Never heard of Manly? Well we’re going to let you in on a little secret.

While Sydney is naturally often the first city people think of when thinking of Australia, we regularly get students who want to study abroad in Australia, but not in a big city. Instead,  they want to find a smaller community to call home during their time abroad.

Enter the quaint beach town of Manly.

Situated less than ten miles from Sydney’s Central Business District, Manly is a top contender for anyone who wants to study abroad in Australia enjoying the benefits of Sydney without the intensity of city life – especially if you’re studying in Hospitality, Tourism, Business, Sport Management, Retail or Real Estate.

10 reasons to study abroad in Manly, Australia:

ICMS – International College of Management, Sydney

Rated as one of the best schools in Australia for hospitality, the International College of Management, Sydney offers the option of combining classes with a part-time internship, so students return with valuable contacts and experience in their field.

ICMS campus
“ICMS campus – My little castle on the hill. This school is home to students not just from Australia, but from all corners of the world with a small student population of about 1,500. I took 3 courses and did an internship for credit in Manly.” Michaela Miller, Otterbein University
Beach life

It’s hard to escape the main reason people love to call Manly home – the relaxed beach lifestyle is evident the moment you step off the ferry at Manly Wharf. Manly Beach, the gateway to Sydney’s Northern beaches district, flaunts golden sand, palm lined walkways, and protected ocean pools perfect for a relaxing swim.

Busy Manly beach
Manly beach | Photo: Hamilton Lund; Destination NSW
Australian history

Rumored to be named for the burly characteristics of the local indigenous peoples, Manly embodies the Australian story with many aspects of the country’s history still visible to this day. The architecture of the buildings on the historic registry, including the ICMS campus buildings, reflect an interesting past, such as Q station – the former home to the quarantine station, where incoming ships would be required to stay offshore for forty days to protect the community from sickness. Now a national park, you can see why many thought it was all worth the wait.

Cafe culture

With a backdrop of the meandering golden beach and the undulating sea, Manly cafes can safely boast about having one of the best locations in all of Australia.  This area is known for its laid back vibe, and the dining scene continues the trend. Breakfast with a sunrise is worth getting up for!

The Pantry cafe on Manly beach
The Pantry on Manly beach – perfect for delicious brunches and awesome ocean views
Active lifestyle

It’s hard to live in Manly without being/wanting to stay active. Surfing camps, beach volleyball, hiking clubs, scuba, kayaking, horse riding, bush walking…there are options for every speed and skill level. ICMS students also receive access to the local gym too.

Manly beach at sunrise
“The sunrise over Manly Beach was hard to beat. This is one of my favorite photos, as it captures the active Manly lifestyle and Australia’s beauty.” Heather Price, University of New Hampshire who studied at ICMS
Accessibility to the city

Despite being its own serene corner of paradise, Manly is well connected to many other popular Sydney neighborhoods and center of the city. To get to the central business district you can take the public bus across the north suburbs, or our favorite option, the ferry! The Manly ferry cuts your time in half and features some of the best views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

View of Sydney from Manly ferry
“Views from the ferry! The journey across the harbor from Manly Wharf to Circular Quay is a quick 30 minutes.” Michaela Miller, Otterbein University

Studying in Australia, you must take advantage of the open air markets. Every weekend at the Manly Markets, you can find booths with arts and crafts, fruits and veggies, and lots of other unique bites to delight your taste buds.


When the weather cools down or you’ve had enough of the beach (a crazy thought, we know!), there are some incredible scenic walks to challenge yourself on. Try the Manly to Spit Bridge Walk or Manly to North Head for incredible ocean views you have to see to believe.

Manly Spit hike in Sydney
Sydney Harbour views during the Spit-Manly hike | Photo by TEAN staff, Lauren Gabell
Live Music

If acoustic sets and pop-up concerts are your thing, then you’re going to love Manly. Every night, music fills the streets from the pubs and bars along the wharf to the beach. There is also an annual music festival every May and a huge jazz festival every October.


Host to a thriving community garden, regular beach clean-ups, and a popular Food, Wine and Sustainability Fair, here you can easily support local efforts to reduce your carbon footprint and work toward living a more sustainable lifestyle. Local businesses are regularly encouraged to implement green practices and recognized for their efforts. The area is also home to heaps of eco tours, like Ecotreasures’’ Manly Snorkel Walk and Talk. New vegan restaurants and cafes offering healthy foods are popping up all the time. Check out Bare Naked Bowls (2/41 Market Place) where a percentage of their sales goes to not-for-profits helping orphan children in Nepal and Tanzania or Ora (17B Whistler St) that sources their ingredients locally.

Smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowl at Bare Naked Bowls in Manly

Want to know more about living and studying in Manly? Reach out to the TEAN team so we can discuss how Manly might be the best spot for you.