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 Sydney Harbour Eco Hopper leaves at 10:20am 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 Eco Hopper 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 all day eco hopper pass and take the eco hopper 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!