I am a travel writer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and food!
I love travelling and discovering hidden gems... experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass
Published May 28th 2018
This spectacular aquatic reserve is a snorkelling haven
Sydney is home to some of the most spectacular 'city' beaches in the country. One of those beaches is the remarkable Shelly Beach (also known as Shelley Beach), which is part of the stunning Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve and is located next to the Aquatic Reserve. It is an easy 20-minute leisurely stroll from the stunning Manly Beach.
Shelly Beach is one of the two west-facing ocean beaches on the east coast of Australia and is home to more than 400 species of marine life. Since it was declared a "no take" aquatic reserve in 2002, in lieu of fishing, there has been a massive increase in diversity of marine habitats, making Shelly Beach an absolute magical snorkelling experience!
Being sheltered from the swells and winds snorkelling here can be easily undertaken for all ages, especially for the little ones and beginners. And with the stunning underwater world, including giant cuttlefish, yellowfin bream, stingrays and Port Jackson sharks, it adds a further specialness to the beauty of Shelly Beach.
The amazing Blue Groper fish can be mostly found on the right-side of the beach near the rocks.
It is truly a delight for snorkellers with the tranquil waters, making it easy to spot out Port Jackson Sharks, squids and if you are lucky, the adorable sea turtles. If you venture further out, you will discover another surprise: an old motorbike that rests on the seabed in the middle of the bay in around 8-metres of water!
Getting here: You can drive to Shelly Beach as there is a carpark available.
Catch a ferry from Circular Quay (30-min one-way ride) to Manly Beach. From the Wharf, walk towards The Corso till the end (Manly Beach can be seen from here), cross the road and walk right following the pathway. Shelly Beach is a short and easy 10-20-minute walk from Manly Beach.
There is a carpark located within a short walking distance to the beach with $8 per hour rates. Free parking can also be found outside the carpark, but it can be quite difficult to find a spot as locals mostly take up these spots.