Shelly Beach (NSW 319) is also about 100 m long, but is considerably wider and more permanent than Fairy Bower. It faces the west and waves have to refract 270˚ round Blue Fish Point to reach the beach. Consequently waves are low, and the beach steep and reflective, rich in... Read more
Shelly Beach (NSW 319) is also about 100 m long, but is considerably wider and more permanent than Fairy Bower. It faces the west and waves have to refract 270˚ round Blue Fish Point to reach the beach. Consequently waves are low, and the beach steep and reflective, rich in shells eroded off the adjacent rock reefs. It is a popular beach backed by a wide grassy reserve, with parking up on the backing slopes. It is also a popular diving site, with many divers entering the water to dive the rocks around Fairy Bower.
Both beaches have usually low waves, however water can be deep close inshore, and the shore break heavy during big seas.
The beaches offer no surf, however they are used by surfers to paddle out to Fairy Bower point break, directly seaward of the beach of the same name. Unlike the safe beach, this break only really begins working when waves exceed 1.5 m and has been surfed to 7 m, making it one of the world's premier big wave spots (Fig. 4.218). The Bower, as it is locally known, is a boulder-strewn break, with the infamous 'Surge Rock' in the middle of the break. Those braving the inside break known as Winkiepop risk getting caught inside, while further round is a suicidal way inside break at Blue Fish Point aptly called Deadmans. The Bower as you might expect is for the experienced surfer only.
Boat fishermen operate out of Shelly, with most shore fishing off the rocks, particularly round past Fairy Bower. The dangerous and difficult to reach rocks of North Head have long been a popular spot.
Around the rocks from Manly Beach is a small north facing embayment called Cabbage Tree Bay containing two small beaches; Fairy Bower and Shelly. Both can be reached by a paved walkway round the rocks from Manly. Fairy Bower also has limited street parking, while above Shelly there is a more substantial reserve and car park.Read less
Beach Patrols Change Day
SLSA provides this information as a guide only. Surf conditions are variable and therefore this information should not be relied upon as a substitute for observation of local conditions and an understanding of your abilities in the surf. SLSA reminds you to always swim between the red and yellow flags and never swim at unpatrolled beaches. SLSA takes all care and responsibility for any translation but it cannot guarantee that all translations will be accurate.
General Hazard Rating: 2/10 (Least hazardous)
Beach Key: nsw319