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Manly Beach is known as one of the best beach to be seen in aside from Bondi Beach. The name "manly" was given by a member of the First Fleet crew in 1788 who saw a group of Aborigines men and perceived their appearance as "manly". With long stretches of white sandy beach and blue water, it is a great spot if you want to do a little sun bathing or just explore the many rock pools surrounding the area.
Before 1903, public bathing was restricted before 6am and after 8pm. Men and women were kept separated at the extreme opposite end of the beach. It took a bold journalist who decided to make a stand and waddle out into the surf during daylight. To his surprise, he was not arrested and many soon joined him making the public bathing restriction seem ridiculous. In the end, the restriction was cast off and the surf culture has been a dominant force at the beach since then.
Much of the suburb is influenced by the beach which attracts hundreds of visitors daily so you can expect tall apartment buildings and a myriad of restaurants and shop fronts. The Corso zone is a must for those who enjoy seafood as bargains can be found for a platter of delicious battered fish and large prawns. Pizzas are also a steal here at around $1 a slice. It is not a surprise to find many people digging into a greasy bag of fries while enjoying the sights of the beach.
If you walk towards the East Esplanade located to the left of the Manly Ferry Wharf, you will find the Ocean World which is second only to the Sydney Aquarium. Close to the aquarium centre is the Manly Art Gallery and Museum which is open everyday except for Mondays. The large stone buildings visible up on the hill towards the right are two famous stone buildings built during the 1880s. One of the building is St Patrick's Seminary built in 1885 and can be access via Darley Street. Next to it is the Archbishop's House which is influenced by Gothic style architecture and is also accessible via Darley Street.
One of the most spectacular view can be found up North Head which is part of Sydney Harbour National Park. (See also Greater Metropolitan Parks: Sydney Harbour) The view of the cliffs and the raging sea is breath-taking. A short bushwalk via the Fairfax Walking Track will take you to North Head. Another highlight of Manly is the Old Quarantine Station which opened between 1828 to 1984 in order to isolate immigrants with diseases and illness.
North Head is a must for all visitors to Manly. To get to the top, you'll need good comfortable shoes and a light jacket as it may get breezy. There are parking spaces close by but parking fees are apply.
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