Where should your mum stay?

Manly is full of expats and it’s easy to see why with it’s beautiful long sandy beach, clear water and close proximity to Sydney CBD. As one myself, I know too well the highs and lows of living the other side of the world to your family and friends. There is nothing better than hearing the news that a loved one has booked their flights and is coming to visit you. Showing Manly off is easy and the wonderful lifestyle we have here makes hosting a very easy job. But, if like me you live in a one bed apartment there is only one problem to having guests – where to put them.

When it comes to accommodation your guests, what really are your options. If they’re anything like mine, paying top dollar for the nicest place in town just feels like a waste, when they’re here to see you. But can you really put your mum in budget accommodation?

When you think about what’s important, the choice gets easier.

  1. Location – they need to be able to walk to everything, shops, ferry, beach and restaurants. The last thing my family want to do is navigate their way driving and finding parking, when they are on holidays. Location is so important because let’s be honest, you’re not going to spend every single minute with them, especially when they’re visiting for 3 weeks. Staying close to town means you’re guests will have their own independence as well as be able to easily meet up with you – making for the best sort of visit.
  2. Price – Getting to Australia is not a cheep activity, wherever your coming from, even if you get a good deal on flights. Once your guests have shelled out for the flights the last thing they want to do is pay out even more for accommodation. Getting a good price for somewhere to stay is vital. Keep an eye on hotel rates as they often can change during quieter times.
  3. Value – What do you actually get for your money? Clean and comfortable has got to be the base the line when it comes to budget accommodation, but feeling safe and at home is just as important. I always call ahead of anywhere i’m putting my folks up in, just to make sure the booking is confirmed and to see if they are friendly. There are a lot of options in Manly so if a place doesn’t have good customer service it’s not too hard to find somewhere that does. It’s even ok to pop in and ask to see the room prior to the booking, just to make sure there aren’t any surprises.

Free Things to do in Manly

Whatever your budget going on holiday can get expensive. Especially when there’s as many great things to do as there are in Sydney. From the Zoo to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to splashing out.

But, if you’re trying to stick to your holiday budget or you just want to get to know Manly a little bit better there are plenty of Free things to be keep you busy and out of trouble.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach is probably one of the top attraction for visitors to Manly. And it’s easy to see why. It’s beautiful, it’s big and it’s totally free. There are so many wonderful activities you can do on Manly Beach all year round, from walking to volleyball. You’ll even see keen swimmers doing the Manly to Shelly swim all year round.


There are some great walks in and around Manly. The whole of Manly Beach is edged with a walking/cycle path that runs all the way from Queenscliff to Shelly Beach and it’s pretty much flat the whole way. Or if you’re keen for something a little more challenging there’s the Manly to Spit Bridge walk, it’s 10k of beautiful bush-land and stunning views. For more information on walking check out this really helpful site.

Manly Markets

Take a gentile stroll around Manly Markets, O.K. you’ll probably end up spending some money here, but you don’t have too. Every Saturday and Sunday the markets offer a beautiful selection of unique gifts, from jewelry to food and it’s easy to loose track of time.

Manly Art Gallery

In need of a little culture or just want to find out more about the history of Manly, check out the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. It’s totally free and a wonderful treat. Find out more in our recent Blog article here.

What to do when it rains in Manly

I’d love to tell you that it never rains in Manly, but the truth is, it does.

Not tropical rain forest kind of rain, but in Manly (like most places) from time to time the heavens do open and we all get a little bit wet.

The good news is, all is not lost. Manly life isn’t simply about Manly Beach, you’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of great things to do, even when it’s raining. So grab yourself an umbrella and chuck your gum boots on, it’s time to start jumping in some puddles.

Below are some great options for a rainy day.

The Corso

Everything in Manly is close enough together to make it every easy to get around. The Corso is the main pedestrianised street running between Manly Beach and Manly Wharf. Here you’ll find cafes, shops and even a covered play area for the kids. It’s very easy to make the quick dash between shops even when it’s chucking it down.

