Manly is actually a suburb of Sydney that is most easily reached by a ferry across Sydney Harbour. The fast ferry for $9 can get you there in 20 minutes and offers a terrific water-side perspective of Sydney’s Famous Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Manly has a relaxed, surfer, holiday vibe with four beaches (including Manly Beach) within an easy walking distance, albeit with a few steep climbs. The ‘Corso’ or pedestrian mall, connects Manly’s Ferry Wharf with Manly Beach and is filled with places to shop, eat, drink, sit, listen to street music and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
Cocktails: The Blind Barrel
Blind Barrel is all about the fine art of the cocktail. Our born and raised New York bartender knew her way around, particularly with bourbon and their own house-infused, barrel aged whiskey, gin, and vodka. This is not an establishment we could only visit once. Proper cocktails need proper glassware and Blind Barrel knows that too. The Maple Old Fashioned made with Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon, maple syrup and cinnamon bitters was a nice twist on the classic and not too far off base for Old Fashioned traditionalists. The idea of mixing bourbon with tea (yum) and adding cinnamon bitters, aka a Spiced Bourbon Sweet Tea, is one recipe that we are taking home with us.
Lunch: The Bavarian
The Bavarian might be known for it’s beer and sausages but it was the salad that had us (one of us, that is) coming back. The spectacular location, overlooking Manly Cove, has a view from almost every seat. The ‘Create Your Own‘ salads and wraps note pad at each table allow diners to choose from a huge selection of salad ingredients, all at one set price. As they say at The Bavarian, you can literally ‘stuff your salad’ and enjoy it. It is served in a big stainless steel bowl with a pretzel roll on the side. It is a salad lovers dream. Paired with a glass of local Sauvignon Blanc, and a water view, you can’t go wrong. And it’s almost a healthy lunch.
Tucked away in an alley-like off shoot of Manly’s busy Market Lane, Cured is more bistro than restaurant, with a small, but well executed menu and extensive wine list. The vibe is laid back, but sophisticated, with interior banquettes, a few high tops for two, and outdoor bistro tables. Cheese, meats, pickles and bread are carefully sourced and served with pride from knowledgable staff. Cured’s traditional Swiss cheese fondue is the main attraction, created with 18 month gruyere, 7 month vacherin and a secret Valais mountain cheese. Accompaniments include house-made pickles, a portion of cured meat, potatoes and sourdough bread. The list of add-on patés, meats, cheeses and other breads is long. Creating our own charcuterie plate, without fondue, from the 22 meats and 14 cheese selections is also an option. We enjoyed a bottle of 2014 Williams Crossing Pinot Noir from Macedon Ranges region of Australia with our fondue. Oh, and the WIFI is excellent too!
Must Do: Walk The Beaches
A visit to Manly is really about the beach. After Bondi, Manly is Sydney’s second most popular beach. Manly Beach is wide and well maintained. There are lifeguards all along and a rental station for loungers, umbrellas, body and surf boards. It is a great spot to sit back and watch the waves, the people and the surfers. For the more active, there are beach volleyball nets and bike rentals. Across the street from the beach is easy access to both coffee and ice cream shops and almost unlimited restaurant choices.
Shelly Beach is the easiest walk from Manly, only a 10-15 minute stroll along a paved seaside walking path. Shelly Beach is a protected marine reserve, so if you are wanting to snorkel this is the place. It is calm, so stand-up paddle boarding is much easy here than on the open water.
Freshwater Beach is enclosed by two highlands, so although it is still very busy it almost feels private. The walk from Manly to Freshwater takes you up and over Queenscliff Head. The climb is steep (using stairs and a paved walking path) both up and down and takes 20-30 minutes but the view from above Freshwater beach is worth the climb. We also found our favourite breakfast spot here, at Calm Cafe. They actually serve bacon and egg rolls, or what we refer to as breakfast sandwiches, which were hard to find made with a bun of muffin and not a Croissant.
If you are up for a longer walk, Curl Curl Beach (North and South) gets you further away from the action. It is about a 45 minute walk from Manly and mainly frequented by locals. Curl Curl is known as one of Sydney’s best surfing beaches so there is a lot to watch going on here. The north beach also has a shallow water lagoon.
Even if you only stick your big toe into the ocean (like us), Manly and the surrounding area, is beach life at its best. Temperatures have not yet warmed up in the water to ‘summer’.
If you are interested in our visit to Auckland, New Zealand last week, you can read that post here.
We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf for 10 years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of August 2016 our life and our business is ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.