A Family Day Out in Manly

  • Preschoolers
    Mums & Bubs

By Serina Hajje, ellaslist
Nov 10, 2018 

Manly is a perfect destination for a family day-out with the kids. We’ve done the hard work for you and planned the perfect route. Now all you have to do is follow it and have fun!

From penguin spotting to thrilling water rides, peaceful strolls to hidden beaches, Manly has so much to offer. We’ve included kid-friendly restaurants, special deals and a list of the best activities and parks for you and the little ones! Plus a map of all the destinations and travel time, so pick and choose what activity is best for you and the kids!

1) Let's Start With A Ferry Ride 

Your journey starts at Circular Quay! Head over to Wharf 3 where the Manly Ferry comes and goes every 30 minutes. With gorgeous harbour views and the crisp smell of the sea, it’s one of the best ways to travel.

There are also private boat companies that operate directly from other ferry terminals, such as Manly Fast Ferry and Captain Cook Cruises.

If you’re going on a Sunday then you’re in luck: it’s Sunday Family Fun Day. For $2.70 there is unlimited travel all day Sunday in Sydney, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra areas, by train, bus, ferry and light rail. More information about cheap travel on Sunday Family Fun Day.

2) It's Time For Lunch 

The kid-friendly Papi Chulo is gone but inner-west Cantonese fave Queen Chow Manly has taken over on Manly Wharf, so take the kids here for some old-school honey prawns and deep-fried ice-cream! 

Where: Manly Wharf, 22-23 E Esplanade
Reservations: Book Online

The Boathouse Shelly Beach is loved by all. Grab some fish and chips and coffee from the kiosk and then head to the sand! Shelly Beach is also one of the best spots for snorkeling so bring your gear and greet the fish with the kids.

Where: 1 Marine Parade, Manly

Image via: Tom Ferguson

Brand new to Manly (in November 2018) is the legendary Tex-Mex, El Camino Cantina on Manly Wharf. Think huge frozen Margaritas and a sombrero-splashed party vibe, complete with rooftop water views and, wait for it, $2 Taco Tuesday - all day! 

Where: Manly Ferry Wharf
Reservations: Book Online

3) Pick A Beach 

After all that delicious food, how about a chill-out on one of Manly’s stunning beaches is a must! Build a sand sculpture or just let the kids run wild in the sandy sanctuaries.

Manly’s best kept secret: Collins Flat Beach

Located on the harbourside, Collins Beach is one of Sydney’s prettiest and least visited beaches. Although it’s tricky to get there with a pram, if you’re looking for a quiet but spacious place for the kids, then this is your beach. Complete with a waterfall and a colony of Penguins, the only one on the Australian Mainland, it truly is a fantastic afternoon experience. (The Penguins return to Manly each year to breed between May and February.)

4) Your Pick: Active Or Creative Fun 

If the kids need to burn off some energy, we’ve got two great afternoon activities planned for you: Manly Surf'nSlide and hiring a bike with Manly Bike Tours. Or else spend an hour or two creating some arts & crafts at Studio Make.

Manly Surf'n'Slide

Waterworks is a water-park with fully supervised giant slides and a large spectator viewing area. It’s an action packed, fun, safe and easy day out with the kids. And it’s located right next to the (now closed) Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary.

When: Saturday and Sunday: 10 – 5pm
Cost: Ranging From $18 for one hour to $100 for a family day pass
Note: Children must be at least 110cm tall to slide

Bike the Beach with Manly Bike Tours

Did you know that Manly Bike Tours are ranked the no. 1 outdoor activity on TripAdvisor. They provide kids bikes, a baby trailer and baby seat (cute!) and a map with an easy to follow route, taking you to places like Shelly Beach and past the Mediterranean style villas along Cabbage Tree Bay. The shortest bike tour is only an hour and it’s a lovely chance to see all that Manly has to offer.

Where: Shop 6 – 54 West Esplanade, Manly.
Check out the different bikes and rates! The cost covers a helmet, lock, map and bag.

Image via Studio Make Facebook page

Studio Make

Looking for a low-key indoor activity? We’ve got you covered at Studio Make, an art & craft venue for kids aged 2 to teens. Just drop-in, pick a plaster (from $5- $40), and get painting! Once the kids, and you of course, have finished with your masterpiece the staff will gloss your plaster and add the glitter of your choice! We love that on Wednesdays they do Story Time where kids are read a children’s story and then get to paint a plaster that goes along with the book ($9 per child, no bookings necessary).

When:  Tue – Thur: 9:30am to 4:30pm, Sat: 10:00am to 4:00pm Mon, Fri & Sun: Closed

Where: 9/380 Pittwater Road, North Manly

5) Final Stop: Pop Into A Playground 

Manly has some action-packed playgrounds on offer. If you’ve got a bit of time before your ferry departs, have a swing and a slide at one of these playgrounds:

Little Manly Point Park & Playground

With a awesome view of the water, let the kids play in the playground while you grab a coffee in a nearby cafe!

Manly Lagoon Reserve and Playground

A smaller playground but with a skate park across the road and plenty of grass and paths for bikes. If the kids are a little tired, catch the 136 or 139 Bus from Stand A on East Esplanade and then hop off at North Steyne, near Collingwood Rd.

North Steyne, Manly Beach

North Steyne playground is an accessible park for kids of all abilities. It is full of fun equipment like swings, spinwheels and activity centres. You can find it between Steinton St and Denison St.

6) Homeward Bound On The Ferry 

Wow! What a Day! Head down to the wharf and catch the ferry back to Circular Quay, where you’ll enjoy the sun setting over the sparkling harbour and the kids dozing off in your lap.

Want More Northern Beaches Fun? Find It Here: 

Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!