GET SPOOKED IN SYDNEY
History buffs and paranormal enthusiasts, if you aren’t scared of a few ghosts, spirits and mysteries then book yourself in to one of Sydney’s famous ghost tours. Ghost tours are a great way to learn about Sydney’s dark history and a chance to visit important historical sites where ghost tours are full of stories, adventures, and some spooky encounters.
Here are a couple of our favourite ghost tours in Sydney that will have you keeping the light on at night.
Reputed to be one of Australia’s most haunted sites, Q Station on Manly’s North Head has been operating ghost tours since the early 1990’s and have number of tours available depending on your scare level. From the 1830’s right up to 1984, migrants and crew arriving by ship to Sydney with suspected contagious disease were forced into quarantine at Q Station. Their ghost tours will take you through the historic buildings, burial grounds and empty pathways where stories of ghosts and paranormal occurrences have entwined throughout its history.
For those wanting to go beyond the typical history and ghost lore tour, make sure to sign up for their Extreme Ghost Tour. Psychics and mediums will guide you through the tour while undertaking experiments to encourage paranormal activity.
If that still isn’t enough supernatural activity for you, then head along to their Spirit Investigator tour. On this tour you get to try out the latest ghost hunting equipment and carry out experiments yourself to communicate with the spirits.
Finally for those who really like an adventure Q Station also offers a ‘Spirit Searching Sleepover’. When you’ve finished the Spirit Investigator Tour (and you’ve conjured up the station’s spirits), you’ll then be lead to your room for the night… that’s right you’ll be sleeping over with your new spirit friends.
Q Station also takes group bookings for all of their ghost tours, so you can also drag along all of your supernatural loving friends.
Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour was once an island prison known for housing re-offending convicts. After closing the prison, Cockatoo Island was transformed into a working shipyard for more than a century and is now full of stories of untimely deaths and paranormal sightings. Tours will guide you through the convict workshops and gaol, coffin like prison cells, the grain silos, Dog Leg Tunnel and Biloela House. Visitors have reported feeling gusts of air, smells of tobacco, and even sites of ghostly figures.
St Bartholomews Church
When you think of a haunted place a church and cemetery is sure to come to mind. Dating back to 1841, St Bartholomews Church and Cemetery is home to the stories and graves of many early settlers including explorer William Lawson. The tour guides visitors through the Churches’ long history and recounts the stories of the many lives that are now buried within the cemetery. If you are lucky you may even encounter their famous troublesome ghost, with many tour participants claiming to have experience extreme nausea and being unable to move when approaching his tombstone.
An iconic part of Sydney’s history, The Rocks was home to convicts from as early as 1788, which means there are loads of stories of crimes, murders and mysteries. Offering two tours which cover different routes and stories, you’ll visit Cadman’s Cottage, Australia’s oldest home, Susannah Place where someone was found buried in the cellar, and Observatory Hill where the old Signal Master’s spirit is set to reside. The tour will also take you to many ‘off limit’ locations and see you walking through dark alleyways only lit by lanterns. This is one of those tours that is sure to send goose bumps up your back.
So, whether you’re a Sydney local wanting to explore your own city a little bit, or a visitor who isn’t afraid of a few ghosts, make sure to check out the after dark side of Sydney.
MELBOURNE CUP FASHION 2019
Spring Carnival is just around the corner and while racing enthusiasts will be eagerly awaiting the final line up for the ‘Race that stops the nation’, there is also a lot of excitement about the Melbourne Cup fashions! Each year the fashion stakes are higher with more men and women turning up to the event in more original and creative outfits. Even those without fashion finesse will find themselves taking a covet peek at the unique and elaborate styles, colours and creations designed or pieced together for Melbourne Cup Day 2019.
Melbourne Cup Day fashion has always been about style and glamour. In July 1962, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) introduced ‘Fashions, Flowers and Favourites’ to attract more women to the male dominated racecourse. The competition was launched originally with the aim of finding the smartest dressed woman at the Carnival. This fashion competition now includes not only the best dressed women, but also the men, and also children’s fashion! Fashions on the Field were covered extensively by the press and its popularity grew quickly, establishing itself as Australia’s largest and most prestigious outdoor fashion event, attracting media and celebrity attention from around the world.
