ARRGGGHHHH the biggest regret from my time in Australia is not spending more time here!!!! Manly had been recommended by sooo many people and what did we do? Left it until the day before we were leaving Sydney – idiots!
We hotfooted it down to Circular Quay and jumped on the ferry over to Manly. They run frequently, on the day we visited it was every 30 minutes, with the journey itself taking approximately 30 minutes. Now Manly was awesome…more on that later, for now let’s talk about the ferry ride and the VIEWS! Even if you have no interest in Manly you MUST take a ferry at some point to somewhere from Circular Quay. Get your elbows out and barge your way (I’m polite really) to the back of the ferry and wit to be amazed. To your right – the Sydney Harbour Bridge, right in front of you – the impressive Sydney skyline, to your left – the Sydney Opera House, below and all around you – beautiful, clear, blue (even though you are in a port) water. Perfect photo opportunity right there!
The ferry ride itself was fine with plenty of seats for those who need them. Also for locals who use this ferry service like I’d use a bus and have become blasé about the magnificent view on offer of such iconic Australian architecture (meh – fools). We did hit a bit of a swell which turned my stomach, absolutely no-one else on the ferry looked affected by it and my husband, who is a marine pilot, even called me a wimp – that’s love for you! If you do suffer from seasickness I’d advise taking this trip on a calm day.
When you arrive at Manly wharf walk straight through the building, cross the road and carry on walking down the main street until you hit Manly Beach. The laid back atmosphere is evident as soon as you step off the ferry. No hustle, no bustle just people going about their business in a relaxed manner. One guy was so relaxed he was casually walking down the street with his cat on his shoulders! No, joke 2 paws on one shoulder, 2 paws on the other – wearing him like a scarf. Now I don’t know if this fella is famous for this sort of thing in Manly but he is a star in my eyes, I can’t even pick my cat up without him biting me (ouch). Wish I had photographic evidence because whenever I tell people the story they look at me like I’m crazy – me? I’m not the one carrying a cat on my shoulders!
Anyway I digress…… we got there at lunch time so hit the row of restaurants on the seafront. Manly Bar & Grill stood out to me and we ordered, in the words of Samuel. L. Jackson, a very tasty burger! Bellies full and the surf calling we hit the relatively quiet beach all was good until we saw the ‘BEACH CLOSED’ sign! WHAT??? Therefore no swimming due to strong currents. Well obviously this means nothing as surfers and swimmers alike were not put off by this sign and neither were we, off came the flip-flops and a paddle ensued. This experience was bittersweet as it was the last time I would feel the warm waters of the Tasman Sea lapping at my ankles unless we return to Australia in the future of course, if not, then possibly forever.
If only we had come here sooner, if only we had got up earlier, if only…….I feel we didn’t even scratch the surface of what Manly has to offer but we loved the time we did spend there and would recommend it to anyone looking for things to do/places to go in and around Sydney. Oh and if you do decide to visit, keep your eye out for the ‘Cat-man’.