Manly is only a 30 minute ferry ride or 15 minutes by Jetcat away from Sydney's CBD. It is an ideal location to relax and unwind in whilst still enjoying everything that Sydney has to offer.
There are plenty of great attractions and activities for the whole family in and around Manly.
Oceanworld - A short stroll from Manly Wharf, Oceanworld offers three levels of fun for animal lovers. The main attraction is the Oceanarium, where visitors can get a taste for life under the sea. Located on the lower level is a 110 metre long tunnel which takes you past and underneath sharks, stingrays, turtles and a vast array of underwater creatures. On the ground level, visitors will be enthralled by some of Sydney’s best displays of tropical fish, corals and venomous sea creatures. On the upper level there is a dangerous Australian animal show three times daily, where visitors get up, close and personal with snakes, spiders and crocodiles. For the kids, Oceanworld also has a sleepover program, and for the adventurous grown ups, Shark Dive X-treme is an experience of a lifetime.
At North Fort, the Royal Australian Artillery National Museum contains the history of Australian Gunners in their role in conflict, in peace keeping operations and also as nation builders. One of the highlights of the Museum is a tour of the tunnels and fortifications of North Head, a key site for the protection of Sydney Harbour during war years, and until recently, restricted from public access. The Museum’s Café is situated on one of the best vantage points on North Head – so make sure to take time out for a cool dink or snack and enjoy the view.
Manly’s natural beauty is one of the main attractions for visitors today. Surfing beaches -Manly, North Steyne and Queenscliff make up the 1.5 kilometres of oceanfront, and Shelly Beach to the south is one of the Australian east coast’s only west-facing beaches.
Surrounded by three National Parks, the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve is home to a rare colony of fairy penguins, seahorses, weedy seadragons, turtles, pelicans, cormorants and more than 550 species of fish. Regular visitors now include southern right whales, seals and dolphins. The harbour National Parks and harbour beaches are popular for walks and picnics, and provide an abundance of native flora and fauna.
The Quarantine Station within the Sydney Harbour National Park at North Head was in use until 1984 housing immigrants and settlers arriving in Australia from countries where diseases such as smallpox, bubonic plague, cholera and Spanish influenza were rife.
Today it is rumoured that the supernatural are the most frequent inhabitants. Visitors can take a guided Ghost Tour of the facility by lantern light most nights of the week, and hear tales of the bizarre happenings and of the fascinating history of the site. There are also daytime tours and special Junior Ghost Buster Tours on Friday nights.
Opened in 1930, the Manly Art Gallery and Museum is probably one of Sydney’s best regional galleries and is a must do for visitors, hosting regular exhibitions of both local and international artists. The gallery also features Australian art, ceramics, local history collections, paintings of Manly, historical photos, as well as swimming costume and beach memorabilia. Other excellent local galleries include the Raglan Street Gallery, Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery and Vittoria Gallery.
Manly Waterworks - Many people who grew up in Manly have fond memories of the Manly Waterworks, spending hours on the three giant slides that the facility offers. Open on school and public holidays, and weekends from October to Easter, the Manly Waterworks will keep the kids and the young at heart amused for hours.
There are regular events and festivals held throughout the year. During June, the Manly Food and Wine Festival draws excellent crowds of food lovers and in October the Manly Jazz Festival is not to be missed. Other celebrations are held at Manly each year with New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Manly Wharf and Carols by Candlelight at Manly Lagoon.