About Manly

The Manly local government area is a unique location, bounded by both an ocean beach and Sydney Harbour.

It is located on Sydney's Northern Beaches - between 8 and 17 kilometres north-east of Sydney. Manly is the administrative centre of the Manly Council local government area which also includes the suburbs of Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Clontarf, Fairlight, and Seaforth. 

Manly is named after Manly Cove, which was named by Captain Arthur Phillip, who was impressed by the confident and manly behaviour of the male Aborigines he saw when he first visited the area in January 1788.

About the Area

The local government area is relatively small at only 15.14km2 or 1514ha. The boundary is 37.68km long, of which 32.94km runs alongside a water boundary such as the lagoon, the harbour or the ocean. No part of Manly is more than 1km from either the harbour or the ocean. 


View maps of Manly Community Atlas here 

Geographical Characteristics

The Manly Council area is bounded by the Warringah Council area, Burnt Bridge Creek and Manly Creek in the north, the Tasman Sea in the east, Sydney Harbour and North Harbour in the south, and Middle Harbour in the west. 


The topography of Manly is characterised by a high ridge running east west along Balgowlah Heights with steep south facing slopes above North Harbour and more moderate slopes to the north. The area plateaux to the west of Balgowlah Heights and Seaforth with a very steep escarpment that drops to the Middle Harbour shoreline.   To the north the area is bounded for the most part by Burnt Bridge Creek, running from the north west end of Seaforth to Manly Lagoon.

Within the boundaries are a diverse range of landforms including bays, beaches, headlands, rugged cliffs, steep slopes and areas of plateaux. The major geological formations in the area are middle triassic Hawkesbury sandstone, overlying the Newport Formation of the Narrabeen group.


Manly has moderate climate with warm summer and mild winter. Temperatures are generally in the mid 20's with clear sunny days common for around a third of the year.The humidity is relatively high due to the proximity of the ocean.  

The warmest months are December to February and the coldest are June to August. Average Temperatures: Summer: 18° - 27° Celsius; Winter: 8° - 17° Celsius; Average Annual Rainfall: 1200mm. 

More information on Sydney’s weather is available at The Bureau of Meteorology Weather Site

Manly’s Natural Environment

Manly has a diversity of special environments and ecosystems, including North Head, Manly Lagoon, Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, escarpments and Manly Ocean Beach to name a few. Within the 47 reserves that are owned and managed by Council, there are 29 hectares of remnant bushland. In addition, within the LGA is 268ha of National Park and 70ha of Crown land. Approximately 90% is degraded to some extent due to human activities (Manly Council 1997). Other areas of remnant bushland occur in roadside reserves and private property.

Flora and Fauna

The fragmentation of natural bushland areas in Manly has reduced the viability of habitat in many bushland reserves to support populations of native fauna. The bushland surrounding Sydney Harbour is known to have once supported a diversity of marsupial fauna including wallabies, bandicoots, possums, quolls and echidnas, as well as a variety of reptiles, amphibians and avifauna.Manly also supports significant biodiversity and endangered populations, including Little Penguins, Long Nosed Bandicoots, Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub Ecological Community, and the Duffy's Forest Ecological Community.

Residential Profile

At the time of the 2006 Census, Manly was the 57th largest local government area in New South Wales, with some 37,112 usual residents or 0.6% of the New South Wales population.The population enumerated (counted) in the Census night of 8 August 2006 was 37,380 persons including overseas visitors representing a decrease of 0.5% or 207 people since 2001. Of this, there were 18,151 males and 19,229 females. 

The Bureau of Statistics estimated resident population (ERP) for Manly as at 30 June 2011 was 40,059 people excluding overseas visitors. 

In 2006, the population density was 26.02 persons per hectare and the median age was 37 years.  There were 103 people that identified themselves as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds or 0.3% of the population.

English is the only language spoken at home for 81.6% of Manly’s residents. This is due to the fact that the majority was being born in Australia (61.6%) or in other English speaking countries (18.3%). The most common languages other than English are Greek, French, Italian, German, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Detailed community profile for Manly LGA is available here