Here are a few shots of our visit to Manly ... The Ocean Beach Tea Rooms, built in 1898 was the most gorgeous soft colour and loved how all the buildings were so old.
Saturday afternoon arrived and we caught up with some old friends in the form of Bruce and Leonie and their two delightful children. At their suggestion we caught the ferry to Manly - a seaside suburb of Sydney on the vast 'North Shore'. It proved to be a delightful seaside suburb - perched in a peninsula about 1/2 an hour from downtown Sydneys Circular Quay from where many of the ferries depart. Nothing new in catching ferries for us - but interesting all the same and very civilized.
On landing we wandered through Manly - which retains many of architectural features of the 1930s and 40s. It is low rose architecture with a mall dividing the shops with the famous (in Sydney anyway) Manly Beach at the eastern end. A beautiful coral sand beach with many Sydney folk trying to 'cop a few rays' in the unpredictable weather.
We were lucky on our brief visit as the skies had opened just before we arrived washing out Sydney's Australia Day celebrations and started soon after we left and seem to have been going ever since, slowly washing the east coast of the country into the Pacific Ocean
Bruce and Leonie led us by way of a paved seaside track to a reclusive cove where they confessed to having had a pre-marital romantic tryst, on Valentines night, in years bygone. At the termination of the track was a cute little beach known as 'Shelley Beach'.
Cabbage Tree Bay was named after the Cabbage Tree Palm and Shelley Beach is the only west-facing beach on Australia's east coast and is filled with unique marine life such as the Eastern Blue Groper, the Weedy Sea dragon, Gloomy Octopus and Little Penguin.
Sitting and looking mysterious along the way were some of the local 'Water Dragons' - cute little creatures - perhaps up to 30 cm (1 foot ) long and sitting motionless until you approached too close at which point their little pink mouths would open and the creature looking as fierce as it could muster, would emit an audible low warning hiss.
Not for patting and protected by statute but cute to look at and they seemed quite common along the walkway.
Cabbage Tree Bay is an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkeling because of its clear and shallow waters. Shelley Beach is a haven for sun seekers and is a popular sheltered beach, for families and children.
The path that Bruce and Leonie led us down is a nature reserve walk with a number of sculptures recessed into the rock walls of the walkway
We eventually found ourselves after about 20 minutes at Shelley Beach itself and we walked to a little restaurant known as 'Le Kiosk" located right on the beach where we enjoyed a pleasant lunch, watched it rain on the beach goers and listened to Bruce and Leonie relive their youth.
Our old friends the water dragons were in evidence scrounging for scraps at the base of the diners tables.
Perhaps an auspicious sign for the new year to be treated to the sight of real (albeit diminutive) live dragons chowing down during the 'Year of the dragon celebrations'
A walk back, another ferry ride and fond farewells after a fine adventure.
Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful weekend