Length 6.1 km (3.8 miles), terrain: flat until small hills at Cabbage Tree Bay (200 meters gain)
In addition to my own pictures, I added a few better ones from the creative folks at Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks!
Sydney Running Routes:
Best Sydney Running Routes: Overview
Central Businesss District (CBD)
Harbour north shore
South Head and Watsons Bay
Bondi to Coogee Coastal Run
Manly Beach Run
Centennial Park Run
Check the Routes by Country/City page for more routes.
If you have a few days or more to spend in Sydney, then you should definitely take time for a trip to Manly Beach, at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Just the trip there, by itself, is worth it, riding the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay all the way through this scenic bay, surrounded by sailboat regattas, lighthouses, islands, and beautiful waterside neighborhoods.
|Manly Ferry, photo by Philip Morton|
|Manly Beach, looking north, photo by Frants|
|Surfers in giant breakers at Manly Beach, photo by K. Hauser|
This route is fairly simple, needing little explanation: it just heads from the ferry docks to the beach, traversing up and down the beach, and then continuing on along more secluded Cabbage Tree Bay, with its rocks, ocean pool, Shelly Beach and a hilly overlook.
So, standing there in front of the Manly ferry station, let's go!
Cross the Esplanade and then then follow the wavy stripes straight up the main little shopping street, the Corso. This street has a park-like pedestrian area for most of its length. The Corso is often the site of various festivals held in Manly each year: the Jazz Festival in October, the Food and Wine Festival in June, and the Arts Festival in September, among others. I was there once for the Jazz Festival, with live music stages on the Corso, and it was a lot of fun.
|Along the Manly Corso, photo by J. Degenhardt|
Now turn left and run north, either near the trees or out along the sand. The part of the beach north of the Corso is called North Steyne, and the section to the south is South Steyne. The whole beach is popular with surfers.
Just keep running northwards until the beach ends at the 1.5-km mark (about a mile). You could continue past the next spit of land to further beaches, but that's a different route!
Now turn around and run south, past the Corso again, along South Steyne.
The beach ends, at the 3-km mark, right at the Manly Life Saving Club (nobody has drowned at Manly since they began patrolling more than a hundred years ago!). Just behind the Clubhouse, turn left and take the trail that continues along the water, Marine Parade. This pedestrian street lines the rocks out in Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, with waves bouncing over the rocks far out into the bay.
|Rocks along Cabbage Tree Bay, photo by K. Hauser|
|Cabbage Tree Bay, with Shelly Beach in distance, photo by Richard Ling|
In another 300 meters, you'll come to little Shelly Beach, a secluded cove popular with families with small kids because there are not normally any waves here. The hilly headland to the left (east) protects this great little spot. There's an idylic restaurant to the side, and a barbeque area, and you can often see diving classes practicing out in Cabbage Tree Bay: this is one great hangout!
Run to the back side of the beach and take the sidewalk up past the barbeque grills to the parking lot above. At the parking lot, stay along the left side the few steps as you run to the lookout over the cliffs along the Pacific.
Now turn left and run along the trail that circles the headland, along the yellow fence. This is one of the most spectacular running spots you'll ever encounter, with the waves thundering against the rocks below!
|Cliffs along the headland at Shelly Beach, photo by LynnaKim|
The headland trail soon loops back out to the parking lot again, where you follow Marine Parade back towards the Manly Life Saving Club.
Now, at the club, head west down Ashburner Street, which is a quiet residential street with some traditional Federation-style houses. In a few blocks, you'll be back at Manly Cove, with its own little beach and park.
|Manly Cove at sunset, photo by K. Hauser|