Around Manly

Manly is one of Sydney’s most popular seaside towns and is the perfect destination for your next Sydney escape.


Situated seven miles north-east of Sydney on the lower Northern Beaches, Manly was named by Captain Arthur Phillip after his encounter with the confident and manly Aboriginal people of the Kay-ye-my clan who lived here. Surrounded on three sides by water, Manly is the perfect destination to enjoy both the harbour and the 18 ocean beaches, coves and inlets to swim, sail and surf.

But as the locals know, Manly is more than Sydney's premier beach resort. Come by sea or road and take some time to discover its rich heritage and culture, its great shopping, dining and family attractions - it's well worth the trip.



More about Manly

For more information about Manly, go to the the official Manly Australia website.



About Us

Celebrating 50 Years of Manly Oceanariums Rich History 

7th November, 1963

Manly Oceanarium is named Marineland is officially opened in the presence of many civis dignitaries by Mr C.A. Kelly, the Chief Secretary. Marineland is launched as a new conception in the science of oceanology.

8th November, 1963

Marineland opens it's doors to the public and it is expected that many thousands will come to Manly for this new venture. 

  • At the time of opening, Marineland was the largest oceanarium in the Southern Hemisphere, the third largest in the world and the seventh of it's type. Marineland was modelled on another Oceanarium built in Durban, South Africa.
  • Marineland contained over 2,000 fish of more than 150 species including Wobbegong and Port Jackson sharks and massive sea turtles.
  • Opening times were from 11am to 10pm.


Bill Foster, chief diver at Marineland, created a world first when he commenced feeding sharks with his bare hands!


The popular Manly Cove boardwalk which adjoined the historic Manly Wharf with Manly Marineland and Pavilion is destroyed in a storm.

1st March, 1987

$12 million is injected into the oceanarium and construction is underway for Manly's new Underwater World. This includes the redevelopment of the former Marineland and adjoining Waterworks site and promises a new underwater tunnel in the oceanarium. Underwater World is modelled on Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World which opened in 1985.

At the same time the State Government was developing Sydney's Darling Harbour which included a new state-of-the-art aquarium. Many warned that Sydney wasn't big enough for the both aquariums.

19th February, 1988

Underwater World opens. Underwater World boasts a moving footway in the tunnel which gives the impression of walking on a seabed. The underwater tunnel is the biggest in the world.The new look oceanarium also included an open air restaurant, a performing seals arena and the jaws of a White Pointer Shark - a 9 metre giant weighing 4.5 tonnes!!

Marketing Director, Barry Koorey, says the attraction could handle 2,000 people an hour.

9th July, 1988

Underwater World wins the 1988 Timber Design Award for Visual Excellence.

March, 1992

Underwater World goes into receivership and is purchased by Coral World International.  The site is re-named Manly Oceanarium.

August, 1992

Coral World International announce a $1 million investment which included allowing certified visitors to dive in the shark tanks. The site is also advertised as Sydney's newest and most exciting function venue. 


Manly Oceanarium wins the NSW Tourism Award for Tourism Excellence.

15th January, 2000

Announcement that Sydney Aquarium has purchased Manly Oceanarium for $1.6 million.  The attraction is renamed Manly Oceanworld and the next 12 months is fraught with staff resignations, retrenchments and departmental consolidations to cut back on overheads.  During this time the oceanarium's most lovable attractions, the seals, were shipped off to Perth and replaced with a dangerous reptile show.


Shark Dive Xtreme is launched. Diving with sharks at Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, Sydney, is an exhilarating experience, and one of only a few experiences worldwide where you're guaranteed an underwater encounter with sharks. Our colony of Grey Nurse Sharks range in size from 1 to 3 metres, and when you do your shark dive with us, you get to enter their domain - without cages!

February, 2008

Village Roadshow Theme Parks acquired the Sydney Attractions Group.

April, 2009

Sea Biscuit is a juvenile Green Sea Turtle who was washed ashore on a local beach following stormy weather in April 2009, with a severely injured left flipper. Now, she has no trouble swimming around the oceanarium with only three flippers!

December, 2012

Merlin Entertainments Group acquired the Sydney Attractions Group division of Village Roadshow Theme Parks

28th June, 2012

The Oceanarium officially relaunched as Manly Sea Life Sanctuary following a renovation which saw the addition of the Penguin Cove exhibit

February, 2014

Rob Townsend, Life Sciences Manager, leads a rescue mission for a Grey Nurse Shark which is reported to be entangled in rope at Magic Point, Maroubra.  The team from Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary locate the shark, remove the rope and set it free.

June, 2014

The first Little Penguin Chick, Tyrion is born to parents Princess and Louie. Tyrion is the first chick born at the sanctuary and is the first important step into our captive breeding program, which we hope will play a larger part in assisting in the conservation of this endangered species.

See all news »
Manly Sea Life Sanctuary on the search for the original Marineland Mermaids!
Late opening time - Tues 31st Oct
Macro Fail