WHY Q STATION IS THE COOLEST PLACE FOR YOUR NEXT SYDNEY SCHOOL EXCURSION!
A significant part of Australia’s history, Q Station provides the perfect outdoor classroom where students can learn about First Contacts, Australia’s waves of migration, race, gender and class segregation, and important medical and technological advances through the 19th and 20th century.
Located on a 30-hectare site on the North Head of Manly, Q Station is only a short ferry ride from Sydney CBD and boasts original buildings constructed between the 1870s and 1920s. With a range of educational programs across all stages and aligned to the NSW and Australian National Curriculum, Q Station is a must do for your next Sydney school excursion.
Students can visit the replica cabins of the RMS Niagara to give them a sense of what sea travel was like 100 years ago, study the sandstone inscriptions and apply their skills of historical enquiry to consider what information can be gleaned from this source or enhance their learning experience by analysing one of our case studies- Immigration Detention or Operation Babylift.
Students will visit key locations within the text and the program is designed to challenge them to think about society’s changes from Tad’s time to now, by considering topics of migration, class, race and identity.
School excursions at Q Station allow students of all ages from primary to tertiary, to experience an important part of Australia’s history through themes of migration, medical advancements, class, gender, and race segregation and technological advancements through 19th and 20th century. With lots of hands on experiences students can explore a range of primary and secondary sources, within natural and manmade environments. So next time you’re planning a Sydney school excursion make sure to add Q Station to your itinerary.
MOTHER'S DAY: A GUIDE TO THE PERFECT DAY OUT
Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show the most special lady in your life how much you appreciate and care about her. Whether it be the mother of your children, your own mum, mother in law (or all 3!), forget the flowers and chocolate this year and instead gift her the most perfect day out in Sydney that she will cherish and appreciate forever at Q Station, located at scenic North Head, Manly, on the edge of Sydney Harbour.
The recipe to creating a perfect day out is all the planning, so be sure to do your homework to ensure what you are putting together is something that the special ladies in your life will enjoy and appreciate.
To help you show the special mothers in your life how much you care, we have created a guide to the most perfect Mother’s Day out that you can take credit for!
CRUISE FROM SYDNEY HARBOUR
Leave the car at home and enjoy a scenic 20-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay direct to the Q Station wharf. The Ferry ride on the Manly Fast Ferry operates 7 days a week and the 20 minute journey is long enough to freshen you up as you breathe in the fresh air and take in the scenic backdrop of Sydney’s beautiful harbour . The ferry will drop you right off on our door step just like our passengers of the past would have and it is an enjoyable and relaxing way to begin your Q Station experience.
If you are planning a memorable Mother’s Day weekend in Sydney, the Manly Fast Ferry 48 hour hop on-hop off pass with its five different ferry services included in one pass is a fun and affordable way to explore the Sydney attractions. Why not enjoy the first day of your Mother’s Day weekend visiting the popular Sydney Harbour locations like; Manly, Darling Harbour, Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Circular Quay, Rose Bay, Pyrmont Bay and Milsons Point before arriving at Q Station, enjoying a sleep in on Mother’s Day before delighting Mum with the rest of her Mother’s Day experience.
EXPLORE A LITTLE HISTORY TOGETHER
While a visit to Q Station is an incredible experience for its impressive Sydney Harbour National Park location with varied flora and fauna, wildlife and endangered species like the eastern long-nosed bandicoots and little penguins, the former Quarantine Station also comes with an incredible 60,000 year history of the Aboriginal people and of the compelling historic stories of survival during the early migration and settlement; before it was transformed from the often harsh reality of a quarantine station to what we see today in the beautiful and peaceful location and experiences that the modern day Q Station has to offer.
When you arrive at Q Station Wharf, be sure to pop in to our Visitor Centre, located on the wharf adjacent to Quarantine Beach. Formerly the luggage storage facility of Sydney’s former Quarantine Station, the Q Station Visitor Centre also operates as a free entry museum featuring stories and heritage artefacts from ships, quarantine staff, medical advances, natural disasters and wildlife. A walk through this little museum is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the history of the old Quarantine Station,see memorabilia from the past and to pick up a map for a little exploring during the day.
Once you have explored the museum, either head out on an adventure of your own or treat mum to a Wharf Wanderer history tour which you can book online in advance or book on the day at the Visitor Centre. The Wharf Wander Tour is the perfect way to understand the arrival and daily operation of residents at the Quarantine Station. The walking history tour runs for 45 minutes, exploring the heritage buildings and discover the stories of migrants through the 19th and 20th centuries. We recommend that you arrive 15 minutes for before the start of the tour and wear comfy walking shoes!
Mother’s Day Wharf Wander Tour Discount: On Mother’s Day you can experience the Wharf Wander Tour at either 11am or 3:30pm (or 2pm if purchasing the High Tea package) at a discounted rate of $15 per adult and $10 per child/concession when purchased with the Mother’s Day Long Lunch or Mother’s Day High Tea.
