Manly Cove

Manly Cove

Manly Cove is an iconic and locally significant place. People and vessels have been part of Manly accessing the Cove by sea for centuries and continue to do so.

Latest news

FEB 2022

FEB 2022Manly Cove investigaton works

Transport for NSW will be conducting an overhead drone survey and marine ecology surveys at Manly Wharf 3 and former Manly Sea Life site. The information gathered during this work will provide an understanding of the existing environmental conditions.

The work is expected to be carried out over a two-week period from Monday 14 February, weather permitting.
Works will occur between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. No works will be carried out on weekends or Public Holidays.

You can find more information in the February 2022 notification (PDF,196Kb).

JAN 2022

JAN 2022Community consultation is now closed

We are currently reviewing feedback received about the proposed projects. Consultation was held from 15 December 2021 to 28 January 2022.

Transport for NSW would like to thank everyone who provided feedback during this time.

Once completed the consultation reports that summarises feedback received will be available on the project webpage.

Transport for NSW is planning two separate projects, as part of the $205 million NSW Government stimulus funding for maritime infrastructure and safety upgrades, to improve the accessibility to and along the Cove for all people including those with assisted and unassisted mobility needs. The two projects involve:

  • an upgrade of Manly Wharf 3
  • plans to enhance the area of the former Manly Sea Life site.

Manly Wharf 3 Project information

Manly Cove West Esplanade
Illustration of concept design of Manly wharf 3 Upgrade

Due to the wind and wave movements the proposed Manly Wharf upgrade will include a hydraulic platform with a fixed waiting area, customer seating, weather protection and gangways.

New canopies and roofs will be sympathetic to the heritage precinct and character of the surrounding buildings and maritime landscape.

Ramps and paths would be installed to connect to the nearby interchanges. Most of the existing wharf structure would be removed as part of this proposal.

The proposed Wharf upgrade has been designed to:

  • provide accessibility for all customers using the wharf
  • improve customer amenities and waiting areas
  • improve services for customers and operators
  • cater for sea level rises
  • be functional with a respectful design theme that considers the heritage precinct and history of Manly Cove.

While the priority of the NSW Government’s TAP program is to provide accessibility for all customers using our public transport network, Transport for NSW has identified an opportunity to also plan for the future growth in commercial and recreational vessel usage at Manly Cove.

In the concept design presented for stakeholder and community feedback, we have highlighted an area where recreational and smaller commercial vessel berthing opportunities may be available for inclusion in the final design.

We encourage stakeholders and the community to provide suggestions as to how this additional area may be used to maximise recreational and commercial berthing opportunities.

Transport for NSW is exploring options to improve the accessibility of Manly Wharf 3, as part of the NSW Government’s Transport Access Program so all customers, including customers with assisted and unassisted mobility needs, can safely use the wharf.

The existing structure at Manly Wharf 3 is a simple wooden jetty with tidal steps.

Customers with mobility needs are currently unable to access ferry or other commercial services from Wharf 3 without assistance. Manly Wharf 3 is also used as an alternative wharf for ferry services when Wharves 1 and 2 are undergoing regular maintenance activities.

The existing wharf known as Manly Wharf 3, is a wooden jetty and pile structure with tidal steps. The wharf originally started life as a cargo wharf in the 1850s, and was then changed to a “fun pier” in 1931, which included a Ferris wheel and carousel. In 1989 it became a ferry wharf, primarily used by private operators who provide public ferry transport services on behalf of Transport.

Wharf 3 is currently used as an alternative wharf for ferry services when wharves 1 and 2 are undergoing maintenance activities.

The upgraded wharf will be designed to:

  • provide accessibility for all customers using the wharf
  • improve customer amenities and waiting areas
  • improve services for customers, operators of commercial vessels and recreational vessels
  • be functional with a respectful design theme that considers the heritage and history of Manly Cove.
  • Improved acces for mobility impaired customers and customers with prams.
  • Improved customer amenity such as protection from the wind, rain and sun, seating and waiting areas.
  • Improved safety for customers and staff.
  • Quicker and more efficient boarding and disembarking.
  • Improved pedestrian access around the wharf.
  • More efficient interchange with other modes of public and private transport.
  • Consideration of Manly place making opportunities.

