The town of Manly is just 30 minutes north of Sydney, Australia by ferry. It is a town that caters to tourists and young professionals who make their living in the city but prefer to live in a place that is more relaxed and with less congestion. It also boasts one of the finest ocean beaches in the world – warm brown sand, abundant surf and a tree lined promenade that stretches for two miles or more along the verge of the Pacific.
My wife and I went to visit Manly during our recent trip to Australia. We chanced upon a delightful small hotel that had an ocean view and a roof top sundeck with pool that was reasonably priced. We liked it so much, we wound up calling the kids back in Sydney to say we had decided to stay an extra night.
Aussies are an active lot. Everywhere we looked, people were walking, jogging, biking, surfing, or taking courses at the local surf rescue school. At 7 a.m., we looked out the window to see a group of young men and women taking boxing lessons on the beach. Later, we watched as a young family went power walking down to the ferry landing to see Dad off to work in Sydney. He had his briefcase and suit coat over his shoulder. She was pushing the double wide stroller so the kids could wave to him from the shore. Somehow, commuting by ferry doesn’t seem as numbing as taking the Long Island Railroad into Manhattan every day.
Every time we go away, we ponder what it would be like to live in the areas we visit. Mostly, reality kicks in after a little while and we are glad to get back home when the journey is over. But we could live in Manly and be very happy. It is a nice blend of beachside life in a warm and scenic setting but with all the benefits of the city just a ferry ride away.
Later in our travels, we spent an afternoon at Bondi Beach, one of the most iconic shorefront communities in the world. But as pretty as Bondi is, the area was too crowded, too frantic and had too much traffic for our tastes. Plus, there is something about taking a ferry ride on Sydney Harbor that is delightfully relaxing, especially compared to the combination of trains and buses needed to get to Bondi.
We’re not sure when we will be going back to Australia, but we know that when we do, more time in Manly will be on the agenda. Lovely town. Can’t wait to sit on this bench again and gaze out at the town of Manly and the ocean beyond.
You can see all of the photos from the Manly excursion at this link. Enjoy!