SPOIL MUM WITH A MEAL
MOTHER’S DAY LONG LUNCH
Spoil Mum with a leisurely and exquisite Sunday Long Lunch in Sydney. Here at Q Station’s Boilerhouse Restaurant & Bar, feast on a delicious ten plate share menu designed by our Executive Chef utilising the freshest of Australian produce with mouth-watering menu inclusions such as the grass-fed lam rump, South Australian mussels with Cambodian curry sauce and a to die for caramelized pineapple pavlova or white chocolate parfait for dessert.
Housed in the original boiler house building from the days of the Sydney’s former Quarantine Station and refurbished into a uniquely styled restaurant, at the Boilerhouse you’ll show mum how much you appreciate her as you enjoy the long lunch meal while overlooking one of the most magnificent views of Sydney for only $90.00 per adult and $35 per child aged 12 years old or under. All the mums on the day will also receive a glass of sparkling wine on arrival.
MOTHER’S DAY HIGH TEA
If you a looking for something a little lighter, treat the mums to High Tea in the Hospital Precinct of Sydney’s Former Quarantine with the stunning views and backdrop of Sydney Harbour. For only $70 per adult and $35 per child (aged 12 years old or under), here the whole family can enjoy a substantial high tea of savouries, sweets, continuous tea and coffee plus a glass of sparkling on arrival for all the mums. A cash bar will also be available.
Bookings are essential for both popular events.
TAKE A SCENIC COASTAL WALK
A scenic, easy and enjoyable coastal walk offers the perfect opportunity to walk off an incredible lunch. The Fairfax walk on North Head takes between 30 – 60 minutes to complete, depending on how leisurely you walk, and the 1 kilometre loop ideal for all fitness levels. The path is paved, well maintained and it is a Sydney Harbour National park wheelchair accessible walk, perfect for all levels of fitness.
The walk has exceptional views and the track starts at the end of the North Head Scenic Drive and then loops around the top of North Head. The circuit has three lookout points offering postcard views over the ocean or Sydney Harbour to the CBD which would create a picturesque backdrop for a Mother’s Day family photo to remember! It’s an exceptional walk for keen wildlife watchers and you can even spot sea life in the ocean so be sure to pack your binoculars!
RELAX ON QUARANTINE BEACH
Be sure to experience the unspoilt natural beauty that Quarantine Beach has to offer while you’re visiting North Head. Only 200m long and facing northwest into Little Manly, , the serene and peaceful Quarantine Beach offers a private and sheltered location hemmed in by rocks and national park with silvery sand and clear, calm water.
Bring your snorkels too! So many gorgeous sea creatures have made quarantine beach and wharf their home. If you are brave enough to face the crisp May ocean, snorkels, kayaks and stand up paddleboards are available for hire from Q Station’s Visitor Centre.
Bring a picnic blanket and relax with the family on the beach making the most of your day together. Watch the kids build sandcastles, throw a frisbee, dip your toes in the water (or take an exhilarating swim in the ocean!) and simply allow your Mum to enjoy some quality relaxing time with the family in a beautiful setting.
MAKE IT A MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND
Looking to top the perfect Mother’s Day out experience? If you are wanting to make the most of your visit to Q Station and transform the perfect Mother’s Day out into the perfect Mother’s Day weekend, an overnight stay in our luxurious and historic Q Station accommodation will give your special ladies a weekend away that they will always remember.
Add a little pampering to their weekend away, gifting them with manicure and/pedicure at Ruby Nails & Waxing salon in Manly, and if you are wanting to step up the experience send them there in style via a Manly Stretch Limo Hire with Beachwheels Automotive.
Make the celebration even more special and memorable as you watch the sunset over the Darling Harbour before heading out to dinner, or as darkness descends over the historic Q Station’s buildings and burial grounds (and if you dare), treat the family to a thrilling interactive Sydney Ghost tour on the Q Station grounds - reputed to be one of Australia’s most haunted sites – listening to stories and if you are lucky experience a paranormal encounter or two.
KICK BACK AND RELAX
After such a perfect day out (and all the planning involved), wind down and relax enjoying a coffee at our Visitor Centre Café as you await your ferry ride home and begin thinking about how you are possibly going to top this experience next year!
SCHOOL HOLIDAY IDEAS (72 HOUR ITINERARY)
The Easter School Holidays are upon us again and if you are like many parents, you may be thinking of fun and unique ways to keep the kids occupied, engaged, happy (and as far away from their iPads as possible) with Easter school holiday activities in Sydney. Life can become so busy during the school terms with sport and extracurricular activities. The holidays are about spending quality time with your children, but that is not always achievable for parents on a full time work schedule with kids committed to sports and music programs. This means it isn’t always possible to take long breaks away together as a family, so if you can get getaway for a few days and spend some fun time together that would be a bonus, right?
So, if you are looking for a family holiday filled with a unique historical difference, Q Station, located at North Head on the shores of Sydney Harbour, is the ideal base for your Sydney holiday and with our “Egg-Stra special” Q Station Easter accommodation offer – there is even more reason to book an extended stay!
Hidden amongst native Australian bush land within Sydney Harbour National Park, with stunning views overlooking Sydney Harbour, here you are only a short ferry ride away from all the action and school holiday activities in Sydney, in the heart of the city, yet far enough away to feel like a relaxing retreat.