We are committed to minimising impacts and disruption to customers, businesses, and the community during the proposed works.

More information and the opportunity to provide feedback on the construction of the proposed upgrade will be provided as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment consultation process.

Construction of the Manly Wharf 3 is expected to start in 2023 which would take up to eight months to complete based on previous wharf upgrades.

Former Manly Sea Life Project information

Transport for NSW is the owner of the former aquarium Manly Sea Life and the Manly Pavilion. We are at the initial planning stage of the project and will be engaging with key stakeholders and the community as part of the design process.

The aquarium was purpose built in the 1960s, and housed marine life until it was closed in 2018. Manly Sea Life Sanctuary was a public aquarium, which featured sharks, giant stingrays, sea turtles, little penguins and other marine life. It also allowed guests to take part in Shark Dive Xtreme, where they could swim with grey nurse sharks over three metres long.

Since the Sea Life aquarium building was closed in 2018, it has remained vacant and is not fit for reuse. The aquarium building is dilapidated, and it still houses custom built tanks and enclosures not easily adapted to a future new use. The building also blocks sight lines to the heritage buildings behind.

Transport for NSW recognises the importance of creating a place, which respects the local cultural heritage, connects people to land and water and creates a prominent waterfront location in Manly.

We would like to enhance the Manly West Esplanade precinct area and reconnect the Pavilion and heritage buildings with the beach by removing the aquarium building and extending the boardwalk with enough width for outdoor dining and a recreational edge. This proposal would provide a safe, family friendly for the West Esplanade area, which maintains and celebrates the local heritage of the area.

There is also the opportunity to improve public waterfront access with the possibility of the inclusion of a wharf structure for pick up and drop off of recreational vessels. We are seeking your feedback on our plans and potential uses for the site

Artist illustration of plan for the former Manly Sea Life area.

Further information

We recognise the importance and sensitivity of the local Manly environment. Our proposed designs are carefully considering the potential impacts of the construction footprint on the local environment particularly the aquatic ecology. We have developed a factsheet specifically for Manly Cove (PDF, 330Kb).

The impacts will be further assessed as part of the strategic environmental investigations that will be carried out in the New Year to support the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessments for both projects. The associated impacts of the proposal on the environment and our approach to mitigate and minimise these impacts will be detailed in the environmental impact assessments.

The community will have an opportunity to review the environmental assessment and provide a submission as part of its public display, which is expected to occur in the first half of 2022.


How will the flora and fauna in the area (land/sea) be protected during construction of both projects?

Transport understands the flora and fauna nearby to both sites is sensitive and needs to be protected. Each project will be subject to an environmental impact assessment process, which needs to consider all the environmental impacts that need to be addressed in the development of the projects, and provide strategies to demonstrate how we will avoid, mitigate, and manage these potential impacts.  

We are expecting to have this completed in 2022. The community will have an opportunity to review these impacts, the proposed mitigation measures and provide a submission.

We have created a fact sheet for these projects (PDF, 330Kb) and how we identify, consider, and manage our environmental impact.

Transport for NSW has identified an opportunity to include designated recreational drop up and pick up zones within Manly Cove.

We are seeking your feedback about where and what the designs for recreational drop off zones could look like.

Transport will be working on these projects together so that Manly Cove continues to support the local community and those who wish to visit to work, rest or play.

We will consider all feedback received during the public display of the concept design for Manly Wharf 3.

Feedback will be considered in the refinement of the design and during the development of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The community will be able to provide further feedback on the environmental impacts when the Environmental Impact Assessment is placed on public display in the first half of 2022.

We will consider all feedback in line with our plans for the site.

In 2022, we will review feedback received and carry out further investigations around the proposed site to support the development of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Project documents


Contact us

For further information about this project contact us via:

Phone: 1800 770 973 (during business hours)


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