Surfing, snorkelling, shell seeking and picnicking on the beach are just a few of the leisure activities available to ICMS students thanks to the nine beaches right on their doorstep. Manly Beach itself was rated fourth best beach in Australia in the 2017 TripAdvisors Traveller’s Choice Awards, with Shelly Beach coming in at #20.
So pack your sunscreen, swimming costumes, snorkel and surfboards and get exploring!
Shelly beach: This is the closest beach to the ICMS campus and is located in Manly, forming part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a protected marine reserve which lies adjacent to North Head and Fairy Bower. Scuba divers and snorkelers in particular love this beach thanks to the large variety of marine life which can seen in relatively shallow water.
Laze on the beach or take a hike around the track that hugs the headland, offering spectacular views of North Head and the Northern Beaches. Pack a picnic and enjoy the facilities available, or enjoy a meal at the beachside restaurant.
Manly Beach: Trip Advisor claims Manly Beach to be the best in New South Wales (NSW), and fourth on the list of Australia’s top 10 beaches (2017). With easy access from Sydney, some of the best surfing waves in the world and lifeguards on duty for bathers, Manly Beach is a popular spot among ICMS students.
Quarantine Beach: Named after the old Quarantine Station, which operated from 1828-1984, Quarantine Beach was the first port of call for all quarantined ships and their passengers. Today it is part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. Its buildings are used for conferences and guided tours are conducted of the Station.
The beach is 200m long, faces northwest into North Harbour, and is hemmed in by rocks at each end, together with a seawall and wharf at the southern end. Quarantine Beach is located on the harbour side of Manly, and is nestled within the boundaries of Q Station. It is just a short drive from Manly Wharf or also reachable via a pleasant and scenic walk. Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of Manly’s local fairy penguins.
Manly Cove Beach: Located on the “ferry side” of Manly, this awesome beach is perfect for a chilled day out with friends. There are no waves, plenty of grassy areas and a shark net pool. Penguins often arrive in the evenings, a truly unique and magical sight to behold.
Tall trees provide shade on hot summer days and there is a promenade for strolling. Picnic and ablution facilities are also available.
Little Manly Beach: Little Manly Beach is one of Sydney’s best kept secrets. Just a short walk from Manly Cove, the calm waters and quieter vibe offers an alternative to the busy Manly beach.
There is a beach kiosk nearby, and the beach offers stunning harbour views and picnic spots. The beach is also a popular diving spot, with a boat ramp and easy access to the clear waters.
Collins Flat Beach: With its scenic harbour views, Collins Flat Beach, just north of Sydney city and nestled between North Head and Little Manly Cove, is an idyllic spot for a romantic picnic.
Whether you’re swimming in the calm waters or nibbling on gourmet snacks from a hamper for two, this hidden beach, with a breathtaking view across The Heads, feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
With Q Station just a short drive away, you could even end off your romantic day out with an overnight stay at this beautifully restored heritage accommodation.
Store Beach: Located just inland from the old Quarantine Station, which is now part of Sydney Harbour National Park, this sheltered beach is only accessible by water. This wonderfully secluded beach will make you feel like you’re on a remote island in North Queensland.
Fairlight Beach: This is another one of those quiet little tucked-away beaches on Sydney harbour where you can usually get away from the crowds on a hot summer’s day.
The beach has amazing views right out to Sydney Heads, some good snorkelling, a sheltered swimming pool, and grass to lounge about on and munch your picnic goodies. There is some shade provided by a few trees, especially later on in the day when the sun is in the west.
Once you’ve had your snorkel, swim, and picnic you could also check out the Manly Markets. Or if you did not pack a picnic, head back into Manly for your lunch or dinner before hopping on the ferry to make your way back home.
Freshwater Beach: A stunning beach wedged between two headlands, Freshwater is a short walk north from Manly and is famous as the spot where surfing was first introduced to Australia.
The north headland provides excellent protection from the summer northeaster, and waves are fairly consistent right along the beach thanks to reliable sandbanks. An eight lane, 50 metre saltwater pool at the north end is a favourite with lap swimmers.
Freshwater’s unique claim to fame is that this is where surfboard riding was popularised in Australia by Hawaiian ‘Duke’ Kahanamoku. Duke famously carved a board from a piece of local timber and demonstrated surfing for an enthralled crowd on 15 January 1915. A life-size statue of Duke Kahanamoku on the northern headland commemorates the historic day, and the board has been kept on display in the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club since 1952.
Freshwater is part of the Manly-Freshwater National and World Surfing Reserve that recognises the historical, cultural, and environmental values of famous surfing beaches.