To take the stress out of the school holidays we have created a 72 hour itinerary for you and the kids to explore Sydney’s ‘backyard’ and learn a lot about our history and culture along the way.
7:00am: Enjoy a hearty breakfast
Kick off day 1 of your Sydney school holiday adventure by fueling your bodies with a hearty early morning breakfast at Q Station’s Views Restaurant overlooking the picturesque views of the Sydney Harbour you’ll be ready for a jam-packed day!
The best part about staying at North Head within Sydney Harbour National Park is that you’re surrounded by bushwalks, native wildlife, tours, fun activities for all ages, hidden beaches and delicious restaurant options as well as opportunities for kayaks, snorkeling or ferry transport. Stock up your backpacks with water and snacks for the day and you can set off straight from the hotel to explore. Be extra prepared and download Q Station’s map to find your way around.
We recommend that you arrive the night before to get a good night’s sleep (guaranteed with the comfy beds in the historic and unique Q Station accommodation), so you have plenty of energy to greet the day.
8:30am: Fairfax Walk
The Fairfax walk offers an easy and enjoyable 1 kilometre loop which the entire family can enjoy. The path along one of Sydney’s most scenic walks is ideal for children and as the path is paved, offering a smooth partially wheelchair accessible track in Sydney. The Fairfax track begins at the end of the North Head Scenic Drive and loops around the top of North Head featuring breath-taking views of the ocean, Sydney Harbour and Sydney CBD. Depending on whether you are looking for a more leisurely stroll or get the heart rate going, it will take approximately 30 – 60 minutes to complete. It’s an exceptional walk for keen whale watchers during the June-July and August-October migration seasons so bring your binoculars!
If you have time and energy to burn after completing the walk you can decide to continue on through the North Head Sanctuary and from here you can wind your way back down to Manly to join the Manly Scenic Walkway. Once you’re in Manly, treat the family with a coffee or ice cream break!
10:00am: Explore Q Station Visitor Centre
After returning from your rejuvenating morning walk, head to the Q Station Visitor Centre and immerse yourself into the history and heritage of the Q Station. The Visitor Centre is located on the wharf adjacent to Quarantine Beach, within what was the luggage storage facility of Sydney’s former Quarantine Station which also functions as a museum with significant features being preserved. The centre offers free admission so pick up a takeaway coffee at the Visitor Centre Café and explore the museum yourself until the Wharf Wanderer history tour begins.
11:00am: Wharf Wander History Tour
The Wharf Wander Tour is an interactive opportunity to understand the arrival and daily operation of passengers and staff at the former Quarantine Station. The tour runs for 45 minutes and explores heritage buildings to discover the stories of migrants through the 19th and 20th centuries. We recommend that you arrive 15 minutes for before the start of the tour and make certain you are still wearing comfy walking shoes!
If you are here on a weekend you may want to take part in the more in-depth Quarantine Station Story Tour where you will really find out what it was like to be quarantined!
Book a tour online or in person at the Visitor Information Centre.
12:00pm: Enjoy a Light Lunch
Enjoy a light lunch from the selection of sandwiches, pies and snacks at the Visitor Centre Café and spend more time immersing yourself in the history and heritage we have to offer at Q Station.
1:30pm: Spend the afternoon at Quarantine beach
After a busy and informative morning, head back to your room and change for some family time at Quarantine Beach.. The beach is 200m long, faces northwest and is in a quiet and sheltered location hemmed in by rocks with silvery sand and clear, calm water. Relax on the beach, build sandcastles or throw a frisbee with the kids and dip your toes in the water if you are game!
If you are keen to head out on the water, hire out some single or double kayaks and paddle boards at Q Station and paddle out on the calm water to Collins Beach and back before heading back to the room to get ready for an early dinner.
5:00pm: Early Dinner at the Engine Room Bar
Enjoy an early relaxed dinner at the Engine Room Bar which overlooks the beautiful Quarantine Beach. The tasty pizza or burger menu will be sure to warm your belly before getting the chills on a ghost tour!
Alternatively, if your children are a little older (15+) and are true Sydney foodies, book in a Ghosty Dine experience and enjoy an eight plate share menu at the Boilerhouse Restaurant & Bar at 6pm before joining the Ghostly Encounters tour at 8pm.
6.30pm: Get prepared to be Scared!
Reputed to be one of Australia’s most haunted sites, Sydney ghost tours have operated at the Q Station since the early 1990’s. Where you consider yourself believers or non-believers this is a great way to bring the whole family together as you take part in the Ghost Trackers Ghost Tour for a spooky night traversing the well-worn paths around and through the buildings of the former Quarantine Station as you listen to ghost stories and do a little ghost hunting! Running for 2.5hours the tour is recommended for children 8 years and over and their accompanying adults.
09:00am: Snorkeling at Shelly Beach
After a leisurely breakfast at the Views Restaurant, pack your bag with swimmers and a towel, lace up the walking shoes and head to the tour desk to hire a snorkel and flippers for a walk out to the gorgeous Shelley Beach for the morning – approximately a 35-40 minute trail walk from the hotel (if your feet are a little tired from yesterday, it’s only a short drive from the hotel).
