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Things to do in Sydney: Stay at Q Station Manly

Q Station has to be one of my favourite places in Sydney and it’s probably because, even though it’s not far from the CBD, you feel that you are on a remote property, or even an island far away from the stress of city life.

I was invited to Q Station to spend the night, have dinner at the Boilerhouse (seriously one of the best restaurants in Sydney) and go on a ghost tour. Some of my friends thought I was nuts doing a ghost tour and staying the night by myself, and I laughed because I’m not actually afraid of ghosts, and yes, I do believe in them. If you keep reading I was not disappointed in seeing one, and another strange incident that happened the morning after the tour.

I started my stay by taking a ferry from Circular Quay; they run every 30 minutes or you have the option of the fast ferry. I used to live in Manly for years and still consider myself one of the locals, even though I now live in the city. As soon as I stepped off the ferry I was hit with that wonderful fresh sea air, it’s something I miss a lot living in the city. The taxis are just across the road from the Wharf so I hopped in one and was up at Q Station in no time.

On arrival I was greeted warmly and then hopped on one of the transport vehicles that circle the vast property to my room.

The room was lovely, it overlooked the Sydney Harbour with stunning views. The room is decorated beautifully and has generous sized bathroom. The walls are corrugated iron, painted white and the ceilings are high. I was relieved to have the room snug and cosy with air conditioning when I arrived because it was a pretty cold day.

Once I had settled in I took myself off exploring. The rooms are all situated in blocks around the property and all have verandahs. I noticed people enjoying a glass of wine or beer on their verandahs soaking up the atmosphere.

Q Station is full of history, and the story is quite sad really as it was the Quarantine Station of years gone by, where people with diseases such as Small Pox or Scarlet Fever were sent to recover, and of course many died. Interestingly enough, Scarlet Fever is a very old disease and when my daughter was a baby she actually came down with it and was hospitalized for a week. I think how awful it would have been as a mother having a child taken to isolation and away from you.

The Quarantine Station has three sections: First Class, Second Class and Third Class and that’s exactly what it was like; class segregation so if you didn’t have a lot of money, your stay would not have been as comfortable as some.

On my walk I discovered the lounge room where guests can relax and make themselves a cup of tea, or coffee. The lounge room was lovely, and for those who have an interest in antiques then there was plenty to look at.

Soon it was time for dinner so I strolled down to The Boilerhouse restaurant. The restaurant is beautiful and I love the ambience there.

My friend Andrew was joining me for dinner so I met him at the restaurant. We have both been there before and were eager to see what was on the menu tonight


  • Lightly cured wild kingfish, grapefruit, miso, baby radish $21

  • Beetroot risotto, goats curd, walnuts, sorrel $18

  • Wild mulloway, wild mushroom, celeriac, tarragon, coffee $34

  • Lamb loin, belly, potato, peas, shallot, pan juices $34

  • Boilerhouse rocky road $17

  • Raspberry, rhubarb, vanilla, pastry crisp, meringue $17

Trust me we were full after all this and the food did not disappoint. The Chef's take a great deal of care with the presentation and as you can see from some pics, it’s almost too pretty to eat.

The wine list is extensive and we enjoyed a bottle of 2010 Glandore, Hunter Valley NSW $50 – I need that because I was about to go on a ghost tour for 2.5 hours!

Here is a post I did on the Winter Wine Fest at Q Station

So now it was on to the Ghost Tour…..

Andrew left me to it! He hopped on the bus and was taken back to his car and I joined the group of other adventurers ready to take the tour. It was a particularly cold night and I think that may have added to the mystery of this tour.

NOTE: The flash shows the room but we were in pitch black

FYI I am quite ‘sensitive’ in other words I have seen things not of this world and I have had a visit from my deceased brother, and only yesterday from my mum who passed a month ago, so I’m not exactly frightened of ghosts. Our group met at the wharf and we had some safety instructions by our guide. There were four lanterns to be shared amongst the twenty of us as well as two monitors that pick up on spirits. Then off we went and I giggled to myself about two girls in our group who were absolutely terrified.

I’m not going to give too much away and spoil it for those who would like to take a ghost tour at Q Station so I’ll just give you a bit of a rundown. We basically walked through the property in the dark with our lanterns. That itself is quite eerie, especially with the wildlife roaming around and making noises. I felt safe being in a big group I’d probably wouldn’t be so full of myself if it had been just me or a few.

NOTE: The flash shows the room but we were in pitch black

The group toured to different parts of the complex including the hospital, morgue and acid shower area. The photos you see in this post were taken by me with the flash, however I couldn’t really see anything in the pitch black room, and that’s what it was….pitch black. Obviously the flash has lightened each shot so try and use your imagination and remember the rooms are very dark with no lighting. Our tour guide explained to us about different ghosts and some of them can be a little bit …shall we say, ‘not pleasant’. There were a few times my spine shivered and the monitor went berserk on a number of occasions too.

Photo Instagram

So where did I see my ghost? In the morgue! I was standing listening to our guide and I sensed there was a man next to me, quite a large man. For some reason I decided to try and touch him to see if a person was really standing there and to my surprise there was no one there, I wasn’t next to a man at all, I was standing by myself! At the same time I felt someone touch the back of my head. Our guide told us then that “Mr Slimey”, as he is called, likes to touch the ladies and their hair!

The tour continued past a cemetery and to other historical areas of the Quarantine Station, the showers were particularly unnerving for me.

Finally the tour finished and I arrived back at my cabin to spend the night alone around 10.45 pm. I wasn’t scared at all, I felt very safe and ghosts didn’t even cross my mind. The bed was very comfortable and I enjoyed the peace and quiet of not having city noise.

The next morning I had breakfast early, in fact was the first person in the breakfast dining area. The food was beautiful, lots of fresh goodness! Now you can believe me or not, the photo below (which I am actually being brave enough to publish because it’s not flattering) was taken by one of the staff for this blog. Where I am standing, I felt something ‘whoosh’ by me, it touched my head and it flew past so quickly and that’s exactly when the photo below was taken; my eyes say it all! The doors were all closed, I couldn’t see anything in the room and neither of the two staff noticed anything. Maybe the spirits decided to teach me a lesson for being so smug on the ghost tour?

After breakfast I went for a long walk and was delighted with the scenery and fresh air. I revisited the buildings from the tour and ended back at the Boilerhouse restaurant and climbed the 250 steps back up to the First Class precinct.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and my wonderful stay was over.

I can’t speak highly enough of Q Station; I could have written much more!

I am very grateful to have been a guest at Q Station. Thank you. Read more about my Disclaimer.

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