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Manly and Crescent Head

Thursday, May 21, 2009
Australia's coastline has seemingly endless beaches. From Queensland to Tasmania to Western Australia, top and bottom, each has something special to offer. The Getaway presenters went in different directions to find the best of the best. They didn't just check out the beaches alone, but places to stay and eat and things to do as well.


Over the Sydney Harbour Bridge or by ferry across the sparkling waters is Manly. The 3km surfing beach on the ocean side is made up of North Steyne, South Steyne and Queenscliff. The harbour side where ferries berth has a netted pool and calm water, so there are activities to suit everyone.

Manly is home to beach volleyball, surf competitions, an international jazz festival, food and wine festival and loads more. There's no shortage of bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and backpackers.

Rollerskating was popular there in the late 1800s when Manly Pier had a rink and a half pipe. The skateboarding scene has been active there since the 1970s and in 1989 inline skating was introduced. It has a skate-friendly atmosphere and it is permitted in most places, except never on The Corso. The path between Marine Parade to Shelly Beach if off limits for skating on weekends and public holidays.

You can hire blades from Bill Vertucci's shop Skater HQ. They offer group and private lessons and are great for birthday parties, school gatherings and corporate bookings.

Before heading back to town you could stop for a drink and a bite to eat at the Manly Wharf Hotel. It's right on the edge of Sydney Harbour and is a hit with locals and visitors. It truly reflects a relaxed coastal lifestyle. Decorators have cleverly blended pebbles, bamboo, white benches and cool blue and green hues. In winter, two open fireplaces make it cosy.

The hotel has four bars with a wide choice of wine, beer and mixed cocktails and an extensive food menu.

Crescent Head

Kelly packed her bathers and headed to Crescent Head on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. If you love to ride a board, this place is paradise. It's been named one of Australia's top five surfing destinations. Year round the ocean's swells attract wave lovers from around the world.

Crescent Head has it over most other beaches thanks to its headland creating 300m wave breaks. Instead of, or after, a surf the Crescent Head Country Club and Golf Course is a must. It's been running since 1956 and has the best location, right on the headland. It is a six-hole course so if you want to play 18 holes, around you go around three times. One hole requires players to hit the ball over a cliff face that drops directly to the ocean. If you miss you can always blame passing whales or dolphins for distracting you. Lights allow night playing and there is also a bowling green.

A couple of once-ugly cement water towers have been artistically transformed by local students, the Lions Club and the Aboriginal community.

The club's two restaurants serve Australian and Chinese meals.

Just down the hill, right beside the beach, is the Crescent Head Holiday Park. It has villas, bungalows and cabins and powered sites if you BYO your shelter.

The beach is patrolled in summer and Killick Creek has clean, safe swimming. Activities at your doorstep include tennis courts, skateboard ramp and well equipped playground as well as shops, banks, service station and everything you could need.


Sydney and north and south of the city on the New South Wales coast.


Manly's Skate HQ rollerblade hire is $20 an hour and tandem cruiser bikes are $25 an hour. All protective gear and helmets are provided. They are open every day between 9am and 6pm.

The Crescent Head Country Club and Golf Course costs $10 for six holes.

Crescent Head Holiday Park Lakeside Cabins & Units cost $80, Bungalows are $90, Spa Bungalows $113, Oceanside Spa Villas $155, Oceanfront Spa Villas $168 and special access units are $90. All sleep up to five people. Powered sites are $15 a night twin share.

Prices correct at May 21, 2009.

For further information

Skate HQ Manly
Shop 2/49 North Steyne
Manly 2095
Ph: (02) 9976 3833

Manly Wharf Hotel
Manly Wharf East Esplanade
Manly 2095
Ph: (02) 9977 1266

Crescent Head Holiday Park
Pacific Street
Crescent Head 2440
Ph: (02) 6566 0261

Crescent Head Country Club
1 Rankine Street
Crescent Head 2440
Ph: (02) 6566 0268

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