Manly is a beautiful coastal suburb that sits on the northern shores of Sydney Harbour. It attracts thousands of visitors each year with its picturesque scenery, impressive coastline, and a wide range of activities on offer. If you’re looking for something unique to do in Manly, here are some suggestions:

1. Explore Manly Cove’s Secret Beaches 

Many visitors miss out on the secret beaches of Manly Cove, which are beautiful secluded spots that are just waiting to be discovered.

Collins Flat Beach is one hidden gem, accessible only by walking through a bush trail. Its secluded location makes it an ideal spot for relaxing in peace, and it has a very flat/shallow beach shelf, making it ideal for the little ones. Collins features a waterfall and brilliant snorkelling, with plenty of marine life in the nature reserve.

Store Beach is another special find, a golden sand beach that is only accessible by boat or kayak. The beach feels like a tropical oasis, only 20 minutes from Sydney’s CBD. Keep an eye out for little penguins, which use the reserve as a breeding ground.

Another must-visit beach is Little Manly Cove, a small protected beach that offers calm waters perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding.

These secret beaches are well worth finding and are sure to add a little extra excitement to any trip to Manly. The best way to visit them is our guided kayak tour, where an experienced tour guide will take you on a gentle paddle with drinks and snacks, and introduce you to the fascinating history of the area as well.

2. Take a taster sailing lesson


Have you ever dreamed of learning to sail? There’s no better place than the most stunning harbour in the world!

Our experienced instructors will teach you the basics of sailing, from terminology and wind awareness to safety. You’ll then head out from Manly for 2 or 3 hours, sailing toward the Harbour Bridge and passing the landmarks of the Harbour.

You’ll have the chance to helm the boat yourself and feel the rush of wind through your hair as you glide across the water. Whether you’re a total beginner or just need a refresher, we cater to all levels of experience. So pack your sunscreen, grab your hat, and get ready to set sail for a day you’ll never forget!

Sessions run every day during our season, at 9am, 12.30pm and 3pm. Click here for more information.

3. Go on a whale watching tour


Whale watching tours operate from Manly during the annual migration of humpback whales. You can experience the thrill of seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal, with one of several tour companies, including Ocean Extreme. Head offshore in a fast speedboat, as the guides communicate with each other to locate pods of migrating whales.

The season runs from May to October, and many operators offer a sighting guarantee. If a speedboat isn’t for you, you can try and spot the migrating whales from the North Head scenic walk, leaving from Manly.

4. Explore the North Head Sanctuary

The North Head Sanctuary is a nature reserve that provides breathtaking views of the harbour and the ocean. You can hike through the bushland and see the diverse wildlife, including wallabies, goannas, and various bird species.

This 80-hectare site overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Sydney Harbour, offering visitors stunning panoramic views. The sanctuary is steeped in history, having served as a military base during World War II. Visitors can explore the underground tunnels and gun emplacements, which have been converted into an interpretive center.
North Head Sanctuary also boasts picnic and barbecue facilities, making it an excellent spot for a day trip or family outing.

5. Wind down in one of Manly’s secret bars

If you’re looking to wind down after an adventurous day around Manly’s beaches, there is more to Manly’s nightlife than meets the eye. Tucked away in the back alleys and side streets of this seaside suburb are several hidden bars waiting to be discovered.

These secret spots offer an intimate atmosphere, creative cocktails and live music. Some of the most popular hidden bars include The Cumberland, a speakeasy-style bar – masquerading as a deli – that serves up fresh cocktails and excellent platters, and Donny’s Bar, a dimly lit, retro-inspired joint that has become a local favourite.