If you are starting to plan your 2019 Melbourne Cup Day outfit, it’s important to respect the tradition by dressing smartly and appropriately for the occasion. Melbourne Cup Race day etiquette is about being elegant, so your outfit should always be at or below knee length and shouldn’t show too much skin. It’s a good idea to start planning your outfit early and invest in the best quality of dress you can afford. If you need to stick to a budget, invest in a classic timeless piece that works with a few looks in your wardrobe so you can get maximum wear throughout the year or years to come. Once you have the perfect dress, you can work on matching your shoes, headpiece and accessories.
When it comes to the 2019 Melbourne Cup Fashion season for women, it’s all about bold colour, statement prints with a focus on the hat or the headpiece. Think bright hues, neon, fuchsia and hot pink, cobalt and navy blues, emerald greens and head turning reds. Headpiece wise, the trend this year is to move away from the classic fascinator. Choose a hat or headpiece that compliments you and your outfit such as a metallic or lace crown or a headpiece made of fresh flowers. Be confident with your look and wear something that you know you will look fabulous in but it’s important to not go too over the top if you don’t think you can pull off the look. For the shoes, choose a mule, or a block heel. For men, a classic suit is a must, experiment with colours and textures and stay away from black or navy suits. Instead opt for a lighter coloured suit coupled with pastels which will ensure you make an impact on the day.
In 2019 Myer Fashions on the field competition will enter the digital age with a photo-based competition for interstate contestants in October. This is set to reinvigorate the iconic Myer Fashions on the Field, broadening the scope for entrants across Australia with the purpose of continuing the celebration of fashion and racing. The winners from each of state will receive a 10-day trip of a life time to the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival to compete on stage in the Myer Fashions on the Field National Final on Kennedy Oaks Day.
If you can’t make it to Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and are looking for the perfect venue with Melbourne Cup 2019 packages in Sydney for your office to celebrate the excitement of the cup, then Q Station has you covered with a six course degustation Melbourne Cup Day lunch package in Manly on the edge of the Sydney Harbour at the Boilerhouse Restaurant & Bar. The event runs from 12-4pm and here you can enjoy the exquisite menu while watching the day’s festivities. Drinks can be purchased at the bar and you can continue the celebrations at the Engine Room Bar after lunch. Even if you don’t back the winner on the day you still have the chance to win amazing lucky door prizes which include overnight accommodation, restaurant vouchers and more!
THE NORTHERN BEACHES BEST WEDDING SUPPLIERS
Here at Q Station we love playing host to beautiful weddings and watching friends and families come together to celebrate such a special occasion. Whether the happy couple is looking for a picturesque ceremony with views over Sydney Harbour, a fun cocktail style reception at the Glasshouse, or a formal dinner in the Governor Bourke Ballroom, we can help make their dream day a reality.
But of course picking the perfect venue is just one small part of planning a wedding, and choosing the right suppliers and vendors is an important part in ensuring that all the small details of your day come together perfectly. Here at Q Station we have a small list of Northern Sydney wedding vendors that we recommend to all of our brides and grooms as they start planning their perfect day.
Whether you’re looking for Instagram-worthy decorations, the perfect hair-do to match your veil, or a celebrant to help guide you through the entire marriage process, you can be rest assured that our list of Northern Sydney wedding vendors have been tried and tested and are truly some of the best in Sydney.
To help create that added ‘wow’ factor
If you’re looking for the perfect tailor-made arbour, breathtaking table settings, or even meaningful personalised gifts for your guests, look no further than Poco Uno Creative. With some of Sydney’s best event stylists and florists as part of their team, they can help bring your wedding Pinterest board to life! Make sure to check out some of their work over on Instagram.
To help you get ready on the day
Known for her natural and timeless makeup style, Niki Simpson has helped hundreds of brides and bridesmaids bring out their natural beauty and self-confidence on their big day. As a qualified makeup artist and hair stylist, Niki can tailor your bridal makeup and hair to perfectly complement your face, dress and style of wedding.
To help get you to the wedding
Is there really any cooler way to enter your own wedding than by a vintage kombi? Kombi Weddings are one of Northern Sydney’s best wedding car transport hire service, offering three different kombi’s to add a little bit of character to your big day. They are also known for having little extras on board like umbrellas and sewing kits (just in-case), champagne glasses and an esky with ice!
Someone to help say ‘I Do’
When you’re all ready to walk down the aisle you’ll of course need someone there to make you officially husband and wife! Over the last 10 years Louise Spedding has perfected her welcoming and friendly celebrant style and loves to bring a little bit of fun to the formality. Her signature style ensures that couples smile, laugh and enjoy the moment, while also tailoring the ceremony to reflect your personality.
