5 things we love about Manly!

Summer has officially arrived in Sydney and, as you know, there’s nothing we love more than being at the beach. You can imagine how happy we were when our awesome friends said we could stay at their place in Manly while they nipped home to the UK for Christmas! (Thanks Dani & Dave, legends!)

Two weeks in this amazing suburb has left us seriously considering a permanent move here, yes, it’s that good! We’ve totally fallen for this place. The locals are super friendly, there’s a whole bunch of stuff to do no matter what you’re in to and it feels like you’re a million miles from the buzz of the city despite it being a short 20-30 minute ferry ride away…pretty cool huh!?

So, in true Freedom Travellers style we want to share a few must dos with you guys. Whether you live in Sydney and want a great place to check out on a weekend, or you’re visiting from overseas or out of town, Manly is a place that you just must hit up.

Here’s our top 5 fave things about Manly…

The Surf

Less crowded than Bondi but with just as many good waves, if not more (Manly has a longer stretch of beach), the surf here is great for all levels from beginner to Kelly Slater wannabe. There are a bunch of places for you to hire a board or book a lesson (recommended if you’re brand new to surfing). Hit up the guys at Dripping Wet, they will look after you with everything you need to get started! It does get pretty crowded during summer but still always worth it if you get a few good waves. For more experienced surfers, head to the Queenscliff end of the beach where you’ll be in good company.

Little Penguins

Vic could not believe it when she heard that penguins lived in Manly…and then we saw them for ourselves! A rare colony of Little Penguins also think that Manly is a pretty cool place to live and have taken up residence at a couple of different spots around the Sydney’s North Harbour. These little guys are super shy and you’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of them at sunset. They are also endangered so it’s really important to give them some space and let them do their thing. Check out all the info about Manly’s Little Penguins here.

Great Eats & Watering Holes

We love finding new brekkie spots and places for a great dinner or two. One of the absolute best things about this place is the variety of places to grab a bite overlooking the Harbour or the beach.

Our top pick for coffee and a great brekkie is The COFFEE Shop Next Door on Pittwater Road who’s next door neighbour The Shop Next Door stocks an eclectic collection of surfboards and apparel. We love this place and recently purchased some shiny new skateboards from there so we could zip around Manly. Be sure to check this place out and say hi to Taylor and the guys, they’ll be sure to look after you!

For pub grub and real ale hit up 4 Pines for a good feed and a refreshing palette cleanser, these guys brew their own beer! Great views over the wharf too. Same goes for Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club or ‘The Skiffy’ as it’s commonly known. Recently refurbished this is a perfect spot to see the ferries come and go and watch the sunset over the water. For a beer and burger and somewhere to party on for the night head to Manly Wharf Hotel which is home to the awesome Chur Burger, best burgers in town!

Grab a great lunch or snack at Miss Chu! This place has awesome rice paper rolls, dumplings and yummy pho…quick and easy when you’re on the go.

For a cool dinner spot head to Daniel San on North Steyne overlooking the ocean. We LOVE this place. Great Japanese food mixed with a crazy fun vibe, awesome tunes and pinball machines. In their own words “If Mr. Miyagi, Layne Beachley and Flume were to catch up for a chow-down, they’d be sure to do it at Daniel San.” Tell me that doesn’t sound like a place you’d want to check out?! Also check out their rooftop bar Dojo for an amazing view over the water.

Endless fun!

There are so many fun things to do in Manly…We love Paddleboarding and it doubles up as a great workout! See the guys at Mambo Coffee & Tees who can hook you up with a paddleboard for a couple of hours. Shelley Beach is one of our favourite spots to walk to and chill out. It’s the perfect place to have a dip on a hot day. There’s also amazing snorkeling at Cabbage Tree Bay just round the corner. Or, make like a local and grab a skateboard or beach bike and zip up and down the beachfront.

Hidden Walks

There are a whole bunch of amazing walks to do around Manly. We’ve been out and about on foot so much while being here. Whether you want a quick cruise down to Shelley Beach, or a full on Aussie bush walk all the way to the Hawkesbury River (47km…that’s a long one!) there’s a walk to suit everyone. Our top pick for walks in the area is the Manly to Spit, one of the most scenic walks in the whole of Sydney (post to follow). We also loved taking a walk down to Little Manly…another spot to keep an eye out for those Little Penguin friends of ours!

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