My first visit to Manly Beach was in March of 1997. I stayed for two weeks, the first week with my friend Frank and the second week on my own.

Manly is a suburb of Sydney an interesting thirty minute ferry ride from Circular Quay (adjacent to the Opera House) across Sydney Harbour to Manly wharf.

The ferry service once advertised Manly as "seven miles from Sydney, and a thousand miles from care".

Captain Arthur Phillip named Manly after the original people living there apparently stating, "their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place". I thought is was called after someone called "Manly".

The ferry gently glides out past the iconic Opera House into the harbour, past the famous bridge and past Fort Denison, a very small island about 1 kilometer east that used to house the first jail.

On my 1997 visit we rented a two bedroom flat overlooking Manly Harbour. It was approximately 1200 square feet complete with living room, dining room and kitchen - a fully furnished home base for the same price as a hotel room in Sydney.

Ferry traveling from Manly back to Circular Quay
The brick building has the two bedroom flat - water front
View from behind the flat to the Manly Harbour
Busy day in the harbour

This made the perfect home base for exploring areas close to Sydney. I arranged for a trip every second day, taking the ferry back to Circular Quay where there were numerous small vans waiting to take people for local tours. In the time I was there I spent a day kayaking south of Sydney, a day in the Hunter Valley touring the wineries, a day hiking with a group on an Eco Tour following Darwins Trail, a full day visiting the Maritime Museum and a lot more.

Manly Residences, Beach and Corso

This was my first full holiday after starting what has turned out to be a 20+ year career with AstenJohnson and I still remember it well. I remember walking the promenade, suddenly realizing that the women sunbathing on the sand below were topless and being so distracted I really did walk into a lamp post. I remember trying kangaroo meat and finding it as good as a roast of beef. I remember seeing lobsters displayed at the maritime museum that were as long as I am tall - almost 6'. They weren't models! I found a place at Manly that served the smaller 2' cousins - and of course I had to try one. Actually only half of one, it was sliced lengthwise down the tail. Melt-in-the-mouth sweetly delicious.

The thing I remember the most was the plane back to Vancouver leaving without me. Apparently it flew over while I was on my morning hike. I thought my ticket was for a flight at 9:45 PM...but no, it was for 9:45 AM. No Worries!

I hoofed it to the local travel agency where a young lady took pity on me. She called the airline and got me rebooked on the same flight but two days later. I walked over to the rental agents, explained the situation and they let me stay the extra days since no-one else was scheduled to arrive, and then I sent a fax to my brother asking him to meet me at the Vancouver airport two days later.

When plans go sideways, at Manly Beach there's always a nice cold "VB"
Created By
Kenneth McLennan


All photos are my own unless otherwise noted. The map is a from Google Maps

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