Time and time again, I have heard about Manly Dam. It keeps finding its way into conversations I have with people so it had to be visited. Manly Dam is ideal for duck feeding and if that if your objective then its a good place to visit. Never in my life have I seen such huge ducks.
On the other hand, if you are going to Manly Dam in the hopes of a day out or a multi faceted visit – you would be better served going to Balmoral Beach where the water is better, the playground newer, you can get coffee and go for a walk with a view.
There are a few features to Manly Dam:
- Picnic Spot #1 which also features the playground
- The war memorial and the swimming section of the dam
- The dam wall bridge
- Picnic spots #2 through to #4
- The various bush walks
As any slightly OCD mom does, I researched the area beforehand (probably not well enough otherwise I may not have visited) and found where to start our visit – The Playground! I will however set this post out as you would come across each of the features I’ve set out above.
Where is Manly Dam
Before getting to the features of Manly Dam we need to just touch on how to get there. First off the full name of the percent is Manly Warringah War Memorial Park. While entrance is free you will have to pay for parking.
Driving in there is only one road that gets you into the reserve – King Street. You’ve got to get off Condamine Street in Manly Vale and go all the way to the end of King Street and you will enter the Manly Dam precinct.
Manly Dam Features
The War Memorial
The War Memorial is completely underwhelming which is such a pity. It consists of a small plaque set on a stone mount. Regardless of its stature, we still went and paid homage to the people to whom it was dedicated to.
Directly in front of the memorial is the swimming area of the dam – you wont miss it unless you are actively trying to. Not only is the swimming section clearly marked out but you can see the net out in the water.
The Dam Wall Bridge
To the right of the War Memorial and the Swimming Section is the entrance to the Dam Wall Bridge. The bridge is not a bridge in the normal sense – it is not solid nor are there big support structures above you. The bridge is sturdy but not, as I learnt after I sent grandpa over the bridge with Mr 4, for people who unsure of heights as its made of steel grates.
Due to the construction you can see all the way down to the wall and the water, its not that bad but its not a flat surface and could easily upset a little one. It is also not pram, scooter or bike friendly.
The Playground (and Picnic Spot #1)
The Playground is at the first picnic spot just a little off to the right between the toilet block and the dam. The toilet was locked on the day we visited and I’m not sure why. The Playground has a play-gym and a swing set.
There are picnic tables dotted around, some covered and others not. There were plenty of ducks and swans around the picnic area and playground and a few cheeky crows who kept pinching one child’s food.
Picnic Spots #2 through to #4 and the Bush Walks
I didn’t get to any of these spots myself but you can check out all the detailed information about them on the council’s website.
After exploring the playground, running between swans and ducks and walking the dam walk I couldn’t get anyone to go on a bush walk or drive around to explore the other picnic spots so I cant attest to these. I would love to hear from anyone who has explored this area a bit more.
Manly Dam is open 7 days a week from 7 am to 8:30pm.
Note to overtired moms – there are no cafes or kiosks within the grounds so you are best served picking up a large takeaway coffee on the way over. There are however BBQs and lots of shady grassy patches for picnics (you have just to be careful about duck poo).