Manly is an absolutely wonderful place to visit at any time of year, a real picture postcard beachfront destination and at new year's eve the town really comes alive with some top celebrations.
The proximity to Sydney means many head across the harbour to see the big fireworks display but if you stay in Manly there are plenty of parties to choose from - they even have their own smaller scale fireworks show, while of course the views from North Head means you don't have to miss out on the big Sydney pyrotechnics completely.
It is of course summer in December so if you are here over Christmas and new year it's likely beaches will feature heavily on your itinerary, and you are completely spoiled for choice, with Manly beach itself impressive enough, but the other famous northern beaches also vie for attention, with Curl Curl, Dee Why, Avalon, Collaroy and of course Palm Beach among my personal favourites.
With the huge fireworks displays taking place just across the harbour in Sydney you might not expect to find any fireworks in Manly itself but you would be mistaken with a 9pm display taking place at Manly Cove, meaning you can attend here and still just about have time to head across the harbour by midnight. See all the latest on the main Sydney new year fireworks here:
The Manly Cove fireworks are actually part of a whole evening of new year events centred around the East and West Esplanade in Manly, in the areas around the wharf, including live entertainment and plenty of options for food and drink at local establishments such as Hugos, the Bavarian Beer Cafe and my personal favourite the 4 Pines Brewpub.
If you want to watch the main Sydney display from a distance then some of the best views are available form up on North Head, it is walkable from Manly but the road is dark and quiet so be careful.
Around Manly there will be lively parties in most of the bars, hotels and restaurants. Head down the Corso to the Steyne or the New Brighton Hotel and grab pizza or a falafel from one of the many takeaway places or try a full dinner at one of the busy restaurants.
For dessert you can't go far wrong with a visit to Doughnut Time opposite Manly Wharf, where there are even several vegan offerings, with different choices every few weeks.
The famous Manly ferry gets in on the act on new year's eve and you can actually choose to head out onto the water to watch the fireworks in Sydney harbour (both the 9pm and midnight displays) on board the ferry, although these trips will cost a littole more than the standard Opal card fare and do sell out quickly so be sure to book well in advance - full details and online bookings are available here.
Accommodation in Manly is pricey all year round and especially so over new year, with even the backpacker places charging a premium. The best hostel is probably The Sebel Manly Beach but be warned it won't be cheap.
Try checking out Airbnb for late offers too and consider heading a little further out for cheaper for cheaper prices - we stayed in a great place in Curl Curl that was still within walking distance of Manly or just 10 minutes on the bus.
You can search for deals at all of the best Manly guest houses plus other local hotels here.
There are a couple of webcams in Manly but they are surf cams on the ocean beach so won't do you much good in seeing the Esplanade fireworks.
This same page does have a camera at Dee Why beach though, and there is a new year fireworks display at Dee Why that you should be able to see on that one:
You can of course watch the main Sydney fireworks live online: