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5 Reasons to Visit Manly on a Sunday [updated 2024]


There are more than 5 reasons to visit Manly Australia on a Sunday

Thinking of visiting Manly? Manly, on a Sunday or any day of the year, is one of Sydney’s top destinations.

You probably have heard of Manly Beach. But there is more to Manly than just its beaches.

Beaches close to Manly such as Freshwater and Shelly offer so much as well for the tourist. So if you plan a weekend in Manly head to those two beaches too! Freshwater has a great village feel and we can recommend having lunch at the newly renovated Harbord Hotel.

Travel tip for the Harbord Hotel – if you want an outside table book in advance

Shelly Beach has a great walk from the Manly Corso,  enjoy brunch or lunch at The Boathouse.

We love our home town and there is nothing better than spending a Sunday there on the beach or dining in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Manly is the best of all the Sydney Beaches, we are a little biased of course, but in 2019 it won the best beach award in Australia. Now that is saying something as there is a lot of competition out there. In 2023 Manly Beach has been voted 13th as one of the top beaches in the world out of 25 beaches and second among the top South Pacific beaches.

Most travellers on average spend at least 3 days visiting Sydney, which will give you a good feel for our city with lots of places to see and do within that time including Manly, but if you can spend longer we highly recommend it.

On Manly’s North Head is the Quarantine Station. You can stay for a night or two, take a history or ghost tour as well as dine at the Wharf Cafe, one of Manly’s best restaurants the Boilerhouse Restaurant and Bar and Views Cafe for a buffet breakfast. Spend some time in the local museum too!

Looking for tours around Sydney – check out our top Sydney tourist attractions here.

Related Reading: 

Sydney Byron Bay Road Trip

Hunter Valley Getaway – Australia’s Oldest Wine Region

Sydney To Canberra Road Trip Itinerary

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more information. 

Shelly Beach
Shelly Beach – a popular snorkelling spot in Manly

One of the most popular things to do in Manly is a snorkelling tour in Manly and Shelly Beach. This is an eco-certified tour. Reconnect with the natural world on an eco-tourism-certified snorkelling tour in Manly. Go for a nature walk to see the headlands and Northern Beaches, and then snorkel off Shelly Beach.

Read one of the reviews here: “An all-around fantastic experience. Saw plenty of marine wildlife with the help of our excellent guide Jeremy. The experience began with a pleasant walk.”

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To Travel Too Health Tip:

When travelling don’t forget to apply sunscreen at all times.  The Australian sun can be harsh and wearing sunscreen and a hat is highly recommended when out and about.

We also recommend that you take your own water bottle with you as well as hand sanitiser.  You can drink Australian tap water. There are water fountains along the Manly Beach walkway.

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Where is Manly in Sydney

Manly is on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and easily accessible from Sydney’s Circular Quay by Sydney Ferries.  It takes 30 minutes for the journey and the Manly Ferry runs every 30 minutes.  When you visit Sydney it is definitely a ‘must-do’ on your Sydney itinerary.

Full details of the Ferry to Manly Beach timetable can be found here

You can also travel by the Manly Fast Ferry.

Journey time is around 18 – 20 minutes.

Discover Manly (for those who like to have an organised tour)

If you prefer to take an organised tour to Manly there is a Manly Beach Bicycle and Sunset Cruise Tour.

The Manly Beach Cruise is Bonza’s most breathtaking ride, allowing you to enjoy the cool ocean breeze and stunning beach views. The tour combines a harbour cruise and a cycle tour, making it one of Sydney’s most unique experiences.

Check availability here

Manly and Northern Beaches Brewery Tour and Tasting

Spend the day exploring Sydney’s Northern Beaches on this brewery tour. Visit different breweries located at different beaches and taste what the local craft brewers have to offer.

Check availability here

What To Do in Manly Beach Sydney

1.  Enjoy the Surf Carnivals on Manly and the Northern Beaches

Freshwater Surf Carnival near Manly
Freshwater Surf Carnival
Freshwater Surf Carnival near Manly
Freshwater Surf Carnival


The beaches from Curl Curl, Freshwater, Queenscliff and Manly all enjoy Surf Life Saving Carnivals over the weekends.  You can find out exactly where and when here.

On some weekends major surf carnivals are held where clubs come from all over Australia to compete.

2.  Enjoy the local food of Manly

There are so many cafes in Manly you are spoilt for choice.  If you want to do something local on a Sunday support the local surf life-saving clubs.

Support the LifeSaving Clubs by Buying Egg and Bacon Rolls

Sandwich with the lot - supporting the local surf life saving associations around Manly
Sandwich with the lot – supporting the local surf life-saving association

Support the local Surf Life Saving Clubs, which have weekend sausage sizzles where all proceeds go towards helping the club save lives over the busy summer periods.

The Bower Restaurant – Fairy Bower

The Bower Restaurant at Fairy Bower near Manly
The Bower Restaurant at Fairy Bower

If a bacon and egg sandwich on a Sunday is not on your list, enjoy more options with a great cup of coffee with your brunch at the Bower Restaurant.

You will pass by the Bower Restaurant on your way from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach.

The Boathouse – Shelly Beach – Breakfast in Manly

The Boathouse Restaurant Manly
The Boathouse Restaurant

Another firm favourite of ours is The Boathouse at Shelly Beach.  You can order a coffee and ice cream and sit on the beach or we would recommend finding a table inside (which can be quite a feat on Sundays) and enjoying the local cuisine and the beach atmosphere.

