Taking a break from settling into our new lives in Sydney we took a day trip to the suburb of Manly. Located northeast of the harbour the best way to do this is via ferry from Circular Quay.
The public ferry is the best. As part of the journey you get a mini tour of Sydney Harbour on route to Manly. Passing the Opera House and Royal Botanical Gardens, Shark Island, Watsons Bay to the south and Taronga Zoo to the north.
Manly was named by Captain Arthur Philip, the founder of Sydney, in respect to the “confident and manly behaviour” of the indigenous people living there. A quick wander along the beach in summer makes that claim as true today as it was back then!
We landed at Manly wharf and headed down the Corso – a thoroughfare of shops, restaurants and bars and – before reaching Manly Beach. Separated from the town by a wall of Norfolk Island Pine trees – Manly Beach reminded us of Middleton Beach in Albany except for one thing…Lots of people.
Volleyballers, nippers learning to surf, sunbathers and posers alike. It is very hard to think that daylight sunbathing and swimming was only allowed in 1903. Nestled in the corner of the beach is the Manly Life Saving Club – regarded as one of the oldest in the world.
The weather was amazing and it was a scorcher that day.We got some lunch in a local cafe before walking it off along Manly’s promenade.
We stumbled across the Olympic Trail – a permanent display dedicated to Manly’s proud history of representation at the Olympic Games. Cycling, Swimming and Sailing medalists share spaces with, if you can believe it!, Winter Olympians! Boy Charlton (Swimming) and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor (Sprinting) were two of the names on display.
But it’s not just sport that Manly has to offer. It is also home to Man Booker Prize-winning author Thomas Keneally, whose book Schindler’s Ark was adapted by Steven Spielberg into the Oscar Winning picture Schindler’s List.
There is a huge walking trail from Spit to Shelly Beach that we will have to come back for but not today as we had to get the ferry back.Our last surprise was a chance encounter with a group of dolphins in Sydney Harbour who swam and jumped around our ferry.