Popular with scuba divers and snorkelers alike, Shelley Beach is a protected marine reserve which lies adjacent to North Head. With a maximum depth of 12 metres it is home to a large variety of marine life which can be viewed in the relatively shallow water.
1:00pm: Enjoy Lunch at The Boat House Restaurant (Shelly Beach)
Set right on the beach The Boat House Shelly Beach is an idyllic spot to enjoy an incredible seafood lunch after all that snorkeling. If you are a lover of seafood delish menu selections like the Kingfish Carpaccio, Cold Seafood Platter or a simple light lunch of a bucket of tiger prawns and sourdough washed down will an icy cold bear or glass of wine are exquisite.
3:00pm: Explore North Head Sanctuary
Dry off and head along down the walking track to North Head Sanctuary for a well-deserved refreshment at Bella Vista Café, located inside the heritage listed North Fort Building at North Head Sanctuary.. Bella Vista overlooks incredible views of Sydney Harbour and if you enjoy Italian food, you may decide instead to leave Shelly Beach a little early and enjoy a lunch at Bella Vista Café with the delicious flavours of homemade traditional and modern Italian cuisine.
Along the 1.5 – 2 hour North Head Sanctuary Loop which passes by former School of Artillery buildings, you will spot a diverse range of birdlife and flowering plants as well asmilitary remains and incredible views of the city and harbour.
6:00pm: Dinner at the Boilerhouse
Enjoy fresh modern Australian cuisine at the Boilerhouse Restaurant & Bar. Housed in the original boiler house building from the days of the Sydney’s former Quarantine Station and refurbished into a uniquely styled restaurant, the Boilerhouse has an incredible atmosphere of natural surroundings and you might just spot some hungry water dragons looking for leftovers!
8:00pm: Adults Only – Extreme Ghost Tour
Leave the kids with a babysitter and have a quick drink in Engine Room Bar for courage before heading back to the Visitor Centre to take part in the Extreme Ghost Tour. Not for the faint hearted (or for people under the age of 18 years) this tour offers a personal emersion into the spiritual energy of the Quarantine Station site and takes a unique path through stories of the darker side of the quarantine as told by psychics and mediums.
09:00am: Experience Sailing with the family
After a leisurely breakfast at the Views Restaurant, take a 10-15 minute drive to the Manly Yacht Club and meet with the team from Champagne Sailing who will take you and the entire family on a fun and enjoyable private charter catamaran sailing experience on the Sydney Harbour. Their professional skippers can literally show you the ropes, so you can help sail the yacht around the harbour – or you can just sit back, relax and take in the view.
Champagne Sailing have catamarans to suit groups from 2 up to 40 guests and you can either choose to enjoy lunch on the boat or head into one of the many Manly restaurants for a delicious meal. For more information and bookings, contact the Champagne Sailing team directly.
1:00pm: Enjoy a leisurely lunch in Manly
After all that fresh air you will surely have worked up an appetite and if the family enjoys seafood, you can enjoy the freshest Australian seafood in Sydney at Garfish Restaurant and Bar Manly. Idyllically located on the harbour side of Manly with incredible views of the East Esplanade Park, affectionately known as ‘The Office’ by Manly locals. At Garfish you can share delicious entrees like the hiramasa kingfish sashimi, salt and pepper squid, grilled scallops and pork belly, as well as hearty main meals such as Moreton bay bugs, sri lankan fish & king prawn curry (divine!) or steamed kinkawooka black mussels. If seafood isn’t your thing (really?!) there are plenty of mouthwatering vegetarian, meat and poultry dishes to choose from.
Looking for something a little more low key yet super tasty? Beaches Pizza Bar boasts the best pizza in Manly with a large range of pizzas on their Beaches pizza menu or you can give you can satisfy those taste buds with some delicious Manly Mexican fare at Mex & Co Manly.
3:00pm: Relax and Unwind on Manly Bach
After a big day of sailing spending a few hours relaxing on Manly Beach with the family is a great way to wind down the day. Go for a stroll along the beach, take a dip in the ocean or if the kids have energy to spare (and let’s face it, they usually do!) why not enroll them in a Manly learn to surf program. Manly is renown for its surf culture so it’s the perfect spot to give surfing a go for the first time or refine those surfing skills. Manly Surf School has experienced instructors who will make this a fun and safe learn to surf experience – and one that the big (adult) kids will enjoy too!
6:00pm: Dinner at the Engine Room Bar
After a jam packed 3 days we think you can be certain of a relaxed and quiet dinner with the kids at the Engine Room Bar followed by an early bedtime where the groans of ‘I’m bored’ will be replaced by ‘I’m tired’ and the good news is you won’t have to hear it for long before they crash out leaving mum and dad time to enjoy what’s left of the last night and think about the incredible time away you’ve spent together.
There’s still so much more to experience without needing to roam too far from the hotel and this brochure gives you even more insight on the tracks and tours. They are even more things to see and experience around Manly and the heart of Sydney too so if you don’t have time this trip we are fairly certain you will be back to explore and stay with us again at Q Station.