The Pubs

Manly has some really great bars and there’s nothing better than getting cosy with a few drinks on a rainy day. Check out our blog on Where To Go For a Drink in Manly for more info. If you’re traveling with kids check out the larger pubs, such as The Steyene and Ivan Hoe as there’s a bit more space to run around and let off some steam.

Warringah Mall

A massive American style mall, Warringah Mall has so much to offer, from children’s play areas to high street shops and it’s all under cover. There’s even some great restaurants for when you need a rest. Take the 135 bus from the bus stop on the corner of Pittwater Road and Ragland Street, just a 2 minute walk from Manly Beachside Apartments. For cinema times and more info on everything Warringah Mall has to offer check out the website here.

Eating Out in Manly – Cheap Deals

When you’re on holiday eating out can get expensive, and with so many options available in Manly it can be hard to make the right choice. The good news is, most of the restaurants and bars in town have regular deals depending on the day of the week, making it super easy to keep the costs down and stick to your budget.

Find out who’s got the best deals in Manly and if you’re traveling with kids check out the list below of where kids eat free.

Monday – The best deal on eating out  in Manly has got to be, 2 for 1 at The Steyen. The Steyen is one of the largest pubs in Manly and it’s family friendly with a great restaurant area. If you’re looking for a lively Saturday night it’s always worth dropping into their court yard for a few cold ones. You’ll find the Steyen right in front of Manly Beach at the start of the Corso.

Tuesday$5 Steak at Donny’s Bar. This is a seriously popular deal so head over early and make sure you don’t miss out. Donny’s Bar is a great little hidden bar, nestled in behind Manly library. They also do amazing cocktails if you’re looking to make a night of it.

Wednesday – It’s a great deal whatever way you look at it, 50c wings at The New Brighton Hotel. Another big pub in Manly with 3 levels and a family seating area. It’s a great venue for the family.

Thursday –  $10 Streak at The Wharf Bar. Fondly known by the locals as the Wharfy, The Wharf Bar is one of Manly’s most icon bars. Situated right on the front of Manly Wharf this is one of the best locations to watch the sun set over dinner as the ferry’s come and go.

FridayPizza and a free drink at The Ivan Hoe. Another one of Manly’s big pubs sitting on the Corso. Like The New Brighton Hotel this family friendly pub is set over 3 floors.

Kids Eat Free – Monday – Friday

Daniel San
Manly Wharf Bar
Ian Bark Pizza
Thup Tim Siam (Thai)

Manly Ferry – the best way to see Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour has to be one of the most famous harbours in the world. It’s totally understandable that when you come to Sydney exploring the harbour is a must.

Jumping on a ferry is by far the easiest and cheapest option when it comes to seeing everything Sydney Harbour has to offer, especially if you’re making Manly your base. The public ferry’s run every 30 minutes and go directly to the main ferry hub in Circular Que, which is the perfect place to jump off and explore the Opera House, Botanical Gardens and Harbour Bridge.  This journey gives you a chance to really appreciate the harbour as you cross the heads from north to south. Take the opportunity to  watch the beautiful waterside suburbs gently slide by from the comfort of the ferry.

The Manly ferry might be the most famous ferry, but it’s only the beginning when it comes to exploring Sydney Harbour. Change at the Circular Que to take any of the smaller ferry’s for a ride. See the Harbour Bridge from a totally different perspective as you cruse underneath it on your way round to Darling Harbour or pay Taronga Zoo a visit and arrive via ferry.

Wherever you’re heading, taking the ferry is a treat and even in rush hour you’ll always get a seat. There’s a reason why they say the Manly to the City commuters are the happiest in the wold!


Manly Art Gallery and Museum

When you’re holiday and visiting a new place, it can some times hard to know exactly where to start exploring. Manly has it’s obvious starting points, Manly Beach being number one. But what’s after that? The great cafes and bars will not disappoint but what about something cultural?

Sydney has an incredible selection of art galleries and museums, but did you know that Manly has it’s own hidden treasure? A place you can explore without having to leave Manly.

