Madly in Love with Manly – Cultural Acceptance, Shelly Beach, and My First Australian Kiss

One British guy, one German guy, one Irish guy, and an American girl walk into a bar…

 No, this is not the start to a bad dirty joke, this is my life!

IMG_0807   After months of being told by countless people that they feel I would love Manly Beach, I have finally arrived. Boy or boy were they wrong! I do not love this place.

I am absolutely DEEPLY in love with this PLACE!!!!          

Just taking the ferry ride over from the city makes me feel like I am far away  from the rush of the city and in the heart of happyland. From what I have noticed, Manly appears to be run at a slower pace, not so concerned about what the rest of the city is stuck dealing with.  The general vibe here is just “chill” especially compared to the uber trendy city of Bondi Beach I just recently stayed in. The people are friendlier than I have experienced anywhere else, and the guys.. well… lets just say they are not too bad to look at here 😉 I just love this place!!!!!!!! The hostel I am staying at is in the heart of Manly, a street away from the beach and the Corso.

My new dormmates are once again amazing and making me feel comfortable in my new place. One Czech, one Brazilian, one Irish Male, and then me in this tiny tiny room.  I enjoy the fact they are a bit more around my age again and actually have jobs . Feels refreshing to be around more mature guys than the average 20 year old party boys that runs these hostels. Life is good at this place, I will be here until I find a place more permanent., or go crazy off thegoon.

Shelly Beach


I walked along the beach the first day I arrived  and came across a small beach located on the right side of Manly. Shelly Beach got its name due to the shells that are on the ground instead of sand like the other beaches. The water was warm and just screaming at me to jump in. There were a few older couples laying down cuddling on the sand, and a dad with his two girls swimming in the water. This place just tickles me with happiness.  I discovered this small path that was leading up into the bushes and I decided to myself Hey! Lets follow this we got nothing better to do! So I followed the path and it took me on a nice walk through the cliffs overlooking Manly and the ocean. My pace went from ohhh,  this is lovely!!! To – Michelleee….walk.walk.walk.WALK!!!! Faster woman FASTER!  I kept hearing strange noises in the bushes and was getting prepared for a dinosaur or unicorn or something weird to pop up at me at any given moment. The view from the top was gorgeous, of course, what else would it be!IMG_0595 IMG_0609  IMG_0618 - Copy IMG_0620 - Copy   IMG_0627  IMG_0642  IMG_0645 - CopyIMG_0624



 A group of male runners ran right by me during my walk through the hills and I was thinking crap! Are they running away from something or just running for fun? This was very important!!!!

I loved when they all ran by, I heard a, ” Danke, Cheeers, and Thank you” simultaneously from 3 of the runners. THAT made me smile. That is exactly what I love about this country. Everyone is just so unique…so just them. There is no particular mold that people are forced to categorize them with. I feel like I finally fit in somewhere. Kooky is good, kooky is allowed. We are all  a little weird right? It just feels so much more  accepted here, instead of  things getting brain washed into your head to be like the Jones down in Orange County. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that much of the population is like that, and trendy etc.  The difference here that “different” is  more accepted because their is so much diversity – that is the normal…

The Corso

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There is so much street food here. Well, not like street food back at home though – no hot dogs or street tacos.  The street food here consists of little tiny shops that let you eat on the go. Kebabs (our Gyros), meat pies, fish and chips, and sushi. I recommend  the fish and chips from Four Fish. Best I have ever had, and I am slowly becoming addicted to fish and chips I have noticed, as I wake up at 6 am thinking about getting a fix. Where is the 800 hotline???? I might need help :/


The Aquarium 


I have been dying to see some animals already! But until I get over the fear of sharks, and drowning, I will play it save and just go pay to see some 🙂 Manly has a small aquarium that was completely over priced (no way, not here!??!)  It was cute, and I saw me some penguins!!! I was able to Facetime my niece and nephew while walking through it and that was the highlight of my week. I am probably the only person in the world who starts crying while looking at sea horses.

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My First Kiss in Australia

After leaving the aquarium, the girl up front suggested I  go to this particular restaurant for some beer tastings and dinner. I told her I was too busy and to shut up. JK of course I went what else was I gonna do??  I went up to the bar and begun bugging the bartender, he in return started giving me samples of beers for me try as I contemplated which I wanted, and to probably help him get through dealing with me. After about ummmmm 15 full size tastings later, I am pretty sure my annoying level was on full blast!!! As I was then officially a bit drunk and didn’t even realize I still needed to order (Tasters man, they will get you!) We chatted for a good two hours, as he kept messing up peoples orders due to this American girl distracting the crap out of him.  He tried explaining me lingo they use like “ta?” Which I still don’t understand. and “heaps” which I still don’t use correctly, so it turned into one big embarrassing time for me, but entertainment for the all the locals. After about 3 hours of chatting it up at the bar, he invited me over to his flat to hang out with him and his flatmates.

I accepted because: 1. He was a sweetheart 2. He was a South African, Italian, English Aussie and I found him ridiculously interesting 3. I HAVE NO FRIENDS 4. He was cute and didnt appear to be a pedophile or Scientologist.  Back at the flat I got my first real taste of Aussie “hangout”.  Everyone was just screwing around, smoking weed (which looked like lettuce? They would die if they ever had the medical weed from California), and I of course just danced around doing robot moves.

It felt just like screwing around back at home with my friends, except with cute accents and bad weed. 

As it was getting late and I knew it was getting to late to head back to the hostel, I told everyone goodbye, for I had a date with the horrible cardboard bunk-bed waiting for me.  As I went to leave and give my friend a hug, he instead, without me even thinking about it, went in for a kiss. Then he whispered, ” Now, now you have your very first Australian kiss”, he smiled at me then walked away.  Smooth this guy was smoooth!! I walked back to the hostel a little smitten with a smile on my face,  and very happy that people I do not know keep leading me to unexpected places and new adventures.

I am Home

Now that I officially declared Manly my new home, I am currently on the hunt for a room to rent out and a job to pay my bills.   I’m excited.   I know what I want, now its time to find it. I love when pieces of the puzzles start coming together. And  Look!!!! They even tell you where to look in Manly!!! I have yet to get hit by a car since I got here. If that doesn’t say this place is meant to be for Hot Mess, then I do not know what does!!


 Click here to view  my full Australian photo album 

<3 Hot Mess


  1. Sure is like a little piece of heaven enjoy your adventure!

  2. I’m not surprised you’re in love with Manly. I had the good fortune to live there when I first arrived in Australia 50 years ago. Great post and beautiful photography.

  3. Beautiful images and story, quiet a page turner. Got me looking for that number as well! Good to hear that you are enjoying yourself here.

  4. Manly is the best! You’ve got some awesome photos. Was it Four Pines that you went to for beer?

    1. I don’t remember what it was called!! Too much beer!! Haha and thank you 🙂

  5. So happy you’re getting settled sounds like a lovely place to be…and um, woot woooot Australian men! Go you!! And I agree, your photos are incredible! I want to hop a plane like, now. 🙂

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