An idyllic spot cherished for its sun-kissed beaches, stylish dining scene and gorgeous parks, Manly boasts plenty of charm. Just a 30-minute drive or short ferry ride from Sydney's CBD, it seems made for weekends away. Thinking of escaping for a short break? Here's how to spend 48 hours in beach-chic Manly.
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After settling in, get the holiday vibes happening and treat yourselves to a romantic dinner by the water. A top option for coastal views and an intimate atmosphere, The Pantry Manly sits right on Manly Beach's golden sands. With huge bifold windows that let in relaxing coastal breezes, this elegant mood-lit spot celebrates the best in seasonal cuisine – the super-fresh Hervey Bay scallops are a must-try.
Just a short stroll along the beach away, Manly Greenhouse is another fantastic dinner option. Loved for its trendy rooftop bar, panoramic water views and airy restaurant, it's great for woodfired pizzas, enticing small plates and sunset cocktails. Elderflower spritz, anyone?
After something a little different? Check out local institution 4 Pines Brewing Company, just across the road from the Manly Wharf. Sure to be a hit with brew-lovers, it runs brewery tours Monday to Friday and serves up classic pub fare (think favourites like chicken parmigiana, slow-cooked brisket sandwiches and vegetarian soft tacos), plus enchanting water views. We'll raise a pint to that!
Get ready to take on an action-packed day with a belly-filling breakfast. You're spoiled for choice in Manly, with something for both wellness-lovers and couples seeking something indulgent. For top-quality coffee, baked-that-morning pastries (the menu changes daily) and inventive breakfast staples, pull up a stool at millennial-friendly Rollers Bakehouse in the Manly Corso. Prefer something a little healthier? Keep things wholesome with something tasty from nearby Ora. Acclaimed for its use of organic local-grown produce, the cafe is known for its turmeric lattes and raw sweets.
A real must-do before you leave, the iconic Spit Bridge to Manly Walk is one of the best ways to see the incredible region. Hugging Sydney Harbour's coastline, the 10-kilometre track offers up breathtaking scenery and finishes at Manly Beach – reward your efforts with a refreshing dip for a wonderful day out. Along the way, you'll pass 1,000-year-old Aboriginal rock engravings, sub-tropical landscapes and tiny pockets of sand, making for an extraordinary sight-seeing experience.
Another popular Manly pastime, exploring the local beaches is a simple delight couples will love. Surfers, Manly Beach is an obvious go-to (join a surf class if you're looking to get skilled-up), while Shelly Beach and Little Manly beach are ideal for sunbathing, beach picnics and even snorkelling. No, that's not a typo – you can go snorkelling just under half-an-hour from Sydney's CBD here.
Before night falls, top off a spectacular day with a sunset dip at the picturesque Fairlight Rockpool near Manly Cove. Protected from the surf, the tidal swimming pool here is perfect for unwinding at the end of the day.
If you're looking to keep things laid-back after a day spent exploring, pick yourselves up some fish and chips from one of the many local vendors and find a quiet spot amongst the pine trees at Manly Beach. A handful of crumbed whiting with chips and lemon, a postcard-perfect spot, a cool breeze – it's a beautifully simple treat that's hard to resist.
Or, if you feel like dressing up a little, wander over to the aptly named Manly Wine that overlooks Manly Beach. A winner for its seafood, creative tipples and impressive wine list (of course), this Hamptons-inspired hangout is a bit of a local gem.
Before you leave for the city, fit in time for a visit to the open-air Manly Market Place. Showcasing the work of talented local designers, providores and creatives each weekend, it's fabulous for picking up a souvenir or two.
Want to squeeze in another adventure before repacking your bags? Feel immersed in nature when you discover North Head's sensational Sydney Harbour National Park. Located on the northernmost edge of the harbour and with truly magnificent scenery, this magical spot is home to amazing walking tracks (keep an eye out for bandicoots and possums) and cafes-with-a-view.
Foodies, make the most of your last day with lunch at hip Daniel San – expect delicious old-school classics with a Japanese twist. Or, watch the ferries pass by while sharing exquisite cuisine at Hugo's Manly, right on Manly Wharf. Cheers to a marvellous weekend!
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Images sourced via: Unsplash, www.facebook.com/manlygreenhouse, www.thepantrymanly.com/ and www.manlywine.com.au/