SNAP GUIDE

Sydney: Manly & North

Manly's apt motto is "Seven miles from Sydney, a million miles from care." The north shore has beautiful beaches and casual eating. It's also home to Sydney's zoo and a patch of eucalyptus forests.

SEE Manly Beach
Manly Visitor Information Centre, 011-61-2/9976-1430.
Take a JetCat or ferry to Manly from Circular Quay; the beach is an easy walk from the ferry terminal. A mile-long strip of seashore where gorgeous surfers while away the days. You can rent surfboards (try Dripping Wet Surf Company, 93-95 North Steyne, Shop 2, 011-61-2/9977-3549, drippingwetsurf.com; $34 per day) or join an impromptu game of beach volleyball. The three surf clubs along the beach have showers and bathrooms. The 1.5-mile walk from Queenscliff at the north end of Manly to southern Shelley Beach is lovely.

SEE Taronga Zoo
Bradleys Head Rd., 011-61-2/9969-2777, zoo.nsw.gov.au
No other zoo in the world has a backdrop like Sydney Harbour. Look for native fauna-koalas, kangaroos, and platypuses. $23, $12 kids, ages 4 and under free.

SPLURGE Seaplane Safaris
011-61-2/9371-3577, seaplanesafaris.com.au
Fly from Rose Bay to national park-fringed Cottage Point Inn for a decadent lunch of, say, panfried wild kingfish followed by a raspberry soufflé with white chocolate ice cream. The four-hour tour includes the 15-minute flight each way and lunch, plus the rush of landing on water. At $308 per person (minimum two people), it's no cheap thrill; a 10-minute sightseeing flight (about $85) is more wallet-friendly.

EAT Bathers Pavilion Café
4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach, 011-61-2/9969-5050, batherspavilion.com.au
The essential Sydney view of a picturesque beach and a sea of sails on Middle Harbour is best soaked up during weekend brunch or lunch at this light-filled café. Louvered windows face the beach, and the salt air stirs up a hunger for French-Canadian chef Serge Dansereau's cooking. Try the oven-baked beans with ham hock (his dad's recipe) for breakfast, or lentil-and-taleggio ravioli for lunch.

EAT Manly Wharf Hotel
East Esplanade, Manly Wharf, 011-61-2/9977-1266, manlywharfhotel.com.au
Upmarket pub food-such as blue swimmer crab risotto and overflowing seafood platters-by the water's edge. The Jetty Bar, on the original wharf and overlooking the harbor, is the pick of the hotel's three watering holes.

EAT Whitewater
35 South Steyne, 011-61-2/9977-0322
Flying Fish designer Michael McCann did the beach house-style interior of this newcomer to Manly's dining scene. The menu is a mix of modern Australian and Asian dishes; steamer baskets of Cantonese-style duck in wheat pancakes are all the rage. There are comfy padded white seats, fruity cocktails, and a gas fireplace in the bar.

DRINK Newport Arms Hotel
Corner of Beaconsfield and Kalinya Sts., 011-61-2/9997-4900, newportarms.com.au
The social hub of the northern beaches and Australia's largest beer garden. Everything is big about this place, from the three children's playgrounds to its beer selection-there are some 18 on tap. Set above the idyllic Pittwater estuary.

DRINK Steyne Hotel
75 The Corso, Manly, 011-61-2/9977-4977, steynehotel.com.au
Seagulls, sunshine, fish and chips, and cold beer. There are nine bars in all, spread over two levels. Head to Stage One upstairs for simple steak-and-salad-style meals overlooking the beach, or visit on Tuesdays and Thursday nights for $9 pizzas. You can stay here, too: Comfortable ocean-view rooms cost $99 double, including breakfast.

PLAY Bradleys Head Walk
From Taronga Zoo wharf (take ferry from Circular Quay) to Chowder Head
An easy-to-negotiate 1.3-mile walk through eucalyptus forests and past the old cannons that once defended Sydney. Just follow the shoreline from the ferry wharf and pack a picnic to enjoy at Bradleys Head, which looks back toward the city.

PLAY North Sydney Olympic Pool
4 Alfred St. South, Milsons Point, 011-61-2/9955-2309, northsydney.nsw.gov.au
An unforgettable swim on the harbor's edge, flanked by the bridge and the kaleidoscopic colors of Luna Park (Sydney's version of Coney Island). The massive pool complex also has a sauna, spa, and gym, and has been the training ground for many an Olympic champ. $3.70.

ESCAPE Shark Island
In the middle of Sydney Harbour, Shark Island is an underappreciated gem that's perfect for an afternoon picnic. Hop a ferry to the island (matilda.com.au, click on Ferry Services, $12 round trip), and within 20 minutes you'll feel miles away from the city-even though the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are just visible in the distance. There are picnic shelters and restrooms on the island, and a little beach for swimming. Free.

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

Budget Travel Real Deals


  • From $1,199

See more deals »

Video


Our newsletter delivers vacation inspiration straight to your inbox.

Video


Check Prices