Very few cities in the world can boast an institution as unique as the Manly ferry, a service which takes passengers from the heart of Sydney on a 30 minute ride up one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, past historic sites, a naval dockyard and hundreds of beautiful homes, then gives a taste of the open sea before berthing at Manly, one of Sydney s most famous seaside suburbs.
It was the introduction of the Manly ferry service in the 1850s which led to the opening up of Sydney s northern beaches, first with Manly itself as both a high class residential area as well as a tourist resort. The catchphrase used to promote it in the early days - Manly, 12 miles from Sydney ... a thousand miles from care is still appropriate.
North of Manly are a string of popular surf beaches, ribbons of golden sand separated by picturesque, rocky headlands which extend all the way north to the tip of Barrenjoey Peninsula and Broken Bay. Once the haunt of rum smugglers, they now attract swimmers, surfers, snorkellers and walkers throughout the year. Between the surrounding suburbs are parks and bushland reserves, a number of which encompass fresh and saltwater lagoons that are havens for wildlife.
Pittwater is a wide inlet to the south of Broken Bay and the entrance of the Hawkesbury River into it. Located some 30 kms north of Sydney, it is a boatowner s paradise. The suburbs built on its shores are all fashionable residential areas which benefit from expansive views towards Kuring-Gai Chase National Park on its eastern shore and the inlet s calm waters. It was named by Gov. Phillip in February 1788 in honour of William Pitt the Younger, then Prime Minister of England. Phillip s description of Pittwater as The finest piece of water I ever saw ... it could contain the Navy of Great Britain indicates he may have chosen it as the site for the colony of NSW ahead of Sydney Cove had he discovered it first.