A love letter to Manly

Great news, friends: We found an apartment! We will be moving in this weekend, so there will be plenty of photos and blog posts about that new adventure soon. We are so excited to have found a place that was actually within our budget and met several other important criteria, but all those fun details are coming soon. Because of our impending move, it is now time to say goodbye to our temporary home of Manly.

Manly is one of the loveliest places I’ve ever experienced. It is idyllic here– perfect beaches, delicious restaurants, transport at your doorstep. We have enjoyed our time here more than I even realized until I started thinking about leaving. I also have an interesting connection to Manly now, because it is here that I decided to love Australia.


Let’s get super honest here for a moment: Our first week in Australia was hellacious for me. I glossed over it at the time, because I was too raw and fragile to deal with it in the moment. I was on a new prescription that had me nauseated around the clock. I woke up in the hottest, muggiest, worst smelling accommodations (in a very “first world problem” sense) and spent my days sweating, reading, throwing up, and counting down until Donnie got home from work. I was homesick in a very physical way and I cried. A lot. I remember thinking, “This is the worst mistake I’ve ever made. And it is my fault that we’re here.”

It was a rough start.

Then we moved into Quest Manly, and my love affair with Australia began to slowly develop. We moved into a lovely, clean, air conditioned room on the waterfront of Manly Wharf. I figured out my medication was causing my nausea and quickly stopped taking it, feeling immeasurably better almost immediately. I also started getting out and exploring my new home, spending my days on the beach, walking the Corso, riding the bus to the mall and shops. I was an active participant in life again, and it felt great. I put forth some effort and Australia responded with crystal clear water, silky sand, and delectable pizzas, Thai stirfries, and Swiss ice cream.

Please enjoy this photo walk through my dear and lovely Manly.


There are two main beaches in Manly: the famous Manly Beach and the not-so-famous Manly Cove. Manly Beach is usually teeming with sunbathers and surfers, especially on the weekends. Below is a photo from a random weekday, so the crowds are considerably smaller, though still present. It’s a really great place to sit with an after-dinner ice cream and watch surfers or kite-surfers as the sun sets.


Manly Cove, on the other hand, is usually quiet, private, and my personal favorite. The water is calm and completely clear, and there are usually several large fish just swimming around your feet, which was quite the surprise the first time I ventured into the icy waves.


There is a paved walking path all the way around Manly Beach, that reaches over to the secluded Shelley Beach.



Connecting Manly Beach and Manly Wharf/Cove is the tree-lined Corso. The Corso is home to numerous restaurants, stores, tourist shops, and chemists. There are usually several street performers singing or playing instruments and a bustling, lively, pretty-touristy vibe.



Donnie and I tried many of the restaurants Manly has to offer, because life still feels somewhat like a vacation and why not. Out of all of the culinary delights surrounding us, we developed a couple favorite spots.

For Thai, it’s got to be Mortar and Pestle. We tried three different Thai places, but nothing beats the chicken and cashew nut stirfry or red beef curry at M&P. We always snag an outside table, and sometimes also indulge in a pitcher of red sangria.


For pizza, there is somewhat of a tie. For traditional, wood-fired margherita pizza, we don’t look anywhere except Da Vita.


But when we’re in a more adventurous mood, the Tandoori Chicken Pizza at The Ivanhoe is unbelievable. Interesting fact: a “hotel” here actually means bar, so there are sadly no rooms at the Ivanhoe. Until the late 1980s, pubs or taverns were required to also provide accommodation by Australian law, even though most just focused on the drinks, thus the “hotel” title. Even though the laws have changed, and most pubs or bars do not provide rooms, the naming convention stuck.


And for an apres-dinner treat, the swiss chocolate (Donnie’s fave) or cappuccino (my fave) ice cream at Movenpick cannot be topped.


Manly is bursting with life and light and ocean breezes, and it really helped bring me back to myself. While I’m reluctant to leave this little slice of heaven, I’m really ready to have a “home” and feel fully settled. Luckily, when the craving for Mortar and Pestle hits (as it undoubtedly will) The Corso is only a 20 minute bus ride from our new place, which is somewhat of a relief, because my love affair with this little beach town is far from over.




3 thoughts on “A love letter to Manly

  1. Sorry to hear you were so sick and regretful when you first arrived. You sure hid it well so we wouldn’t worry. …. Glad you’re feeling better and found a place to call home. Manly looks amazing. You need to explore the underwater world too. Any chance you can get a job there?


  2. Pingback: A Year in Review | Conleys Down Under

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