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Manly Beach & Shelley Beach

Visited December 2012

Being only a ferry ride from the heart of Sydney, Manly Beach is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches.

Getting around Manly with a wheelchair is easy from our experience. It is level, well paved and has paths that run along the top of the beach. There are much quieter beaches and areas but being such a popular beach it has good facilities.

beachwheelchairOn a recent trip to Manly we stopped at the Manly Lifesaving Club and spoke to one of the lifeguards and found they have a beach wheelchair available for use. You can either drop in (note that I had to send AJ up stairs to get a lifeguard to come down to show us the wheelchair) or phone ahead and book it (Manly Lifesaving Club phone number is 9976 1497 or council during weekdays is 9976 1500). The Lifesaving Club is at the southern end of the beach and access to the beach is via a ramp just in front. The beach wheelchairs do not have any strapping so if you are using it with a person that needs a seat belt, I’d suggest getting an all purpose Velcro strap like this one that you can use when using equipment like this. Speak to your Occupational Therapist if you need something more than that and I’m sure they will come up with a solution. We’ve found travelling with this gives us a bit more flexibility. Our son sits well but is used to having a lap seatbelt on his wheelchair.

If you are in another state or not near Manly Beach, ring the council for the area you wish to visit. We have done this before when visiting Queensland and other areas and they will let you know which beaches have a beach wheelchair available for use. We’ve always found them accommodating because often they are frustrated at the chair just sitting unused.

Manly – Shelly Beach accessible coastal walk  – Visited December 2012

A great accessible coastal walk starts at the Lifeguard tower. The weather was beautiful last week and we headed out to enjoy this walk.

The walk is only about 20-30 mins one way depending on how quickly you walk and how often you stop to enjoy the view. The path is wide and hugs the coast so you have totally unobstructed views. We’ve done this walk many times but never tire of the gorgeous vista out to sea and back to Manly.


The kids and I were particularly fascinated by the Water Dragons (lizards) sunning themselves on the rocks. We were close to them and they seemed fairly confident that the signs saying they were protected would keep them safe. We weren’t the only ones stopping to take photos and admire them.

There are only two parts of the walk where there is a bit of an incline which made me use my muscles a bit more. In an electric wheelchair it would be easy, and with a manual chair I didn’t find it any problem at all.

Halfway around the walk there is a couple of shops for drinks, snacks and gifts. There is also a restaurant here. It would be a great place for breakfast with a view on a summer’s morning.

At the end of the walk at Shelly Beach there is a restaurant, Le Kiosk and a small kiosk/café. I didn’t go into the restaurant but did note it had easy access at the front. The kiosk/café serves light meals, morning tea and has ice creams and other take away. Wheelchair access to the kiosk is via the left side (looking at it).

Disabled toilet facilities are at the end of the walk at Shelly Beach and also there are toilets large enough for a wheelchair at about halfway on the walk (though they are not marked disabled facilities)

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach is a really pretty beach cove. It is a mainly a calm water beach which is popular with families and divers. It would be great to do the walk and either, take lunch, or buy some and enjoy a picnic before walking back.


AJ’s Tips

There are really cool sculptures on the rocks on the walk. Keep an eye out for them. The Water Dragons are fun to spot and count along the way.


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