THE BEAUTY OF EDUCATION AT Q STATION
A Reflection by julie regalado
I have been here for nearly eleven years and what an amazing experience it has been! As a lifelong learner and educator, this exceptional site has pushed me to abandon any pretence of ‘knowing it all’ or ever ‘being the expert’- as the richness and complexity of it is always more than any one person can encompass.
This site of Q Station reveals the 60,000 year history of the Aboriginal people who have known this place, North Head, as a rocky out crop on the banks of a river when the land extended much further out into what is now the Tasman Sea. Clues of this culture now known to be the oldest continuing culture in the world and one to have survived and adapted to an ice age and all that came after that, are here when we pay attention.
This place reminds us of first contacts, early migration and settlement, of infectious disease, death and survival. It tells of ships’ voyages and the hopes and dreams of those on the ships. It reminds us of the doctors and nurses who worked and died here, of families that lived here, immigrants detained here, and the Vietnamese orphans brought here at the fall of Saigon. And, then, of course, there’s the ghosts!
When the penguins make their way into the harbour at fire light, when the white cockatoos forage on the cones from the massive Hoop Pine, when that big crow sits in the tree outside the Visitor Centre and squawks loudly as I try to talk with a school excursion group, when the black cockatoos cry out in those plaintive tones, the blue tongue lizards sun on the pathway, and the echidnas wander the grassy area on the hill, you realise that there is more here than any one of us can ever fully know.
So, my tactic as a learner and educator has been to try to stay humble and curious and to look at how the Teaching & Learning team can facilitate an experience that is about discovery and meaning-making. On the Education Programs you will hear a few dates and lots of stories, go into heritage buildings, play in the sand, get your hands on artefacts, and the Education guides will ask a lot of questions. And while the programs are aligned with the NSW and Australian curriculum, our whole purpose, really, is to facilitate a meaningful experience that connects us with this place and its many stories.
In a recent article in Education HQ Gordon Cairns comments on what he observes of himself and his colleagues as mimicking badly behaved students in Professional Development (PD) situations. At Q Station, while we may occasionally get cold reactions or suspicious eyebrows at the beginning of a school’s visit or teacher PD workshop, we very rarely see that by the end of it. Cairns suggests that teachers put the mobile phones away and use such experiences to understand what is meaningful for any age learner, and how to foster relevant learning situations. This is what the Teaching & Learning team at Q Station do every day –as our teaching environment is always changing and there is always more to learn.
I have often thought that with so many educational services moving to online delivery, places like Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park will become even more crucial in how we, humans, learn to make sense of how we live on this planet.
I feel privileged and honoured to have worked at Q Station and to have gotten this opportunity to know this exceptional site. It is the banksias & tea trees, the flannel flowers, sandstone outcroppings, the sparkling harbour, and the sunshine wattle that have taught me about my adopted country of Australia and what it means for me to be Australian. For this, I will be forever grateful!
If you would like to bring your class to Q Station for a school excursion, contact 02 9466 1566 or H8773-CR3@accor.com or alternatively fill out the Education Program enquiry form here.
NSW TOURISM AWARDS 2018
Outstanding tourism businesses from across New South Wales were honoured last week as the winners of the 2018 NSW Tourism Awards were announced at the Big Top Luna Park, Sydney.
We are so proud of all our staff members at Q Station for working together to continually improve our site and services. We came away with a SILVER in the Unique Accommodation category!
Managed by the Tourism Industry division of the NSW Business Chamber, the state’s peak business organisation, and proudly supported by the NSW Government, the NSW Tourism Awards celebrate and acknowledge tourism excellence in NSW.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall congratulated the winners and said they exemplify the high standard and diverse range of tourism experiences on offer in NSW. “Tourism is big business and it’s a vital industry to our State’s economy so to be recognised at the NSW Tourism Awards is an outstanding achievement and I thank all of the winners for their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to offering the very best tourism and events experiences,” Mr Marshall said
INVESTIGATE INFECTIOUS DISEASE AT Q STATION
Join MED Festival Sydney for a day of talks, tours and short films at our unique Q Station. Investigate the history of infectious disease in Sydney and learn how medical science is keeping us one sneeze away from the next pandemic.
For over 150 years the Quarantine Station was for many, the beginning of a new life in Australia after making the arduous & lengthy journey from their homelands.
Ships suspected of harbouring people infected with contagious disease such as Spanish Influenza, Smallpox or Bubonic Plague were quarantined here so that these deadly diseases would not reach the general population in Sydney.
On Sunday 25th November join us for a program of events looking at the history of quarantine and disease.
25 November 2018 from 10am - 4pm.
For all program details - More Info Here.
Q STATION NAMED FINALIST'S IN 2018 NSW TOURISM AWARDS
We are very excited and super proud to announce that Q Station are finalist's in this year's NSW Tourism Awards!
Now in its 29th year, the NSW Tourism Awards acknowledge and celebrate tourism excellence. This program rewards businesses that demonstrate significant achievement throughout the year.
