There is a hidden gem in Sydney. Well, it's not quite hidden because you can see it from the Manly Ferry on the way in and out from North Harbour. It has its' own little beach and old style buildings and is in a very quiet spot on Sydney Harbour. It's on the left as you leave on the ferry from Manly Wharf and get past Smedleys Point. You'd probably see it and wonder what it was unless you had made the effort to visit North Head in the Sydney Harbour National Park.
North Head is the northern peninsula that guards the entrance to Sydney Harbour (and the southern peninsula that forms the other 'gate post' is aptly named.... South Head!)
North Head is a beautiful heathland on a sandstone promontory. It has a special importance to the indigenous people of the Sydney area and, for them, it was a place of healing and a special ceremonial site. A quarantine station was built there for the immigrants arriving at Sydney. Prior to WWII, the military moved in and it became one of the most heavily fortified places in Australia during that war. In 1998, the military moved out. North Head these days is a sanctuary with many walks and tours.
The Quarantine Station operated from as early as the 1830s. Migrant ships arriving with any suspected contagious disease were offloaded there as protection to the residents of Sydney. The Quarantine Station operated up until 1984. At that time the site was managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service for tours and as a function centre. Because of ongoing funding shortfalls, the NSW Government leased the area to a private consortium with a history of revitalising old historic buildings and sites in 2006. The Quarantine Station, after careful renovation, is now a series of historic buildings that offer 4.5 star accommodation, function spaces up to 180 guests, 2 restaurants and bar and a Visitors Centre that displays the history of the station.
There are great views to be held of Sydney Harbour from North Head and access to the Quarantine Station area is restricted to only a few vehicles. There is a shuttle bus that can assist with getting around but there are also many places to explore by foot on the 30 hectare site. Be warned though, if walking from the gate down to the beach, there is a large staircase on the walking path with 234 steps (my wife counted them)!
Want to know more? Visit the websites for Q Station and North Head where you'll find plenty of information.
It is well worth the visit!
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|The Quarantine Station from the Manly Ferry - Sydney, Australia.|
|The accommodation offers spectacular views of Sydney and the Harbour.|
|Manly Ferries dance on Sydney Harbour.|
|Manly Ferry en-route to Circular Quay.|
|These are the autoclaves at Q Station. Passengers luggage would be loaded into these 'vaults'|
and disinfected with extremely hot steam.