The idea of doing a whole blog post on traveling to Sydney seemed a little difficult to take on since it is such a large city with so many amazing spots to explore. I decided instead to focus on where I currently live: Manly in the northern beaches of Sydney!
When coming to Sydney - it is best to stay in the city near Circular Quay so it is super easy to get around with the train station, buses and ferries being at your fingertips. If you do decide to stay in Manly or the northern beaches, your best bet is an Airbnb. There are so many beautiful rooms, apartments or entire homes to rent and at all different price ranges. There are limited options for hostels or hotels but there are still a few to check out!
If y'all don't know this about me yet... I am a HUGE foodie & absolutely love going out to eat. So here are some of my fave restaurants that are must-tries when you visit Manly (linked their Instagrams).
SunsetSabi - amazing sushi + cocktails
Chica Bonita - best Mexican in Sydney IMO, obsessed with the fish taco & carne fries, eat here at least once a week
Hugo's - much nicer restaurant on the wharf, great for special occasions
Manly Thai Gourmet - hole in the wall, BYOB, amazing Thai for a great price
Pocket Pizza - best pizza since I have moved to Australia, such unique toppings/names, love the Netflix & Chili
The Pantry Manly - nicer restaurant along the beach for breakfast, lunch & dinner
One of my favorite things about Manly is the nightlife. However, It can be pretty strict getting into bars (it is like this in all of Sydney). If you look intoxicated or too drunk they will deny you and even if you look fine, they will ask you questions like "how many drinks have you had?" or "where were you before this." It is pretty standard and I am used to it by now but don't be surprised when this happens and I would try to get to the last bar you want to go to before midnight. With that being said, there is something for every mood you might be in that night! Listed are some of my faves or popular spots + what you can expect!
The Hold - great place to start with espresso martinis + live music
In Situ - basically the same as The Hold but I prefer the drinks/ambiance here more
Manly Wharf Hotel - great for Sunday sessions, beautiful view of sunsets and the wharf but pricier drink prices
The Cumberland - speakeasy with charcuterie boards and amazing cocktails, sit at the bar & chat with the bartenders - they know there stuff
Manly Greenhouse - rooftop with fun drinks and decent view of the ocean, restaurant downstairs is pretty delish as well
El Camino - shitty food but HUGE margaritas that will get you buzzed, views of the wharf & sunsets
Donny's - one of my favorite date night spots, good specials throughout the week, live music, good bites to nibble on
Hotel Steyne - ahhh where to begin... where I always like to end my night, pretty good DJs, huge multi-level space with different bars throughout, shitty bar drinks, great place to meet someone lmao (met my bf here), fun place to dance, etc etc.
4 Pines Brewery - great craft beer on draft and decent views of the wharf
If you love being outdoors, Manly and the northern beaches is the place for you. There are so many waterfront trails on which to hike and walk; beautiful beaches for snorkeling, surfing, and tanning; bike riding; beach volleyball - the list goes on and on.
Shelly Beach - walk south along the Manly boardwalk and you'll reach this cute little beach 10 minutes away, great place to snorkel from or grab a bite at The Boathouse nearby
Picnic at Little Manly Beach - 15 minute walk from the Manly Wharf, bring a cooler with some wine, cheese and crackers, pack your swimmy and watch the sunset
Learn to Surf - take lessons from the Manly Surf School
North Head - easy walk with beautiful views
Manly to Spit Bridge Walk - 10 km one way, beautiful beaches to stop and swim at, amazing views, great workout
Northern Beaches Activities:
Beaches - check out a different beach for the day, you can get there by rental car, bus or walk if you want to go to Freshwater or Curl Curl
Palm Beach - walk up to the lighthouse for some insane views and then hit the beach after for a relaxing sun bathe. For a fancier brunch, check out Jonah's in Whale Beach which is only a few minutes away from Palm Beach.
The Newport - okay so this could be one of the best bars/restaurants/whatever you want to call it in the world. It is a huge outdoor, multi-level, multi-restaurant, multi-bar compound that has everything for everyone. Bring the kids, listen to live music, eat brunch, eat dinner, stay all day and have a freaking blast. You can thank me later for this one - check it out here.
West Head Lookout - situated in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, numerous walking /hiking paths, beautiful views of the Central Coast, Pacific Ocean and the Northern Beaches, the Resolute loop trail was incredible and had stairs down to Resolute Beach where we went for a quick dip.
Manly can be walked in its entirety in under an hour but don't be fooled by how small it is. It is packed with delicious food & drinks, the cutest little boutiques and of course, the beautiful beach. Get up early to catch the sunrise - it is absolutely worth it - and bring your walking shoes because the trails and walks here offer stunning views. Pack your sunblock (the sun here is no joke) and your best swimsuits - there is a photo-op around every corner. Don't be afraid to jump in the water and snorkel - sea turtles, fish and colorful reefs wait for you underneath the turquoise waters. Make reservations for one of the restaurants above, they book out fast as the weekends here are vibrant and full of happy people. Manly truly is like living in a little paradise - and it is absolutely worth a stop in on your trip to Australia! Enjoy X