Q Station has been announced as finalist's across two categories:
1. Cultural Tourism: this category recognises tourism operations that foster a greater understanding and appreciation of authentic culture, history, heritage and/or the arts.
2. Unique Accommodation: this category is open to properties developed around unconventional accommodation infrastructure. The focus of this award is on the uniqueness of the tourism experience.
In 2018, there were 144 entrants across 26 categories recognising excellence from a range of tourism areas such as Tourist Attractions, Festival and Events, Ecotourism, Destination Marketing, Accommodation, Tourism Education and Training. Of those entrants, there are 125 finalists.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon Adam Marshall MP congratulated the finalists and said the awards are a wonderful platform to recognise the year’s achievements in NSW tourism. “Our tourism industry is at the forefront when it comes to delivering quality products and experiences and I congratulate the 2018 NSW Tourism Awards finalists for contributing to our position as Australia’s premier State for tourism and events.”
Winners will be announced at an awards evening on 22nd November 2018.
THINGS TO DO IN SYDNEY ... OUR 3 DAY ITINERARY
If you are looking for places to visit in and around Sydney during the winter, there is no better place to entertain couples or the entire family than around Q Station. We offer the perfect central place to base yourself in, far enough away from the city to relax, unwind and experience the perfect blend of history and nature – yet only a short ferry ride away from all the action, hustle and vibe of the Sydney Harbour and city sights.
If you are looking for a short getaway in a site steeped in history and nature you will enjoy our 72 hour itinerary where you can explore what’s on offer in the Sydney Harbour National Park which is also our incredible back yard. There is so much to do around Q Station and Sydney so we have created a 3 day itinerary - the perfect long weekend getaway:
7:30am Take a morning stroll followed by breakfast in Views Restaurant
Put on your warm walking gear and lace up your boots and enjoy the crisp air as you take in the incredible views on the Fairfax walk, it’s easy and enjoyable and the 1 kilometre loop will be enough to fire up your appetite so you can really enjoy your breakfast at Views Restaurant overlooking the picturesque sights of Sydney Harbour.
10:00am Take the Eco Hopper to Taronga Zoo!
Time to spend some time quality family time exploring the famous Taronga Zoo. The My Fast Ferry Hop On, Hop Off will transport you to and from Q Station throughout the day - check their timetable here. However we suggest you arrive early and enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate at the Visitor Centre Café before you head out on your 30-minute ride out over the water to the Zoo. HINT: Purchase the Taronga Zoo Combo Pass which offers 24 hour access to the Eco hopper which will come in handy tonight!
11:00am Explore Taronga Zoo
You will arrive in time to make it to the first Seal Show of the day which starts at 11am. Here you will learn more about seals and their marine environment. You will get to meet an Australian Sea-Lion and a New Zealand Fur-Seal as you watch these graceful creatures show off their natural abilities including catching fish, climbing and diving, with a whole lot more surprises in store.
Take your time as you explore the zoo making certain to highlight your copy of the Daily Park Timetable in advance so that you can learn more about the animals at the different hosted educational talks which are all included in the entry price. The Gorilla feed, Giraffe and ANZ Asian Elephant Keeper talks are great ones to highlight.
If you are looking for an extra special experience for the kids, why not book them in for an encounter with a koala, penguin, tortoise, or owl (the Giraffe Encounter will be back on offer in August) or try the ‘Keeper for a day’ experience which is bound to be a highlight!
3:30pm Head back to Q Station
Time to start winding up your day at the zoo and head back to the ferry terminal to take the My Fast Ferry back to the Q Station. The ferry departs at 3:53pm so make sure you are there early to make your ride back to the hotel, so you can quickly freshen up for tonight.
6:00pm Catch the Eco Hopper to Circular Quay
Take advantage of your 48 Hour Hop On, Hop Off ferry pass and take the My Fast Ferry from Manly Wharf 2 to Circular Quay. Watch the sunset as you enjoy the trip into the city, make sure you plan on a taxi back to Q Station tonight to make the most of your night in the city.
7:00pm Dinner at The Dining Room, The Rocks
Tonight, you can take in the incredible views of the lights over Sydney Harbour while enjoying an amazing meal at Bennelong Restaurant, a short 5-minute walk from the circular quay wharf and located within the famous Sydney Opera House. This venue is stunning during the day, but more so by night.
Tonight, it is time to spoil yourself with a menu designed by Executive Chef Peter Gilmore whose cuisine has won a number of Australian and International Awards. You will be spoilt for choice with mouth-watering menu choices like twice cooked goats curd soufflé, pure bred roast wagyu cipollini & buckwheat pudding and wild Cape York barramundi coupled with one of the best wine lists in Sydney.
9:00am Breakfast at The Pantry, Manly
You’ve earned a sleep in and no doubt your tummy is grumbling, so a great way to fill it is enjoying breakfast at The Pantry located right on the waterfront in Manly a short 7-minute drive from Q Station. Here you can enjoy your fill of buttermilk pancakes with candied walnuts, poached eggs with smashed avocado and feta or go all out with the breakfast board which offers a selection of San Daniele prosciutto, truffled salami with chargrilled capsicum and almond sauce (drooling…), marinated olives, toasted sour dough and poached eggs.
