Jason didn't really like Manly Beach. The beach filled up with youngsters waking up from a night out and chatting loudly enough next to us that we were having our own adjacent conversation based off of theirs. He said that no one on his beach at home would ever sit so close to one another, invading your personal sunbathing space. This wasn't even technically summer yet.
It was actually the first place where I actually felt this is "Australian"...from what you've seen on TV (more than Bondi) and what you think of when you think of Australia. The pedestrian esplanade was filled with beachy bars, restaurants and surf shops. Everyone was walking around in swimmers with towels and thongs (flip flops. Apparently New Zealanders call them jangles. That sounds way too like jeggings for me). Lots of young people with sun-bleached hair and surfers bravely collapsing into the waves and getting back up again.
If you're in Sydney, definitely take the ferry to and from Manly, preferably at dusk :)