smart website.
Find out more about NSW DPI trial of drones to detect sharks as part of the shark management strategy in the video below.
Accommodation near Manly Beach
Ivana Katz is a Sydney based website designer and travel blogger. Having her own business has given her the freedom to explore the world. She believes travel is the best teacher and her passion for adventure, writing and photography has taken her and her son to some amazing places, including Hawaii, Canada, Fiji, Greece and Czech Republic. Ivana’s favourite thing about travelling is learning, discovering hidden gems and creating memories. She loves nothing more than inspiring other women to chase their dreams and explore the world with their families and friends.