Manly- a thousand miles from care…

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

When I was at Uni and an impoverished student, one of my favourite things to do was take the ferry from Circular Quay across to Manly…and back again.

As we left the Quay I’d look at the passenger ships moored at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and dream about the day when I might be able to afford a trip on one of them- to somewhere warm and tropical, with white sands and palm trees.

Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas

Out on the water, I’d hang over the edge, enjoy the spray on my face and allow the wind to clean out the cobwebs in my brain.

No matter how hot and humid the day, out on the harbour there was always a breeze. I especially loved those stormy days when the ferry would bump and sway through the open waters near the Heads.

going through the Heads...
going through the Heads…

On a student concession it was an affordable form of stress release.

Miss T and I retraced those steps yesterday, spending the day in Manly.

We walked up The Corso to Manly Surf Beach, and then around the headland to Shelly Beach, stopping at the little shops at Fairy Bower (I love that name) half way along to buy these earrings.



and take a photo of this sculpture



before re-tracing our steps back to the wharf, via a fish & chips shop, after deciding that both Shelley Beach and Manly Beach were too full of people to be fun.

Manly Surf Beach, NYE 2012
Manly Surf Beach, NYE 2012

Instead, we ended up swimming at the netted beach beside the wharf. A significantly more relaxing choice…



This little beach is protected, so great for families- and for those, who like Miss T and I, wanted to be able to swim and float without worrying about being slapped in the head by an errant boogie board.

Then it was back on the ferry and into the city, where hundreds of thousands of people were already gathering to find a square of space from which to watch the NYE fireworks.

Getting there:

Manly used to be advertised as “7 miles from the city, a thousand miles from care…” I wouldn’t go that far these days, but by far the best way to arrive is by ferry. They leave from Circular Quay twice an hour- more often on special event days. Check the transport info website for more information.

Your best bet is to buy a multi trip or day rover ticket at the railway station or on your bus- it will get you on any government transport all day and will mean that you won’t be joining the queues at the ferry ticket office. On Sundays these are just $7.50, but are more expensive on other days. Again, check 131500 for pricing.

the Opera House taken from the Manly Ferry
the Opera House taken from the Manly Ferry

Eating There:

Manly is a key tourist destination… this doesn’t mean that you can’t get something good on your plate.

Manly Wharf has some good take away options and is also home to Hugos and Bavarian Bier Cafe.

Take a wander along the esplanade opposite the surf beach for other options, or venture around to Fairy Bower or Shelly Beach for other options.

Staying There:

Lots of options. Get onto or for ideas. Book well ahead for weekends, public and school holidays.


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

4 thoughts

  1. I haven’t spent much time in Sydney but do recall visiting Manly, but not by ferry. In fact I don’t think I’ve been on the water in Sydney. The photos look beautiful and I can understand your antipathy towards the busy beach. Yuck!

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