Both! They’re both gorgeous white-sand beaches in fun environments and relatively easy to get to.
Getting to Bondi or Manly
Catch a ferry to Manly from Circular Quay. Or catch a local, on-time and clean bus to Bondi. Bondi’s only 5mi (8km) outside of the city center and the local buses go there frequently. Depending on which bus you take, plan on 35-45 minutes via bus. How to get to Bondi Village.
The ferry to Manly is half the fun! Undoubtedly Sydney is one of the most stunning cities in the world. The scenery and views on the way to Manly do not disappoint, to say the least! Load up on snacks before you head out or enjoy food and libations at one of the many restaurants or cafes at the beach. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the dock to the beach.
Things to do at Bondi
I love climbing the rocks at Bondi and going for long walks as the surrounding hills are beautiful. If you’re not a sand person, there’s also a grassy hill, perfect for lounging and people watching. On our honeymoon, my husband and I did a lot of picnics throughout Sydney and Bondi was amongst our favorites (and the Rocks area of Sydney!).
If you enjoying walking, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, is a must! You’ll love the views throughout the approximately two hour easy walk. But why not break it up with a relaxed coffee or lemonade? And if you’re visiting in October or November, you’ll catch the Sculpture by the Sea, one of the world’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibits.
Visiting from May to November? You might site a humpback or two as they’re migrating during that time.
Things to do at Manly
In addition to beach activities, Manly Sea Life Sanctuary is informative, fun and family-friendly. There are loads of hidden coves, inlets and historical sites. Walking and cycling tours are available or hire a cycle and jaunt around on your own. Whether you enjoy swimming, surfing, lounging, cycling, walking or just relaxing – in general, you’ll love your visit to one of Australia’s most famous beaches. Find the latest events for families, couples, seniors and children, here.
At both Bondi and Manly, you can hire snorkel, surf, and cycling gear.
There are lockers inside the Bondi Pavilion that you can hire for 4 hours from 6a-8p. They take credit card, coins and notes. Unfortunately there are no lockers at Manly. It should be obvious, but definitely make sure you put on sunscreen and reapply it according to the directions on the package. Usually you have to reapply after swimming in the water. The ozone over Aus is thinner, compared to many other places in the world so even on non-sunny days make sure to slop on the sunscreen.
Staying at the Beach
Both Bondi and Manly have a range accommodations from backpackers to high end hotels, within walking distance. Just search around on your favorite travel accommodations site to find a great place to stay!
Vegetarians and Vegans friends – there are places to eat.
If you try Mexican food in Aus, PLEASE share your experience in the comments. I tried Mexican food there in the early 2000s and it was not good. I tried it again 12 years later and didn’t see improvements. I’m a native Southern Californian so grew up around authentic and Californian Mexican and Aus hasn’t landed on the pulse yet, IMO.
Taking a Break from Swimming
While we were there, we were just looking for a quick place to eat after playing in the water for a few hours. These days practically every restaurant and cafe has at least one vegetarian or vegan dish. For what we were looking for that was good enough.
If you’re looking for a nicer dining experience, some of the restaurants above fit the bill. I’d also recommend hotel restaurants. They have stunning views and they’re usually willing to work with consumers to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Hope you have a brilliant time on your visits to Bondi and Manly!