Wharf Bar – The Best Bar in Manly and the World With Stunning Views of Manly

Wharf Bar Manly
Wharf Bar Manly

Any time of the year is a good time to visit the Wharf Bar.  They open at lunchtime and close late.  The views over Sydney Harbour are breathtaking and you can watch the Ferry come and go.

Address: Manly Wharf

Fancy Thai? Manly

Thai Food Mortar & Pestle Manly
Thai Food Mortar & Pestle Manly

One of our new favourite restaurants in Manly is Mortar and Pestle Thai Restaurant at 2 Darley Road.  Traditional Thai dishes in a funky setting. Reservations are required on the weekend.

3.  Enjoy the sculptures along the walk to Shelly Beach – a fun thing to do in Manly

One of the fun things to do in Manly, especially for kids is to find the sculptures on the walk.

Metal sculptures on the Shelly Beach Walk
Metal sculptures on the Shelly Beach Walk

As you wander along the path to Shelly Beach you will see many sculptures such as the one above which is of a local surfer surfing the break.  See if you can find the penguins, fish, shells, sea dragons and palms.

4.  Meet the locals of Shelly Beach

Water Dragon
Water Dragon

You may be lucky to come across the water dragons, who come out of their hiding spots to sun themselves on the rocks.

5.  Visit the Weekend Markets on the Corso in Manly

One of the best things to do in Manly on a Sunday.

Manly Weekend Markets
Manly Weekend Markets

Every Saturday and Sunday on the Manly Corso the Weekend Market is held.  Here you can browse the many stalls offering artwork, jewellery, clothes, food etc.

More Things To Do in Manly

Hire A Surf Board on Manly Beach

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

Why not hire a surfboard and enjoy surfing on Australia’s No. 1 Beach?

Swim in the Fairy Bower Rock Pool

Bower Rock Pool
Bower Rock Pool

On the way to Shelly Beach, there is a local swimming pool at Bower.  If you prefer swimming in a pool rather than in the surf this is ideal for you.  It is also perfect for families.

How To Get To Manly Beach

If you are in the city, take the Ferry for a spectacular and scenic ferry ride to Manly on Sydney Harbour. The journey takes 30 minutes.

Manly Ferry Timetable Details

How do you pay for your tickets on the Manly Ferry?

To pay for your Ferry tickets there are two options – the Opal Card or Mastercard.

Can you Drive to Manly?

You can hire a car from Sydney or from the airport when you arrive.  Parking Fees are high in Manly, even the locals who live in the next suburb refuse to pay the high parking fees and catch an Uber or the local public buses.

How To Get To Shelly Beach

Wander through the Corso (pedestrian-friendly area) to the main beach and turn right to wander to Shelly Beach.  Along the way, there are water bubblers to fill up your water container.

Where To Stay in Manly

Manly Pacific

Manly Pacific Sydney
Manly Pacific Sydney

The Manly Pacific is one of the most popular hotels.  The location is perfect, so close to Manly’s shopping area and right across the road from the beach.  We would recommend booking in advance for the Manly Pacific, especially at busy holiday times.

Guest review: The location and view were excellent. We were lucky to be at the Northern end of the hotel and have a lovely dual view of the beach and the church behind.

To check availability and book click here


Sebel Manly

Sebel Manly
Sebel Manly image

The Sebel Manly is located on Manly’s beachfront just 1 minute walk away.  It is located a few blocks away from the main shopping area. If you are considering visiting at busy holiday times you will need to book in advance. Enjoy the two swimming pools and the hot tub, all rooms with a private balcony.

Guest review: “The location was excellent! We also appreciated the room configuration in the family room, the refrigerator and the balcony. Staff were all very friendly and accommodating.”


To check availability and book click here

The Quest Hotel

The Quest Hotel is another popular property 1 minute from the beach and close to Manly Wharf.

Accommodations options include studio, 1 and 2-bedroom self-contained serviced apartments. Most include breathtaking views of Manly’s harbour. Facilities include a fitness centre and sauna.

Quest Boutique Hotel Manly
Quest Manly

Guest review: “Our 1 bedroom apartment was perfect with a view overlooking the harbourside beach.”


To check availability and book click here


More Hotel Options for Manly:



When To Visit Manly

The weather is perfect all year round although Summer can experience days in the high 30s. The busiest times are school holidays and public holidays.

Catch the sunrise on Manly Beach and sunset at the Manly Wharf.  At times during summer the return ferries in the afternoon can be very busy.  Be prepared to wait.

Cheap Flights to Sydney

Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner our go-to when researching and booking flights.

Sydney Airport Details

Sydney Airport is 30 km from Manly and  15 km from Sydney CBD.

Sydney Airport has a range of facilities for the traveller from free showers, airport hotels, airport lounges, medical services, a pharmacy and a range of food and beverage outlets.

Transport from Sydney Airport to Manly

Taxis can be quite expensive in Sydney. Uber is a great inexpensive way to travel to and from the airport and around the city.

Travel Insurance

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We hope you enjoyed our article on Manly and all that it has to offer.  Feel free to share this article with your family and friends. Is Manly worth visiting? Yes, it is, there is so much to do in Manly for family and friends.  Have you a special Manly activity that you enjoy doing? We would love to hear from you.




Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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