10:30am Experience a little culture at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum
Continue the relaxed tone of the day and enjoy the rest of your morning wandering the vibrant and creative cultural hub of the Northern Beaches at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. First opened in 1930 as NSW’s first metropolitan-based public regional gallery, here you can view a fine collection of early modern paintings by artists such an Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, one of the finest collections of studio ceramics in Australia and changing art and museum exhibitions. Also on offer is a stimulating program of art workshops for both kids and adults, artists talks, performances and special events – you can view the entire program in the July-Dec 2018 Manly Art Gallery & Museum Calendar.
2:00pm Manly Spirits - Guided Tour
Our friends at Manly Spirits are a mere 15 minute drive from Q Station, in Brookvale. These guys provide 1.5 hour tours of their distillery and it is a fantastic way to learn the craft and processes of distillation. Go behind the scenes, with each tour providing an insight to their production processes, fermentation tanks, barrel storage and bottling. The end of the tour concludes with an in-depth tasting experience of three of their core expressions to sit, sip and compare. Well worth it at only $25.00 per person!
3:00pm Hire a bike and take a self-guided tour of Manly
Hire a bike and helmet from Manly Bike tours and set off on a self-guided tour. There are 4 recommended rides to choose from and the good news is that you don’t have to be an athlete or a super experienced rider as the it caters for all levels of ability and you can take it at your own pace.
You can opt for a leisurely bike ride on a beach for an hour, a scenic 2.5-hour tour of the Sydney Harbour National Park – home to our very own Q Station - or for the more adventurous, you can take on the mountain bike Manly Dam tour or simply create your own. Manly has more than 10 beaches in the area, in addition to Sydney Harbour’s largest National Park offering incredible views of the coastline and a more unique way to explore Sydney’s back yard.
When you finish your ride, head back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to dinner.
7:00pm Experience Manly’s Middle Eastern Cuisine
Tonight, you are heading back to Manly to enjoy the Middle East flavours of Manly at Maestro & Co, a Middle Eastern tapas restaurant and bar offering great food, great wine and a fantastic atmosphere. Enjoy a selection of tapas to share, choosing from duck maryland, a warm roasted cauliflower salad, grilled octopus, sumac fried calamari, mussels, Lebanese chat potatoes served with saffron mayo, grilled haloumi – YUM! – and so much more. If you are looking for a main the free-range grass-fed lamb shoulder, slowly simmered in honey, ginger and aromatic spices is sure to please – but be sure to leave room for dessert – the cinnamon & hazelnut chocolate tart is delish! Check out the menu HERE.
5:45am Take a behind the scenes tour of the Sydney Fish Market
It’s an early morning start for you this morning as you head into the Sydney Fish Market for a behind the scenes tour. Teeming with tourists the fish market is a popular and lively attraction and one of the Sydney points of interest. The tour starts at 6:45am sharp so it’s best to arrive by 6:30am. This morning you will learn about the history of the Sydney Fish market, learn where your seafood comes from and what the Australian seafood industry does to ensure your seafood is sustainable. You will tour the auction floor, viewing over 100 species, witness oyster shucking and find out more about sashimi.
Tours are held every weekend (excludes week day and special holiday periods) and is suitable for ages 10+. We suggest taking a taxi from Q Station as parking can be expensive, however if you are keen to drive the parking entry is via Bank Street and you can find more information regarding getting to the Sydney Fish Market HERE.
8:30am Breakfast at Ministry of Coffee
You’ve earned your coffee this morning and Ministry of Coffee offers one of the best brews in Sydney at its Pyrmont café. They roast and blend their coffee beans onsite to ensure a quality coffee experience. They also offer an enticing breakfast menu using locally sourced and organic ingredients to create delish menu items like the smoked salmon open omelet, grilled corn fritters, breakfast bruschetta and a melt in your mouth banana bread with ricotta and honey.
9:30am Talk a walk along Pyrmont Bridge
After breakfast it’s time to walk off breakfast with a walk along the pedestrian Pyrmont Bridge to Darling Harbour, it’s a picturesque 15minute walk from the café to the other side of the famous swing bridge across Cockle Bay. The bridge connects both sides of Sydney Harbour and offers incredible views and at the end you can either choose to take the stairs or the escalator.
While you are here you can pop into the Sydney Aquarium to explore the stunning marine life or experience the lifelike wax models at Madame Tussauds.
From here you can continue your walk along Sydney Harbour and enjoy the rest of your morning at your own pace, taking in the views until you arrive at the impressive stone steps leading to the famous Sydney Opera House, soaking up the impressive site and surrounds, offering a different perspective during the day.
12:00pm Enjoy a light lunch the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café
You had an early start so it’s perfectly acceptable that another coffee or perhaps a delicious mocha is on the cards after your morning’s adventures at the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café. Enjoy a Belgian sandwich with a variety of fillings and be sure to ask for some of their famous chocolates and cakes to enjoy for an afternoon energy boost later today.
