(Image: Pixabay/Patty Jansen)

A local tells me the old Manly tourism slogan was "Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care". And it's true, Manly's broad, sun-beaten streets, smelling of chip fat, sea air and that sweet coconut tang of expensive sun cream feels like a different universe to Sydney and, it turns out, the rest of Warringah.

The idyll makes talking about politics feel faintly absurd. The young man at the Hotel Steyne is friendly and wants to help, but he hasn't really thought about the election, except to say that Steggall is the "only candidate" apart from Abbott to cut through. He's an engineer in his late 20s who could've worked in any number of places, but chose Manly for the surfing.