Just north of Manly Beach, Freshwater Beach is stunningly located between two headlands. There’s a small stream at the north end of the beach, hence the name “Freshwater”.
It’s popularity began in the early 1900s when campers would spend holidays near the beach enjoying the sand and beautiful location. Initially it was the site of a working mens’ camp and females were only allowed to visit on Sundays. Tents gave way to huts and after WWI, new lodges were built to attract working class families. It acquired the name “Camp City” and was only renamed Freshwater Beach in 1980.
A tunnel was blasted through the rock, connecting Manly with Freshwater and is known as the Wormhole. Rock falls have made it more of a scramble than a stroll but the original path still exists.
Freshwater Beach has established sandbanks which make for consistent waves right along the beach. It is protected from nor’easter storms by the north headland. History has it that Freshwater Beach is where surfboarding first became popular. Hawaiian surfer, “Duke” Kahanamoku carved a board from a piece of local timber and mesmerized the crowds with his surfing prowess. That was in January 1915 and his statue on the north headland commemorates that significant day.
There’s a popular 50m saltwater swimming pool at one end of the beach with lanes for lap swimmers.
The beach has some facilities including a paid parking, toilets, showers and playgrounds. If you’re peckish there are several cafes and food vendors overlooking the beach.
Freshwater Beach is part of the Manly-Freshwater National and World Surfing Reserve that celebrates the cultural, historic and environmental value of these iconic surfing beaches
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