5 Reasons to Visit Manly on a Sunday

Sculpture on the Surf Swimming Pool on the Shelly Beach Walk


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

Manly, on a Sunday in Summer, there is so much to see and do in this beachside town in Australia. Beaches close to Manly such as Freshwater and Shelly offer so much as well for the tourist. 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.

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.

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(Editor update 2020)

Where is Manly in Sydney

Manly Sydney Map

Map of Sydney showing Manly Beach Australia

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.

Tour to 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.

If you are short of time when you visit Sydney there is another option to take a that includes Manly Beach and a Sydney Harbour Cruise.

Manly Beach Sydney

It does not get any better than this – Manly Beach

What To Do in Manly

1.  Enjoy the Surf Carnivals

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

2.  Enjoy the local food

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, an egg, bacon, sausage sandwich will set you back $7.  If this is too big for you, you can opt for a bacon and egg for $6 or just a bacon sandwich for $5.  All proceeds go towards helping the club save lives over the busy summer periods.

The Bower Restaurant

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.

The Boathouse

Boathouse Restaurant Shelly Beach

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 the World With Stunning Views

Manly Wharf Hotel

The best place to enjoy a meal or a drink with views over Sydney Harbour

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.


3.  Enjoy the sculptures along the walk to Shelly Beach

Metal sculptures on the Shelly Beach Walk

Metal sculptures on the Shelly Beach Walk

As you wander along the path 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

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

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

Hire a surf board

Hire a surfboard on Manly Beach

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

Swim in the Bower Rock Pool

Rockpool at Bower near Manly Beach

Swim in the Rock Pool at Bower

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

Manly Ferry

The Manly Ferry runs from Circular Quay and return

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.

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

Novotel Manly

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

Sebel Manly

The Sebel Manly also fronts the beach.  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.

The Quest Hotel

The Quest Hotel is another popular property set back away from the beach frontage.

More Hotel Options:

Manly has many accommodation options for visitors. Make sure you reserve your accommodation in advance during Christmas and New Year and Easter periods.

Airbnb Manly Australia

If you prefer to stay in self-catering accommodation Manly has many apartment options for you through Airbnb.  If Manly is booked out, search the other suburbs such as Freshwater and Dee Why which are located on beaches just north of Manly.

You will need to book in advance for holiday periods such as Christmas/New Year and Easter.


When To Visit Manly

The best time to visit is on Australia Day when the seaside suburb celebrates the founding of Australia.

The weather is perfect all year round although Summer can experience days in the high 30s.

Sunrise is a special time to visit as well, anytime during the year.

Flights to Sydney

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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

For travellers from New Zealand click here for the latest travel insurance quotes.

For travellers from the rest of the world click here for the latest travel insurance quotes.

Do You Need A Visa For Australia

Some countries require a visa to enter Australia. Click below for more information.


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  • Manly seems like an awesome travel destination. Thanks for the practical and useful tips! I fell in love with this place thanks to your pictures. Is summer the best season for visiting it?

  • Sarah says:

    You had me at the egg, bacon and sausage sandwich and for a good cause too. Win -win! Haven’t been to Manly in years, still looks like a fun place to visit 🙂

  • Anda says:

    It seems to me that Manly is quite crowded on Sundays, so I would prefer another day of the week. I would probably miss the Surf Carnivals Manly Weekend Markets if I come during the week, but could spend a quiet time on the beach, or in one of those restaurants.

  • Pooja says:

    I have never visited Manly
    These 5 reasons are compelling me to do so. The water dragons sure look intimidating though. Overall it looks like a fun place.

  • Paula says:

    Looks like an awesome beach city with great food! What more can you ask really? I have never been to Australia yet, but it is always great to read about places there that I have not heard of. This too, looks like it’s a worth to visit. Loved the photos.

  • David says:

    I’ve yet to visit Australia but Manly is definitely on my visit list. The surf festival would be interesting to watch and I’ve not heard of that before. Would rather not meet a water dragon though!

  • I wasn’t aware of this place before but I think it is surely an interesting place that I would love to visit. I love markets and I don’t mind crowds. Hence I would rather prefer visiting Manly on a Sunday.

  • umiko says:

    Although I’m not a big fan of crowd, the surf carnival looks like something that worth to do. A good time to support the Surf Life Saving Club by breakfast on the beach and watching the major surf life club competing. Scouting for sculptures along Manly to Shelly beach will be a fun thing to do as well.

  • Amar Singh says:

    I have Australia on my list and look to visit it next year so surely will try and add Manly on my list of places to visit. I am a sucker for beaches and beach side cafes so ticks my box perfect. Looks like a lively place and a great place to surf as well with surfing festivals in the summer season. Would try the local food as you stated and that’s the best way to enjoy a new country and city. The best beach in Austria yes you sold it to me.

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