When you think of Manly, the beach is the first thing that comes to mind and it certainly has that, and it is definitely worth the visit (and swim!) when you go. But there is so much more to discover in this beach-side enclave.
If the first stop of your morning is the beach, enjoy just a dip or go beyond your comfort zone in the safe hands of the guys at Manly Surf School. The knowledgeable dudes will show everyone from beginners to the more experienced the best parts of catching waves and you will come away feeling exhilarated.
To dry off, or get wet again depending on your mood, check out Eco Treasures. They offer tours that include walking and snorkelling. I went on the Manly Coastal Walk Tour with one of the locals here and not only did I see parts of the Manly area that i have never seen before, I learned a lot about the history and eco-systems. It gave me a better understanding of why we need conservation in the area.
While I didn't get in to snorkel, the Shelly Beach area is alive with marine life that can even been seen while keeping your feet dry.
By now your Manly adventure will have worked up quite an appetite and luckily, there are many options to choose from no matter what your tastes.
Being by the water, seafood is always a good option. Manly Wine, located overlooking the beach, offers up an amazing selection, including a raw bar of the freshest selection. Bound to satiate.
If you want to continue to rest your weary self after an active morning, you don't have to look very far. Manly offers an incredible selection of small bars where you can chill out and sample some drinks. Stop by Donny's, Chica Bonita, Belgrave Cartel and 4 Pines Brewery to name a few. The hardest part will be picking just one!
If you plan on sticking around, the best spot in town for dinner is at Hugo's Manly. From here you have a great westerly aspect so you can watch the sun set over the hustle and bustle of Sydney in the distance while you enjoy amazing pizzas, fresh produce and of course, one last glass of wine.
It is easy to see why so many locals love Manly, and that so many tourists flock there too. This Sydney-sider has realised that sometimes the best holiday is really in your own backyard.