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Golden-Hour Sips and Morning-After Smoothie Bowls

How to Play in Manly from Sunset to Sunrise

By Kosa Monteith
August 31, 2022
By Kosa Monteith
August 31, 2022

Just a hop away from the CBD — via a very enjoyable ferry ride — Manly has all the makings of a fantastic Sydney staycay.

Dreaming of a summery getaway? Longing for the sound of the sea, sun on your skin, sand in your toes, cocktails close by and long, slow afternoons? It’s time to start planning your Manly escape.

Here to help, we’ve got your itinerary sorted — with a little help from the iconic Hotel Steyne, a legendary local landmark and hub of easy-breezy good time vibes in Manly for over 150 years. Hotel Steyne is a spot for rest, rejuvenation, play and late-night partying, and a jump-off point for the oceanside mini-break you deserve.

If you’re making your journey to the starting point of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, you’re best to make a night of it — at least. Here’s how to do it in style.

Lunch, dinner and beyond

Whether you want to laze away the afternoon with a long lunch or watch the sunset — cocktail in hand — to kick the night off, The Steyne’s rooftop bar is for you. Expect a space channelling big Miami vibes, with summer pastels and light airy spaces overlooking the sea. Cool off with a mojito as you tuck into the freshest seafood of the day or selections from the brand-spanking-new Asian-influenced sharing menu — an ideal way for chilling out on a bright day.

Stick around for partying aplenty once the sun goes down. There’s live music and DJs, plus a bursting-at-the-seams events calendar. Burlesque by the beach? Ping pong? Trivia? It’s all on offer, as is Shop & Sip, a monthly night market.

For a late Saturday lunch, Busta offers casual-yet-refined Italian, dishing up seasonal, freshly made pasta and aperitivo snacks. Graze on antipasti like kingfish crudo, San Daniele prosciutto and fresh burrata, or stick to the carbs and stand-out wine list.

Dinner time? Smack-bang in the middle of The Corso is the beloved Ivanhoe Hotel, serving up classic pub hits in a buzzy bistro and greenery-filled courtyard. Order fish and chips, wagyu rump, schnitty or parmis to accompany an ice-cold schooey — just what you’re craving after any post-surf exhaustion (whether you just watched or paddled out, too).

If you’re after something fun and funky, head to the Japanese-meets-Mexican diner Sunset Sabi. Share sushi, sashimi, sake and snacks on sticks fresh off the robata, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. Think wagyu cheeseburger gyoza, tempura corn and charcoal king prawn with bisque butter. If you fancy a nightcap, check the whisky menu. (Psst! The Steyne also has a hidden whisky bar.)

Stay at the Steyne

Wake up beside the sea in a recently renovated — and style-heavy — room at Hotel Steyne. Since 1859, this haunt has been a place for sun-drenched heads to rest. The property seamlessly balances striking retro features with a relaxed feel, making it a beach home away from home. Whether you want a comfortable Queen Room as your base or a full Ocean View Suite with lounge space to linger, you’ll find your perfect holiday sanctum here. Plus it’s an easy wander to the ferry wharf and all Manly has to offer.

Wake up by the ocean

You can choose the quick continental brekkie that’s included with your room, but why not splurge and head down to Tropikana. Pick from smoothie bowls, freshly baked treats and hearty classics — think pancake stacks or eggs how you like them.

Need something on the go? Tucked away in a back alley is local fave Rollers Bakehouse. Open seven days a week, the friendly team pours coffee and moves mountains of its luxe pastries. Opt for the signature charcoal chocolate croissant, or lean into the experience with one of their stand-out specials like a maple bacon snail.

For something different, try Fika Swedish Kitchen. Fika — named for the Swedish coffee break — dishes out Swedish cinnamon buns and princess cakes, as well as heartier dishes with a Scandi twist. Maybe Swedish meatballs, toast skagen or house-cured salmon on savoury waffles?

Daytime Playtime

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or keen newbie, there’s perhaps no better spot in Manly than its glorious blue water. No board? No problem. You can rent everything, including a wetsuit. There are also numerous spots to get your snorkel on — most popular is Shelly Beach. It’s part of the protected Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve and teeming with marine life. Snap on your snorkel and take a closer look.

Take in the fresh ocean air with a leisurely stroll to Shelly Headland Lookout. For a longer adventure, set off on the coastal North Head Walk through bushland to the old Q Station and North Head Sanctuary, then circle back around to Manly.

Need to get your sweat on in a more stationary way? Hop in the sauna at Rimba Sweat. There’s a clutch of infrared saunas ready and waiting to deliver a burst of tingly warmth right into your muscles. Book a private suite for a 50-minute session and leave feeling refreshed.

When it’s time for the getaway to end, there’s only one way to leave: a scenic ferry journey past the sweeping rocky coastline back to Circular Quay. Beachgoers have been taking this trip for over 150 years, but it’s a view that never gets old. Wave goodbye to Manly — but know you’ll be back soon.

Ready to plan a Manly weekender? The Steyne is the ideal place to set up base and enjoy the ‘hood. Head to the website for more details.

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