Manly has evolved dramatically since my days as a Nipper at the Surf Life Saving club. Historically visited because of its picturesque beaches and laid back attitude, today Manly boasts an array of cultural drawcards that attract a crowd above and beyond beachgoers. These days it gathers lovers of great food, coffee and a good night out.
For most, a typical day in Manly will kick off with an ocean based activity followed by a coffee. Those inclined to skip the ocean grab their dogs and/or strollers and cruise over to one of a handful of excellent local coffee shops for their morning fix. Assembly Label serves a great takeaway coffee from their immaculate store front on Pittwater Rd, whilst surfers flock to The Shop Next door to drool over Donald Takayama surfboards and sip delicious Will & Co. brews from the integrated coffee shop. For a sit down breakfast, superfood fans head to Bare Naked Bowls or to Whistler street’s Ora Organic where you’ll also find Showbox Coffee Brewers curing a few hangovers. Across the road is Manly institution Barefoot Coffee Traders – after nine years in the street, they’ve moved to a larger location just three doors down.
Following breakfast, there’s plenty on offer in the way of activities. Those looking to get the adrenaline pumping can head to the wharf to book a thrill ride with Manly Ocean Adventures. The 900hp, purpose built rib (inflatable boat) makes short work of huge swells as it rockets out beyond the heads to Bondi, before making the trip back to Manly in a mere 11 or so minutes, at speeds of up to 90km/h. For a more relaxing itinerary, EcoTreasures run a Snorkel Walk and Talk tour in the clear waters off Shelly Beach, educating participants about Cabbage Tree Bay’s native marine life.
I’ll be back for the Australia Open of Surfing in February – it marks the beginning of the surfing calendar for the new year. From February 27 to March 6, the sport’s top professional, and junior athletes, (and a handful of surfing legends) showcase their skills alongside displays from surfing’s top brands, with the men’s and women’s professional finals hitting the water March 5 and 6. The nine day festival isn’t just about the swell – there’ll be live music, skateboarding showcases, I suggest you look into accommodation before it’s too late!
With direct links to the city via Sydney’s beautiful harbour, incredible beaches, and a cosmopolitan community living healthy lifestyles, and sampling some of Sydney’s best food and coffee, I find it fascinating that it’s not an area more people want to live in. Obviously I can’t speak for the tourists, but I’d be surprised if Manly wasn’t the go to destination for anyone travelling to NSW or Australia. The Manly we knew of 10 years ago has progressed in leaps and bounds, and it only takes a weekend to immerse yourself in its intoxicating lifestyle offering.
James was the guest of Destination NSW. Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.