This weekend I went for a morning swim at Sydney’s beautiful Manly Beach. It seems that the water is getting warmer every week, as I managed to stay in for at least ten minutes this time! It was a beautiful Spring day and perfect for the walk from Queenscliff at the north end of Manly beach all the way up to Shelley Beach, about an hour’s leisurely walk there and back. Had I more time to spare (and by that I mean more money in the parking metre!) I would have loved to have done the Manly to Spit Bridge walk, a 10km walk which takes you up over North Head and through the Sydney Harbour National Park to the Spit Bridge in Seaforth. Next time I think I’ll take the ferry and do just that.
What I love about Manly is the fun loving vibe along the beach. There’s always so much going on in Manly and the beach is big enough to cater a crowd without feeling crowded. From the surf schools to the beach volley ball courts and surf life saving clubs, the beach is a hub of activity for locals and tourists alike, and has a great promenade for running/walking/cycling/rollerblading/pram pushing, as well as plenty of grass and shade. I also love the walk around to Shelley Beach because of its Mediterranean feel and the serenity of the beach itself, tucked away from the wind and one of Sydney’s best spots for snorkelling.
On the Corso, there are plenty of shops and restaurants and on Saturdays and Sundays you can visit the Manly Market Place, a smallish market but good enough that if money were no object I could have found something to buy at every stall. Home of the Manly Jazz Festival and the Manly Food, Wine & Sustainability Festival, there are plenty of reasons to visit Manly if not just for the sun, surf and sand alone.
A few quick facts I learned about Manly: The town area was the traditional home of the Kay-ye-my and Cannalgal clans. When Captain Arthur Phillip Jackson sailed into what we now know as Manly Cove in 1788, he wrote that the natives of the land had waded into the water unarmed and that their ‘confidence and manly behaviour’ made him give the name of Manly Cove to the area. An initially amicable relationship turned sour when it became clear that the visitors would outstay their welcome and also introduce a wave of smallpox disease, kidnappings, theft and shootings that would wipe out almost the entire existing community. It is a sad fact that the beautiful surroundings and fun loving Manly we enjoy today comes at the cost of such a dark chapter in our nation’s history.
All in all, it was a great day to explore and learn a little about one of Sydney’s most treasured spots, and I can’t wait to visit again. The council does a great job of keeping the town clean and it’s clear that this is a corner of Sydney that the locals take a lot of pride in. I’d recommend taking the bus or ferry if you can, as it’s only about 30 minutes either way from the city, and then you don’t have to worry about paying for or finding a park.
After a big walk and a refreshing swim I had a big appetite for these zucchini fritters, which I had been meaning to try after coming across the recipe on one of my favourite blogs, Smitten Kitchen.This recipe is fail safe, and the result was delicious! I highly recommend.
Until next time,