Just a few minuets walk from Manly Wharf you’ll find Manly Art Gallery and Museum, it’s open Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 5pm. Entry to the gallery is free, which is perfect if you’re on a budget, and with a selection of regularly changing displays on offer, you’re bound to find something that sparks your interest and if the art isn’t to your taste the Museum offers great education on the Manly area and it’s surrounding suburbs.

Manly Art Gallery and Museum, also offers workshops and talks for both kids and adults as well as performances and special events.

Whether you’re looking for a rainy day activity or you’re a keen artist yourself, it’s definitely worth making your way there. There’s even a small gift shop supporting local artists, which is great for Manly related gifts including Manly Ferry decorations, gift cards and children’s art supplies.

The Gallery is only small, so don’t expect it to fill your whole day, but it really is worth a visit. We recommend checking out their calendar of events and making the most of this great resource, especially if you are visiting Manly with children. You can view all their events, exhibitions and other activities on the Manly Art Gallery and Museum website here.


The best breakfast in Manly

Whoever said breakfast was the most important meal of the day, was most definitely on to something. Breakfast in Manly isn’t just a meal, it’s a movement. Manly Beach comes to life early in the mornings regardless of the day and whatever tickles your fancy as your morning meal, you’ll find it her in Manly.

Manly boasts some of the best breakfast joints in the world, well that’s what we think and judging by how busy things get, we’re not the only ones. All budgets are covered, from eggs benedicta overlooking the ocean to oatmeal in a trendy lane-way cafe, you will not be disappointing.

Being on holiday gives you the perfect reason to indulge in this awesome Australian tradition – breakfast out. So leave the boring old cereal behind and check out some of these fab Manly breakfast options.


If you care about sustainability, ethically grown, organic products this is the place for you. They don’t sell anything processed, that includes soy and skimmed milk. This cafe is a hot spot for locals, offering healthy yummy food and it wont cost you or the earth too much. Pop in and check out their menu, you’ll find them at 17B Whistler Street [Map].

Sketch Bar

Just down the road from Manly Beachside Apartments, Sketch Bar is an awesome addition to Pittwater Road. Their coffee is great, the staff are super friendly and the breakfast menu is yummy and budget friendly, with most options under $20. Check out their website here.

The Pantry

This is at the higher end of the budget when it comes to eating out for breakfast. Smashed Avo on toast will set you back nearly $18. But, if you want the best view of Manly Beach while you sip on your coffee, this is the place for you. It’s the closes restaurant to the beach and the views will not disappoint. We recommend calling to make a reservation and requesting a window table. Check out their menu here.

3 Top ways to relax in Manly

Manly is such a great town to explore and once you’re here you really don’t need a car as everything is within easy walking distance. There’s so much to see and do from Manly Beach to the Corso, but when you’re on holiday it’s important to make time for you, after all a little bit of relaxation goes a long way.

When it comes to treating yourself in Manly there a loads of options, all you have to do is stroll around and you’ll see all the options.

Yoga & Meditation

There’s a super strong focus in Manly around yoga and meditation, with multiple studios all offering an amazing range of classes for all abilities. With so much to choose from you’ll wish you had more time to indulge yourself. A lot of the studios offer a great introduction package, which can work out very nicely even if you’re only staying a few days.

My favorite Yoga studio in Manly is QI Yoga, it’s right in the heart of Manly, just off the Corso and close to the Manly Ferry. They offer a massive range of classes from Yoga to mediation, as well as some Pilates. Their introduction offer of $25 for 5 classes, works out awesome, especially if you’re on holiday or staying in budget accommodation that don’t have a gym. Check out their website to see their full timetable here.


Who doesn’t love a massage when they’re on holiday and with most Hotels in Manly not offering in house spa’s and when they do you’ll often find a better deal looking outside the hotel. In Manly you’ll find there are options to suite all budgets. If you’re looking for budget, take a wonder down to the Manly Ferry Wharf, inside you’ll find a Chinese massage tent, it’s pretty basic but their fast and there’s no need for an appointment. It’s perfect for getting rid of any knots or built up tension and it will most definitely not break the bank.

