Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park
What We Love
- Waking to birdsong, courtesy of native currawongs, wattlebirds and rainbow lorikeets, in Australia’s largest city
- Steampunk meets fine dining at the harborside Boilerhouse restaurant
- Privacy born of spaciousness; Q Station sprawls over 88 acres within Sydney Harbour National Park
- Outdoor activities on your doorstep, from sea kayaking to ghost tours of the quarantine station
What To Know
- Rooms have no AC because they’re heritage-listed, but there are ceiling fans and electric heaters
- This is a good place to take a break from e-mail; WiFi is a pricey $9 an hour ($28 for 24 hours)
- A popular wedding and conference venue, Q Station is spacious enough that it’s also ideal for couples seeking a romantic escape
- No private vehicles are allowed on the site; a shuttle bus loops the property from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Harborside heritage meets 21st century. Q Station’s 81 rooms and suites occupy a cluster of elegantly restored 19th-century weatherboard and brick buildings, including seven three-bedroom cottages, many with wide colonial verandas facing rolling lawns, the harbor or pockets of Australian bush — so there’s a good chance you’ll see native animals such as brushtail possums and monitor lizards. Public areas such as the Carpenter’s Arms (a former pub) and the First Class Lounge feature period touches including black-and-white photographs of the quarantine station’s first guests: newly arrived steamship passengers living in perfect isolation for up to 40 days to keep the colony disease-free.
Bed and Bath
Sky-high ceilings, sheer white floor-to-ceiling curtains, original doors with glass panels, and sash windows that rattle when you open them add romance to the otherwise contemporary decor. In keeping with Q Station’s eco-ethic, the Appelles Apothecary bath products are certified organic, and they bring the Australian bush indoors with such scents as lemon myrtle. The charming three-bedroom cottages also have voluptuous brocade couches and spacious kitchens equipped with stove, microwave, toaster, kettle and Nespresso coffee machine; free Arnott’s biscuits are a homey touch.
Wander down the metal staircase from the accommodation area and you’ll come to the almost secret Quarantine Beach, the perfect spot for a swim or to watch the sunset. The nearby Luggage Store Visitor Centre, on the wharf, has a small outdoor café, a souvenir shop and a museum with authentic artifacts such as steamer trunks and 19th-century medical instruments. Also at the wharf is the industrial-looking Boilerhouse restaurant, which has pipes running across bare brick walls inside, an outdoor terrace, friendly five-star service and a simple but sophisticated menu featuring Australian classics such as Harvey Bay scallops and King Island beef served with Australian, French and New Zealand wines. Latitude 33s, the on-site spa, offers massages as well as one-day, weekend and seven-day health and wellbeing retreats.
In the Area
Q Station is the perfect launch pad for land- and sea-based adventures. Want to paddle the nearby coves and beaches? Rent a kayak or standup paddleboard, and Manly Kayak Centre will bring it to Quarantine Beach for you. Book a whalewatching, sailing or parasailing tour and you can be picked up at the Q Station wharf. Even the Ecohopper ferry service to Sydney’s central business district stops here. Manly Bike Tours will deliver bikes, too, so you can ride to North Head’s lookouts and downhill to world famous Manly Beach. After dark, explore one of Australia’s most haunted sites on a surprisingly spooky Quarantine Station ghost tour.
How to Get There
Q Station enjoys a very peaceful location right by the harbour. Our suite was spacious with a comfortable bed, good sized en-suite bathroom but fairly sparse lounge area with TV. It had a fridge and basic tea making facilities. A few more creature comforts would have made a big difference to the amenity of the accommodation. Our suite did enjoy lovely views over the harbour and across to Balmoral. Being so close to Manly and being in an urban Sydney location the peace and quiet were amazing. The only sounds being the birdlife and the occasional Manly ferry.
Breakfast was a treat. A great range of options, good quality and well attended by cheerful and professional staff.
We enjoyed the guided history tour - Q Station occupies the site of Sydney's original quarantine station, first stop for thousands of immigrants during the times of the Spanish Flu epidemic and periods of typhus, smallpox and other nasties. It has a fascinating history with much of the infrastructure still intact and well preserved. The tour took about an hour and Martin, our guide was informative and entertaining.
The Q Station's location in the North Head National Park provides easy access to many lookouts and historical sites. We hired bikes from reception and spent an afternoon exploring.
We ate dinner at the Boilerhouse Restaurant which is located on the waterfront by the jetty (there is a ferry service to the Q Station). Dinner was magnificent. It is a share style menu with each dish being suitable for two diners. The menu recommends six - seven dishes. We had five and it was more than adequate. It wasn't cheap but given the quality of the fare I considered it good value.
Would I recommend a stay at Q Station? Absolutely!
This is clearly the best place to stay in Sydney. Sensational Harbour views. The serenity is wonderful. The history is absolutely amazing! All the staff were terrific special mention to James at the Restaurant he was brilliant. It is definitely a must do!
Such a warm welcome from every member of staff. The room - in the old first class section - was small but had everything we needed, a nice deck out the front with comfy chairs and a guest lounge a few rooms down with free flowing coffee. The grounds were lovely esp. the old isolation rooms where the view was from Manly to the harbour bridge.
We took the history tour which was really interesting. Dinners were taken in the Boilerhouse restaurant, we watched the sun go down in the engine Room cafe both of which were excellent.
Thank you Q Station for providing my husband and I with a wonderful stay in an outstanding location, situated on North Head with sweeping views of beautiful Sydney Harbour. We really enjoyed the Historical tour with Mel and learnt so much about our history and the way the quarantine station operated in the early days of the colony. Mel was engaging, informative and very interesting in her delivery of the historical tour. Then we signed up for the ghost tour with Chris which was eerily haunting and dramatically enthralling. We didn't see any ghosts, but we were thoroughly entertained and loved every minute of the riveting anecdotes relayed by Chris in true dramatic style. Alana at reception was friendly, helpful and supportive going above and beyond to provide excellent service. I would recommend Q Station for a special celebration and weekend escape in beautiful natural surroundings. .
We went to the Q station as a retreat after a big weekend celebrating my wife's Birthday.
Arriving we were greeted at reception and kindly upgraded to a Queen Suite! Oh I thought this would be good.
You catch a bus to your accommodation, which in our case was part of the original First class section and situated at the rear of a building.
Entry was made via a small side door that was a small sitting area with a simple couch and a small bar fridge and TV mounted on the wall. The bed was in a separate room and we had an en-suite (that's what made it a Suite I discovered - others have bathrooms adjacent to the room) and the clothes space is not enclosed but an open rack. Whilst I expected a heritage look and that is what I got I felt that the amenities were sparce with no pictures or other things to create a warm space. maybe this was intended.
The room was missing glasses for drinking and the fan above the room was filthy as were the lampshades. Not sure if it had not been used for a while but I had to let them know on the way out it needed a thorough clean. The bed was clean and comfortable so the important things were good.
The facilities of the site were really interesting and the bar and restaurant down by the beach were a real highlight to what was a lovely warm autumn day.
It wasn't bad but just a bit of attention to detail and polish would have made it great.