If a traditional wedding ceremony isn’t really your style, then may we also recommend wedding celebrant, Martin Moroney. Wearing his signature bright bowtie and bringing his unique storytelling skills, Martin will ensure that your ceremony is fun, engaging and a truly memorable experience. Martin has a background in behavioural science and loves to have wedding guests involved within the ceremony to create a truly engaging wedding.
To capture your perfect day forever
While you can’t relive your big day over, having a good photographer will ensure that you’ll have the memories to look back on for years to come. David Thomson is one of our favourite wedding photographers whose candid photography style perfectly captures honest stories and real moments. David doesn’t just capture the highlights of your day, but he takes the time to also capture those incredible and spontaneous moments in between.
Add a little fun to your reception
Photobooths have become increasingly popular at events and are a great way to get your guests mingling! Flashback Photobooths is one of Sydney’s longest running photobooth suppliers, offering flexible packages and using only the best quality of booths. They even supply a black leather ‘ready to mount’ album along with gold and silver pens – the perfect modern-day guest-book!
For something a bit different
Owned by a mother and daughter duo, The Travelling Bar is a vintage caravan that has been completely renovated to become a totally unique pop up bar! It’s the perfect way to bring a little bit of character and flair to your big day. While the caravan can be set up across any of our event spaces, we think it works best as part of a modern ‘festival’ style reception at our Greenhouse.
Finish the night with something a little sweet
The perfect ending to any wedding dinner is of course a piece of wedding cake! Sydney’s Sweet Connoisseur is home to the most delicious wedding cakes that will please any sweet tooths. Whether you choose a traditionally elegant or ultra modern fondant wedding cake, a rustic naked cake finished with fresh blooms, or a traditional French wedding Croquembouche tower, you can be reassured that your cake will be hand baked with love and care.
NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATIONS AT Q STATION
So it’s almost the end of another year, and soon we’ll be busy welcoming in 2020. For many party goers New Year’s Eve is that special night when we toast to the previous years memories, indulge in one too many champagnes, and count down to a fresh start surrounded by friends and family.
But with more than a million people heading out to experience the energy of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve, catching a glimpse of the famous Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular can mean getting lost in chaos and the crowd. Here a Q Station we have some of the best panoramic views of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks without the crowds, first-class dining options, and of course accommodation to save you from waiting in line for a taxi home.
This year our very own Hospital Precinct -situated on the headland above Quarantine Wharf at Q Station – will be offering a family seafood buffet. Your dinner will be complete with a range of delicacies including oysters and prawns in addition to favourites such as lamb, barramundi, Porchetta and pavlova. Perfect for bring together the whole family, young and old, you’ll also be treated to views of the Sydney Harbour lights from the wrap around balcony and of course the best vantage point to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks.
For something a little more special why not start your New Year’s Eve celebration off with a pre-dinner drink at The Engine Room Bar before enjoying a six-course degustation dinner at the Boilerhouse Restaurant & Bar. Featuring favourites from the Boilerhouse Menu including scallop crudo, and white chocolate parfait, your dinner will complemented by a 3-hour premium drinks package and amazing views of South Head, the CBD and Balmoral all the way around to Manly.
After dinner the celebration continues as you move to the Hospital Precinct from 10:30pm to countdown the New Year! The exclusive ‘Hospital bar’ will be open when you arrive with drinks available for purchase. Enjoy conversations with friends as you take in the amazing panoramic views of South Head, the Sydney Harbour, Balmoral and Manly and raise your glass at midnight as you farewell 2019 and watch the night sky light up with one of the best views of the Sydney fireworks.
Avoid the taxi cue (and the traffic congestion) at the end of the night by staying the night with us. This way you can celebrate until after midnight and not have to worry about the drive home (not to mention who’s driving!) Simply stroll back to your room hand in hand at the end of the night on incredibly comfortable beds. Enjoy the best start to 2020 by waking up on New Year’s Day to a delicious breakfast at Views Restaurant (that you didn’t have to cook), a refreshing swim at Quarantine Beach and a morning stroll along the Fairfax walk watching the spectacular sunrise on New Year’s Day from one of three panoramic lookout points.
TEN UNIQUE DATE IDEAS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY!
As February approaches weather officially kicks off here in Sydney, it’s time to pull out those jumpers, pour yourself a hot chocolate and snuggle up. However, if you’re trying to impress someone you love, or busy swiping right, you might be getting a little stuck trying to organise the perfect winter date night out in Sydney. While it’s tempting to stay at home and order pizza, we promise there are plenty of things to see and do on a winter date night in Sydney.
