Q Station, in Sydney Harbour National Park, is now a top choice for family staycations. Once used as North Head Quarantine Station, now offers accessible and regular rooms, ramp access to common areas, and two on-site restaurants
Stay and explore Q Station
Q Station’s harbour location, history, and position in Sydney Harbour National Park make it an ideal staycation for all the family.
Q Station is 5 minutes drive from Manly and was known as North Head Quarantine Station. It was used from the 1830s to isolate people arriving in Australia who were suspected of carrying contagious diseases, such as Spanish influenza, smallpox, or bubonic plague. By holding people at the Quarantine Station, it was hoped that deadly diseases wouldn’t reach the general population in Sydney.
People stayed an average of 40 days in quarantine … if they survived.
Our stay was far less dramatic, with our family embracing the peace and quiet of the national park and enjoying the spectacular harbour views from the Q Station’s prime location.
Accessible accommodations enhance Q Station experience
Being a historic site, I didn’t know what to expect regarding access. We had two rooms for the night, one accessible and one ‘regular’ room. The boys took the accessible room, which was small but manageable with a wheelchair. BJ is a restless bod, so we would normally book more spacious accommodation, but for one night we had everything we needed. We were just thrilled to have the opportunity to experience Q Station!
The wheelchair accessible room at Q Station Manly has ramp access and double doors open into the room. The room has a queen-size bed, with room to transfer from a wheelchair on one side. We appreciated having the room beside the breakfast dining room, because BJ is an early-bird. We were first to breakfast at 7am … not another soul was seen.
Q Station bathrooms equipped with accessible features
The bathroom is adjacent to the bedroom. It is a spacious bathroom with a roll-in hand held shower, grab rails and lever taps.
There is no flip-down shower seat or shower chair in the room. When I asked the hotel, they said they may be able to provide a shower chair if requested. So if you need this, you need to speak to the hotel’s reservations manager direct.
Access to the common areas
The Q Station is at the top of a hill, which gives the property spectacular views of Sydney Harbour.
Access to the common areas we visited had ramp access. The breakfast room, games room and guest lounge all had ramps at the door.
Q Station does not allow guests to drive within the grounds, with the exception of guests with a disability (by prior arrangement). Guests without a disability leave their car in a car park and receive a mini-bus transfer to their room. We were given an escort to drive to a parking space near our accommodation.
Q Station's Historical Charm and Facilities
History is everywhere you look at Q Station and I love that they have embraced and incorporated this in the common areas. We visited the guest lounge, which has the most amazing old kitchen, comfortable seating, and books to borrow. I envy anyone who stays long enough in a hotel to actually complete a book.
The games room was a favourite with our family and we played many games of pool, with everyone getting involved. Perhaps BJ’s focus wasn’t quite what it needed to be if he wants to ever become a pool shark but he had lots of fun!
The museum at Q Station is fascinating with lots of information about the Quarantine Station and it is wheelchair accessible.
Exploring the dining options at Q Station
There are two restaurants onsite, which are side-by-side and located behind the beach. Both have beautiful harbour views. The Boilerhouse Restaurant is the fancier of the two restaurants and we chose to eat in the more casual Engine Room … and loved sitting outside. watching the ‘traffic’ on the harbour.
The restaurants are at the very base of Q Station, which people usually access via the mini-buses. However, the mini-buses are not wheelchair accessible at the moment, so guests with mobility restrictions can get an escort, if using their own car.
BJ and I had plans the next day, so hubby and AJ dropped us at Manly Wharf and we went off in different directions. They returned to Q Station and spent the remainder of the day exploring, playing more pool and having lunch at The Engine Room.
Q Station was a popular choice with the whole family and a great way to spend a Friday night.
– Julie Jones is the creator of Have Wheelchair Will Travel, where she combines her skills as an ex-travel consultant with her life and experiences as a mother to her son BJ, who has cerebral palsy.