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INDULGENT ADVENTURES - Travel, adventure and windswept dreams.

Fun at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.


Stand Up Paddle boarding at the QStation, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Stand Up Paddle boarding at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Wow! The Q Station has to be one of Sydney’s best kept secrets!  This Indulgent Adventure has it all – beaches, bush, Australian native wildlife, history, good food, ghosts…  What more could you want?

The Q Station is a four star hotel operating from the historic Sydney Quarantine Station.  The quarantine site was originally chosen in the early 1800s for its isolation, but in the 21 st century it is a marvelous bush setting with stunning Sydney Harbour views, just a 20 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay and the centre of Sydney or a 2 min cab ride from Manly.

Accommodation buildings at the QStation, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Accommodation buildings at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Guests stay in the original quarantine accommodation or in original staff cottages (updated of course!) and there is a wide range available to suit budget and circumstances.  It is a great family destination but also a great weekend getaway for a couple.

Accommodation Buildings at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Accommodation Buildings at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

We have stayed twice – the first time (Jan 2014) with extended family to celebrate my mother’s birthday (where the beach and the stairs were perfect for tiring out young nephews and allowing their parents a good night’s sleep), and the second time (Easter 2015) we returned for a couple’s getaway (when the beach, the Stand Up Paddleboards, the history, the ghost tour and the Boilerhouse Restaurant were perfect for an Indulgent Short Break).

The Beach and Wharf at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Beach and Wharf at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

A significant historic site with over 60 old buildings, some converted for hotel, conference and educational use, the site reflects several important aspects of early Australian colonization. An important precolonial aboriginal site as well as the site of some of the earliest interaction between the aboriginal population and white colonizers, the Q Station also gives bearing to early maritime history, the story of early immigration to Australia, class stratification in the mid to late 1800’s and our early hospitals and medical development, and everywhere you look there is something of historical interest.

The Bar at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Boiler House Bar at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Needless to say, as a history buff I could become lost with the wealth of information preserved by the smart reuse of a historic site while sensitively preserving its historic significance for all Australians into the future.

There is access to history tours and for the brave there are ghost tours (mostly on weekends). Luckily the ghosts are generally fairly friendly – we didn’t see any on our tour, but we did very much enjoy the tour, it gave us a great feel for life (and death) in the Quarantine Station.  For the outdoor enthusiasts there is Quarantine Beach facing Sydney Harbour for a dip, snorkeling, Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) and kayaks for hire and lots of bush walking tracks to traverse the site to and from your accommodation and the historic sites that abound.

There is a lot of Australian native wildlife, including many different varieties of possums, kookaburras, and Little (Fairy) Penguins.  The penguins are very cute, but they also an endangered species, with their only three remaining colonies, all in this area, so please treat them with utmost respect.

The Little Fairy Penguin also lives at the QStation, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Little Fairy Penguin also lives at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The carpark for the Q station is at the beginning of the site at the Reception Centre. There are no cars permitted on site. You will need to unload your bags yourself after checking in and wait for the shuttle to take you to your accommodation. The accommodation is spread throughout the site in many different types of buildings and consists of many different options. We stayed in a Harbour view deluxe room and a Harbour view heritage suite. You need to be careful when booking and read the room description as some rooms have external bathrooms and some rooms are more luxurious than others!

The Wharf at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Wharf at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

This is still an amazing place.  It is very accessible from Sydney for overseas visitors who want to stay somewhere different (and close to Manly’s wonderful beach!).  It is also a great weekend escape for Sydney-siders – you feel you are miles from anywhere!

A weekend gives you a chance to have fun in the many activities and perhaps also focus on the more serious side of the Q Station’s past and go home knowing a bit more closely what it may have been like to be here under isolation as a new immigrant to Australia in the 1800’s through to 1975.

General

The Q station Boutique Hotel is part of The Quarantine Station Site at Manly in Sydney Harbour National Park. A restaurant and bar is located at the QStation Wharf.

Sunset over Sydney Harbour from the Balcony of our room, The Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Sunset over Sydney Harbour from the Balcony of our room, the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Room

The Harbour View Deluxe room consisted of 3 rooms with magnificent Harbour views from the wrap around balcony. A queen bedroom, with hallway with ensuite leading to a lounge room. There is no airconditioning but ceiling fans did offer some relief from the heat and humidity of mid summer in Sydney. The building was an old weatherboard house with a wrap around verandah. The room furnishings were modern offering a contrast to the historic nature of the property but no doubt more comfortable.

A room with without a view at The Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

A room with without a view at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Harbour view heritage suite was in a federation style brick building with a wrap around verandah quite a walk from the other buildings on site. Modern internally with a queen room and separate lounge area with double sofa. The Bathroom was external from the room but not shared with any other guests. Surrounded by bush it still had good but distant views of the harbour.

A wrap must go to housekeeping and the ground staff. The rooms were immaculate – very well cleaned and presented and the grounds (they are very large) very well kept.

Bed

Comfortable not too hard and not too soft.

Bathrooms

A bathroom at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

A bathroom at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Modern bathrooms. The Duluxe room bathroom was very large and roomy. Not all bathrooms are created equal however. We saw ones that were much smaller and ones that were external so beware what you are purchasing! Fixtures and fittings were of good quality and the water pressure was ok.

Room Outlook

The Harbour view we paid for was well worth the extra outlay as was the duluxe suite if size matters.

A view of Sydney Harbour from the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

A view of Sydney Harbour from the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Services

Sad to say on both of our visits to the Q Station we experienced issues at reception and our receptionist was not accompanied by a happy welcoming face. On both occasions guests rooms were not ready after 2pm and all requests outside of checkin were met by staff with the appearance of not wanting to assist. There was also only one person on reception forcing several people to line up…not a terrific feel at all.

The minibus service to drop and pick you up at the rooms and take you around the site was slow and frustrating and the bus we were delivered in did not have adequate room for bags ….not sure what was going on there.

Sunset over Sydney Harbour at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Sunset over Sydney Harbour at the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

We also had problems hiring the kayak and standup paddle boards – again, we were given the impression that guests requests were too much effort.

Having made a fuss we obtained SUPs and I can highly recommend the experience!  The shore line is beautiful from the water, and floating around is magic.  We didn’t get to try a kayak (they weren’t available, despite it being the Easter long weekend!) but I would also recommend kayaking – lots of beaches and shoreline to explore!

The Q Station beach, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

The Q Station beach, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

There is no minibar provided in the rooms, which was a great disappointment as The Q Station is very isolated. So you need to BYO or go to the bar at the wharf for a drink. On our second visit limited room service was offered. It was disappointing not to be able to enjoy a celebratory drink on the room balcony enjoying the views with friends and family.

Breakfast

The breakfast was fairly standard fare not the best buffet I have had but not the worst by any means. Not being able to get a real cappacino is always an issue for me!

Restaurant

The Boilerhouse restaurant and Bar is located by the wharf and the outdoor tables have lovely views of the water. The wharf is down an awful amount of steps so if this is an issue for any of your party, you will need to catch the mini bus down and back up. We had a family dinner here for ten people in Jan 2014 (7 adults and 3 kids).  The adult meals were good and were consumed happily however the kids meals were dreadful.  We returned at Easter 2015 without any kids and had a lovely meal in the boiler house itself this time.

The kids loved dining by the beach, as did we and we were all thrilled by the appearance of a fairy penguin and a visit from a baby possum.

The Good

A great way to preserve a historic site and give those who stay a chance to feel history.  The location is stunning, the rooms are well presented and immaculately clean, and the grounds are extensive and well-kept.  The beaches are great, and there are heaps of activities for big and little kids.

Rock Inscriptions by the quarantined tell their own story of the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Rock Inscriptions by the quarantined tell their own story of the Q Station, Manly, Sydney, Australia.

Highly recommended for visitors and Sydney-siders alike.

The Bad

The staff do not put the guests needs first, and no guest gym is provided.

 

Ratings     Brig   Dawn
Room 7.5/10 7/10
Location 9/10 9/10
Service 7/10 7/10
Value for $$ 7.5/10 7/10

 

Other helpful Information you might need

Do Your Own Research or join a History or Ghost tour! If you don’t you might not realize just what an amazing place and significant historic site it is that you are visiting.
Restaurant Sit outside if the weather is good. Don’t expect top notch, enjoy the location and it will be good.
Drinks on your Balcony BYO that special bottle
Parking Public and free and located at reception. Getting around the resort is by complimentary shuttle bus.

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