From special degustation dinners, to star gazing, and even the chance to live out your inner Happy Gilmore, it’s time to put aside those ugg boots and take away dinners to plan the perfect winter date night.
Whether you’re planning on popping the big question, celebrating your 50th anniversary, or you’re going on your very first date, here are some of our favourite things to do for a winter date night in Sydney.
Just because the temperature may have dropped, it doesn’t mean you have to hide indoors re-watching your favourite Netflix show! Every year Luna Park turns puts on a Winterfest with lots of perfectly suited wintery food and activities on offer. The standout of course is the ice-skating rink, which stays open till 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights making it a perfect date night activity. Impress your date with your cool skating tricks, or at least keep them laughing with your disastrous clumsiness!
Afterwards, head to the carousel-inspired diner, The Hungry House, or stroll through the many pop-up stalls on offer. Think winter treats like Baileys hot chocolate, caramel pretzels and gooey s'mores.
If one of your favourite summer past times is sitting on the beach devouring fresh seafood, then make sure to take your date to Garfish Restaurant & Bar. Situated in iconic Manly, Garfish offer diners unbeatable views of Manly Wharf and a constantly changing blackboard menu featuring only the freshest market fish sourced that very morning.
While their Snapper Pie has become a crowd favourite, we highly recommended the live rock lobster, which is cooked on their signature wood fired oven and served with lemon herb butter.
If you are planning an extra special date night, then you can’t go past a dinner on iconic Sydney Harbour. Starting with a spectacular sunset, jump on-board the prestigious MV Sydney 2000 for the Platinum Penfolds Grange Dinner Cruise.
As you cruise Sydney Harbour you’ll be treated to a 6 course degustation menu, which is matched with Penfold’s platinum selection of private bin and vintage wines. Platinum window seating is available to ensure that you and your date take in the incredible million dollar views.
There is nothing more romantic than watching the sun over the ocean with your partner (or partner to be). Better yet this is a location for every season, kayaking and ice creams in summer or relaxing with cheese and antipasto in winter, you’ll have snacks and romance sorted!
There is no better spot than our very own Boilerhouse Kitchen and Bar, right on the edge of Quarantine Beach, a secluded hidden gem with gorgeous views out to the harbour and only a short stroll away from the accommodation of the historic Q Station hotel. The beach is 200m long, faces northwest into the North Harbour and is in a quiet and sheltered location hemmed in by rocks and national park with silvery sand and clear, calm water.
Make it a double date and take your friends along to a special degustation event, such as Christmas in July, Bastille Day Long Lunch or any of the regular foodie experiences at Q Station.
If you really want to impress you can’t go past our Retreat Suites at Q Station. The suite offers a perfect romantic getaway, located on the headland within Sydney Harbour National Park in the refurbished former Isolation Precinct, this area has one of the most amazing views of Sydney Harbour. Take advantage of the private guest lounge, with panoramic views across the water.
Take your love interest on a scenic stroll along the Fairfax walk accessing post card views of Sydney Harbour, then it’s only a 5 minute walk from your hotel suite to the Boilerhouse Kitchen and Bar for an award winning a la carte dinner.
For those wanting the perfect mid-week (and budget) date night, check out Wednesday nights at Belgrave Cartel. Born out of a love of delicious food, great coffee and music by three local brothers, Belgrave Cartel is a venue that oozes cosy, casual date night feels. Wednesday nights are home to $20 Pasta e Vino night. Tuck into their pasta of the day and a glass of house vino or Peroni for just $20, while also listening to the sweet sounds of live music.
Dry and cloudless winter nights are perfect for stargazing and there’s no better place to do just that than the Sydney Observatory. Join one of their nightly tours where you’ll get the chance to use Australia’s oldest working telescope to experiencing the magic of a star studded night sky.
Fill the boot of your car with lots of blankets and pillows, pack a bottle of wine and your favourite snacks and head to Blacktown drive in cinemas. Showcasing the best new releases, the old school drive-in is a great way to spend a night out with someone special, without having to get out of the winter pyjamas.
For those looking for a fun and casual date night, Holey Moley is the perfect solution. With 3 different courses and 27 differently themed holes, there’s plenty of opportunity to flex your putt-putt skills in front of your date. And because this isn’t your regular old mini golf course, you’ll find the Caddyshank bar serving up golf inspired cocktails. It’s pretty much a hole-in-one!
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.
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 Business Australia (formerly 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.