Hot Summer Day at Manly Beach

Manly Beach on a Summer Afternoon

Manly Beach on a Summer Afternoon

Sydney, Tuesday 

It’s 28 degrees C. in Sydney as I’m typing this, minus 2 in Paris, where it’s been snowing.  This is one of those times of the year when seasonal differences between my two favourite cities are at their greatest. 

It’s high summer Down Under, and Aussies love a day at the beach.  Today Manly Beach was about as crowded as it gets, when school’s out, the temperatures are high, and there’s not a cloud in the sky. 



Manly Beach, Looking North towards Queenscliff

Manly Beach, Looking North towards Queenscliff

Free to All and Enjoyed by All 

Clive was appalled the first time he visited my former hometown in the U.S., a small suburb on the Connecticut coast. 

What set him off?  The guardhouse at the entrance to the town beach.

“The beach is only for town residents,” I said.

“You’re telling me they pay someone to sit there and keep people out?”


“What if you live one town inland?”

Too bad.  You can pay a daily entrance fee, but you certainly can’t come and go as you please.  The beaches up and down the coast are, for all practical purposes, private.

Someone Has to Pay

The rationale on the U.S. east coast beaches with which I’m familiar is that local taxes pay for maintenance, so only residents are allowed access.

I’m not a beach fanatic, but grew up going to the New Jersey shore, where my father bought daily beach passes for himself, me, and my brother.  In my single days, I rented a summer house at the Jersey shore with a group of young professionals, and we paid hundreds of dollars for season beach passes.

Paying to go to the beach is also required at the beach in Maine where my late husband and I took our family every summer.

Australia Does It Better

The idea of charging people to go to the beach does not exist in Australia.  Australia has figured out how to manage and support public places, and the beach is a public place (as it is in England).

Clive and I happen to be Manly rate-payers (taxpayers), but we don’t have exclusive access to Manly Beach, nor would any Aussies think they should have exclusive access.  We can go to any beach in the country without paying for the privilege, and the same applies to tourists.

People clearly travelled from many parts of Sydney, as well as the world, to be here today.  It’s free, and I think that’s the way it should be.

Manly Beach, Looking South and across to Shelly Beach

Manly Beach, Looking South and across to Shelly Beach


3 Responses

  1. I am not a beach person, by that, I mean love the beach for a while, but certainly not all day, and I certainly would not pay to go, yeah I am with Clive on this one..! Very strange, never heard of it before.

  2. I was completely shocked on my first visit to Cornwall when John explained to me that the beaches were free to roam and that land could only be owned within a certain distance to the beach.

    In addition to that, after learning that there were miles of coastline with designated paths right through the property of others, I became totally enchanted with the first of many things done in the English way.

  3. I’m THERE!! Well, I WAS there…. back in ’85… I recognize Manly Beach very well (as you know I stayed there for 3 weeks- just 5 minutes from the beach on East Esplanade…. Where the tall pine trees are… I just LOVED the Corso and it was such a great place to be staying… LOVELY!!! I hope that my hubby and I will come for New Year’s and stay in Oz for a least 3 weeks to a month… mid Dec- Mid Jan… I’d start up in Brisbane and come down to Sydney… It may be too hot for Ayer’s Rock in the summer time there… so I’ll be happy JUST to stay on the east coast… Take care…. Leesa

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