If you’re looking for a little more luxury the Garden Spa is perfect, directly opposite Manly Beachside Apartments they offer a large range of treatments. A 90 minute massage will set you back around $100, but the whole experience is worth it, from being greeted with green tea, to sitting in their relaxation garden listening to the gentile chimes of bells you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed – just how a holiday should feel. Find out more and check out all they have to offer here.


When you’re on holiday getting your nails done is a must, you’re away from the daily chores of home life and hopefully your hands  and you, get a rest. It seems like every week a new nail bar pops up in Manly, so when it comes to treating yourself you’ll be spoil for choice.  I recommend taking a walk around Manly and checking out your options, even on the weekend most nail bars will be able to fit you in, if not there and then with a short wait.

Sydney What’s on – June

Photo thanks to Vivid Festival Website.

It’s the 1st June and Winter is here, but that’s no reason to stay inside. With so many great events going on in and around Sydney and less tourists this time of year, June really is one of the best months to be exploring our wonderful city. This months activates all take you out of Manly Beach, across Sydney Harbour in to the city. But don’t worry, the best part about leaving Manly is often coming home.

Check out below what’s going on in Sydney this June.

Vivid: 1st June – 16th June
Vivid is the worlds largest festival of lights, music and ideas spread out around Sydney, there is so much to do and most of it is FREE. Whether  you wonder around the instillation at Circular Quay or admire the iconic Sydney Opera House, but as you’ve never seen it before. You can even enjoy this fabulous festival by boat and check out all the lights on Sydney Harbour. For more information go to the events website here.

Blak Box: 2nd June – 24th June
A large white box has appeared at Barangaroo Reserve this June. It is there to share the stories of the Indigenous people who’ve lived in the area for tens of thousands of years. if you want to know more about Australia’s past then you are in luck, and it’s totally Free. Find out more here.

Sydney Film Festival: 6th June – 17th June
The Sydney Film Festival is back for it’s 65th year and with over 250 films that you wont find at any old cinema. Spread out across the Sydney and showing movies of all kinds you will not just be entertained but you might just learn something too. For more information and the schedule click here.

With Manly Beachside Apartments as your base you’re in the perfect position to explore Sydney, just a short 18 minute ferry ride across a pictures Sydney Harbour, takes you to the hear of the city – what more could you wish for when your thinking about accommodation?

Sydney What’s on – April

Manly is the perfect location for exploring Sydney, just a short ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Both Manly and Sydney have so much to offer when it comes to live events, activities and entertainment, you’ll be spoilt for choice this April. Whether you’re a local or just visiting on holiday, it’s great to know what’s going on in the area.

Check out what’s on this month below:

The Sydney Royal Easter Show: Thursday 6 – Wednesday 19 
Every year The Sydney Royal Easter Show comes to town, and this year is guaranteed not to disappoint. If you’ve never been before, imagine a local country fair, but on steroids. From rides to farm animals, there’s something for everyone.

Luna Park Rooftop Cinema: Friday 7 – Thursday 27
An outdoor cinema experience, is one of the finest things Australia has to offer and you can’t beat doing it at one of Sydneys most iconic sights – Luna Park. Look out over Sydney Harbour while you snuggle up and watch a movie.
Find out more here.

The Lumineers @ Sydney Opera House: Monday 17 – Tuesday 18
The world famous Sydney Opera House doesn’t just offer opera. Enjoy the foaky tones of the Lumineers while you soak up the incredible Opera House. But get your tickets quickly as they are selling fast!

Sydney Comedy Festival: Sunday 23 April – Wednesday 31 May
The Sydney Comedy Festival is getting bigger every year, with some of the worlds best talent coming to Sydney and showing you what they can do.
Check out the website here, to plan your itinerary and get ready to giggle!

Uncorked Avalon: Sunday 23 April 
Taking the bus up the Northern Beaches, from Manly to Avalon, is a treat in its self, but what waits for you in Avalon on Sunday 23, is even better. Enjoy wines from the Hunter Valley without leaving the beaches.

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