A Hidden Gem

So tucked away in Manly Vale is a secret place that not even some locals even know its there…..I bump into people who live in the local area and they have never been there, they don’t know what they are missing, a little bit of paradise on our doorsteps. Yep it’s Manly Dam, somewhere where I have been going since I was a toddler and still visit at least once a month. I like the fact its a hidden gem and not everyone knows about it cause its such a great destination to go to on the weekends? I love that I have the beach on one side of where I live then 5 min down the road I have Manly Dam. Whether you like bush walking, running, mountain bike riding, water skiing or just chilling out having a BBQ or a picnic with friends the Manly Dam is the perfect destination.

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The Bushwalking Tracks

The bush surrounding Manly Dam is a special place that includes remnants of Aboriginal camps.

Dogs are not allowed in the water or any of the picnic areas, which includes the internal road and carparks. But you are allowed to take your Dogs for a walk on a leash on the bushland walking tracks.


With so many different walking tracks available to check out:

Park Circuit –  Track Distance: 7.3km Time: 3 hours Attractions: Waterfall and rockpools Wildflower Walk – Distance: 0.35km Time: 15 min each way Attractions: Thick woodland and seasonal blooms Nature Trail – Distance: 1.5km Time: 40 min each way Attractions: Scenic views, sandstone cliffs McCombs Hill Track – Distance: 1km Time: 25 min round trip Attractions: Excellent views of surrounding district Curl Curl Track Distance: 2km  Time: 1 hour circuit Attractions: Rockpools, cool wet forest, echidnas Eva’s Track Distance: 2km Time: 1 hour circuit Attractions: Rock platforms, views over Manly Heath Track Distance: 1km  Time: 25 min Gulgadya Muru – Aboriginal Self Guided Walk  Attractions: Spectacular views and wildflowers The Gulgadya Muru, or Aboriginal self-guided walk, gives everyone the opportunity to see Manly Dam through the eyes of its original inhabitants. You can see evidence of Aboriginal life including rock engravings and paintings as well as axe grinding grooves. You may also be lucky enough to discover the remains of ancient camp sites such as stone tools, baked clay, fire blackened stones and charcoal. Walk Type Circuit Distance: 350m to 8km. Duration: 20 minutes to 3 hours. MD11   I love just driving down to the Dam and then going for a run along the bush tracks, such a different environment. Especially if you have been working indoors all week in an office. (like me)

Mountain Bike Riding

Manly Dam Mountain Bike track is one of Sydney’s best and is enjoyed by beginners to advanced riders. I have many friends who go to the Dam just to do Mountain bike riding, and they love it. The best access points for the bike track are; Gibbs St, Manly Vale, Upper Clontarf St, North Balgowlah, Kirkwood St, Bantry Reserve, Seaforth and both Roosevelt Ave and Nyrang St at Allambie Heights.  Always good to check Warringah Councils Facebook Page to make sure the tracks are open. Alice Springs MTB

Water Sports

Water Skiing

I have find memories as a child, water skiing at the dam, or being dragged at the back of the boat on one of those tyre tubes.

A section of the lake is available for water skiing/wakeboarding through the Manly and Warringah Water Ski Club. You do need to book if you want to use it, as it gets very busy and only two boats at a time can usually use the dam. They even have a speed jump for those who are game.



Manly Dam is popular for fishing.

Section four near the wetlands is thought to be the best fishing spot.

The dam is stocked regularly with Australian bass, however other species that may be caught are silver perch, carp and redfin.

I must admit John and I have never caught a fish at the Dam, but I have seen people do it, thou I don’t think they are very big.

Swimming and Kayaking

There is sectioned off areas for swimmers and kayaks so they are not in the way of the water skiing, With the dam being freshwater and is usually cold from experience, but still a great place to have a paddle or stand up paddle boarding session.

But the main reason we usually go to the Dam is to chill out have  BBQ and relax.

They have plenty of BBQ areas as well benches to sit at and eat. They also supply the timber for the BBQ’s, unless its a busy day then you might have to venture in the bush and collect your own.

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They also have a small play area with equipment to entertain the kids?

Do you have a place you love to hang out? Let us know in the comments below?

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