Let’s be honest – one of the main reasons to visit Australia is to kick back and take in the sun, sand and surf. Our spontaneous trip, unfortunately lead us to Sydney at the cusp of winter. While we did soak up a little sun, the surf was much too cold to make the most of Australia’s breath-taking beaches. Nevertheless, the trip would have been incomplete if we didn’t at least catch a glimpse of Sydney’s iconic coastline.
Manly Beach and Sea Life Sanctuary
The last attraction to tick off on our 5 Sydney attractions pass (see article Sydney Darling Harbour by Day) was Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. Up bright and early, we made our way to Circular Quay, purchased two express ferry tickets to Manly Beach and by mid-morning we were on our way. Wind blowing through our hair as we sped away from the dock; the ferry provided fantastic views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Sydney’s skyline.
As we approached Manly, the waters were littered with private yachts and the sandy shores invited us for a stroll. Manly beach screamed summer holiday, which made us curse the icy May winds even more.
About a five minute walk along the shore from Manly Wharf, and we were at the entrance to Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.
Manly Sea Life Sanctuary
The sanctuary is home to many animals who were either rescued, nursed or bred at the facility. We attended the talks held at Shark Harbour and Penguin Cove, and were highly impressed with how passionate and knowledgeable the staff were. The talks were eye-opening, informative, and focused on the protection of the local sea life. The aquarium itself is smaller than Sydney Sea Life Aquarium in Darling Harbour, but delivers a much greater message.
Tummies growling, we made our way to the main beach for lunch and settled on a quaint pizzeria. Lining the beachfront are an assortment of restaurants, cafés and ice-cream parlours to satisfy all your beach day cravings. One can also wander along the streets linking to the beach and browse for curios, boutiques and snacks.
After lunch we took a short stroll along the promenade, before making our way to the wharf to catch the ferry back to Circular Quay. We wish we had a little more time at Manly (as well as warmer weather) because we certainly could have spent a day wriggling our toes in the sand, bouncing amongst the waves, and cooling off with an ice-cream whilst taking in the views.
Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach is a popular destination for tourists and avid surfers. Much like Manly, the beachfront offers an array of eating houses and facilities to ensure a comfortable day at the beach.
Our time at Bondi Beach was limited, but it would have been unconscionable to holiday in Sydney and not witness the gargantuan waves for ourselves. The sheer height of the waves was incredible, followed by a mammoth crash of water against the shore – undoubtedly a surfer’s paradise.