Regional Significance

Manly is one of Sydney’s most popular seaside destinations, as described in the popular 1930’s slogan ‘Seven miles from Sydney, a thousand miles from care’ 

The Manly area is well known for its rich natural environment, spectacular ocean beach as well as access to the harbour foreshore and bushland areas. 

In addition, “Manly offers a unique urban environment with lively streetscapes, charming residential precincts and heritage buildings, all contained within an incomparable natural setting between Sydney’s harbour and ocean foreshores” (Surfing the Future, 2006). 

Well known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle featuring open air dining and coffee shops, with a vibrant nightlife, Manly is visited by over six million visitors each year.

Significant features

Manly encompasses landmarks such as North Head and the iconic Manly Beach.

Major features of the Council area include:-

  • Manly Town Centre
  • Sydney Harbour National Park, part of Garigal National Park
  • Royal Australian Artillery National Museum
  • Quarantine Station
  • St Patrick's Estate, listed item of National Heritage significance
  • Manly District Hospital
  • Manly Wharf
  • Manly Art Gallery & Museum
  • Oceanworld
  • Manly Scenic Walk
  • Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, and various beaches. 

Urban structure

Manly Council is predominantly a residential area, with some commercial and industrial land use. Significant development occurred from the post-war years, with many apartments and units built in the 1960s and 1970s. Much of Balgowlah Heights, Clontarf and Seaforth were developed in the 1960s. Since 1991 there has been a steady increase in the number of flats, units or apartments and semi-detached, row or terrace houses and townhouses.

In the 2006 ABS Census, the majority of occupied dwellings in Manly were flats, units or apartments (48.3%), followed by separate houses (40.7%) and semi-detached houses (10.3%).

Commercial centres

The commercial Manly is centred around the Corso, which runs from the harbour side at Manly Wharf to the ocean side at Manly Beach. Part of The Corso is a pedestrian mall which allows outdoor dining for cafes and restaurants. The commercial area extends to surrounding streets with more cafes and restaurants concentrated along the ocean and harbour shores.
The Corso major upgrade was completed in 2008. Other local commercial centres are being redeveloped or partially completed, including:-

  • Balgowlah Village, featuring combined business, retail and residential development which opened in 2009
  • Seaforth Village, including retail shops, cafés, restaurants, Seaforth library, TAFE site and Balgowlah RSL
  • Fairlight centre, a shopping strip with commercial and retail shops.

Transport infrastructure

The Council area is served by Pittwater Road, Sydney Road and ferries from Circular Quay.

Manly is a transport hub for Northern Beaches peninsula accessed by public bus and ferry. The trip from Sydney CBD takes 30 minutes on Sydney Ferries, or around 20 minutes by privately operated fast ferry services. 

There are 1100 undercover car parking spaces in Manly CBD. More information about parking is available here

Open space

Open space areas are important for leisure and recreation. The local government area has 520ha of parks, reserves and open space, including: over 20 beaches (includes ocean and harbour beaches); Manly Lagoon; 47 bushland reserves; National Parks at North Head, Dobroyd and Bantry Bay; many parks and ovals; olympic size outdoor swimming pool; Manly Scenic Walkway; Volunteer Bush Regeneration in Council bushland reserves and in Sydney Harbour National Park; cycleway network; skateboarding facilities; tennis courts and many privately owned facilities for public use.

Tourism and entertainment

Manly has a reputation as a visitor destination offering more than 200 retail stores, weekend outdoor markets, over 100 cafes, restaurants, bars and eateries, a cinema, supermarkets, dozens of activities and attractions and some 400 professional services. 

Manly offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle featuring open air dining and coffee shops, with a vibrant nightlife. It is an attractive destination for exciting activities, such as surfing, kayaking, swimming, tennis, golf, beach volleyball, roller-blading, scenic and historical walks, art, parasailing, scuba diving, fishing, dining and much more. 

Manly hosts major national and international sporting events and beach festivals, including:-

Throughout the year, many community and cultural events attract large number of visitors to the Manly CBD, the most famous being the Manly Food and Wine festival in May, and Manly Jazz festival in October.


Regionally, Manly Council is joined with Mosman, Warringah and Pittwater councils to form SHOROC - a partnership of Shore Regional Organisation of Councils that make up the region of the Northern Beaches from Bradleys Head to Barrenjoey. 
Read more about SHOROC here.