1:30pm Take in the views from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
A leisurely 15 – 20 minute walk along the foreshore from the restaurant and you will find Mrs Macquarie’s Chair which offers one of the most beautiful places in Sydney to visit and one of the best photo vantage spots of the harbour vista taking in the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The historic chair was hand carved out of a rock overhang by convicts in 1810, which commemorates Elizabeth, the wife of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie who was Governor of NSW from 1810-1821. His wife, Elizabeth, was known to visit the area and sit enjoying the panoramic views of the Harbour.
The chair is part of the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney and you take a walk back through the gardens on your way back to Darling Harbour to catch the Eco Hopper back to the hotel.
3:10 pm Take the Eco Hopper back to Q Station for an afternoon siesta
Arrive at Darling Harbour to take the Ferry back to Q Station. This is a great time to enjoy those tasty Belgian Guylian chocolate treats you took away with you from the café as you enjoy your journey back to the hotel. When you arrive take a siesta on the beach until it’s time to freshen up for dinner.
6pm Early Dinner
It’s been a big day so an early dinner at the Boilerhouse Restaurant & Bar. Our Executive Chef James Green has recently introduced an amazing share plate menu. Choose from dishes such as Cone Bay Barramundi and Scallop Ceviche - they are simply delicious and perfect to share with a group. The restaurant has stunning views of Sydney Harbour and is cosy inside during the winter months. Enjoy a cocktail and reflect on what has been an amazing Sydney adventure!
We are very proud to announce that Q Station is now officially a plastic straw-free hotel! #switchthestraw
Check out our amazing whale watching package right here!
If you are looking for an incredible nature experience, there is nothing more special than spotting majestic whales along the beautiful Sydney Coast and it is no wonder that this unforgettable experience is so sought after by locals and tourists alike.
Thousands of whales migrate annually between May and November each year. The first season is typically from May to August where the humpback whales head north towards warmer waters to mate and give birth, then in summer they return south with their calves to feed in the Antarctic waters.
The best whale watching in Sydney where you are more likely to spot whales from the shore is during winter when as many as 20,000 of them migrate along the New South Wales coastline. Humpback whales are the most likely whales you will spot during the Sydney whale watching season in 2018, however you may be among the lucky to spot orcas and minke whales.
So, put on your winter woolies, grab your binoculars and your camera then head to one of the Top 5 Whale Watching Lookouts in Sydney which are certain to provide you with some of the best whale watching in Sydney and where you can capture some of the action and memories to last a lifetime.
Fairfax lookout, North Head, Manly
There is no better place to experience these beautiful humpbacks frolicking in the water than from the vantage point of the Fairfax walk lookout, an easy and enjoyable 1km loop, located in the Sydney Harbor National park, only a few minutes’ walk from the historical Q Station Hotel, on the site of the former Sydney Quarantine Station. The walking track at the North Head Sanctuary leads to the North Fort and Fairfax lookout which features incredible sea views and a panorama of the harbour and city skyline, also offers plenty of opportunity to spot humpback whales.
Make a day or weekend of it, taking time to explore the incredible history and heritage of the Q Station site taking part in a Ghost or History tour, exploring the site on your own or popping into the Visitor Centre which also functions as a museum offering free admission.
Hornby Lighthouse, South Head, Watsons Bay
This historic red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse is located at South Head near Watson’s Bay and is surrounded by expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1858 this great Whale watching spot can be accessed via an easy walking track to the lighthouse via the South Head heritage trail which departs from Camp Cove at Watsons Bay. This 1 km loop will take between 30 minutes to an hour and takes you past the Lady Bay Beach, before reaching he Lighthouse.
Shark Island, Sydney
Located just off the exclusive eastern suburbs of Rose Bay and Vaucluse with panoramic views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Shark Island also offers an incredible viewing platform for keen whale watchers. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of the beautiful grass areas and picnic spots around the island and walk barefoot on the beach as you take in the 360-degree views and watch the whales frolic in the water. The best way to access Shark Island is via public ferry 7 days a week as mooring at the island is not available.
Bondi Beach to Coogee Walk
Bondi Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Australia and a hub of activity all year round and the 6 km Bondi to Coogee walk is a great way to spot whales while taking in the stunning ocean views and sea air. The cliff top coastal walk will take you past beaches, pars, cliffs, bays and rock pools. The beach and parks offer resting spots along the way and great spots to have a bite to eat or a takeaway coffee as you continue on your journey. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete the Bondi to Coogee section of the walk so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothing for the elements.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Palm Beach
Sitting at Sydney’s most northern point, in the Barenjoey Headland at Palm Beach, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is worth the drive as it offers a great viewing platform for humpback whales and panoramic views of Broken Bay, National Park and the Central Coast.
Built in 1881 from sandstone quarried on the site, the lighthouse is one of the iconic sights on Sydney’s northern beaches and is accessed by an easy 1km walk along the Barrenjoey track and will take approximately 1-hour return trip from the Governor Phillip parking area. The more adventurous can also walk the Smugglers track instead for a more challenging hike to the top. It’s also a great place to bring international visitors as they may recognize the lighthouse from the popular long running television series Home & Away.