Do you like a touch of creepy and kooky, or perhaps mysterious and spooky? Then make like the Addams Family and bring your brood along for a nightmarish immersion into Sydney’s dark side. Packed with historic buildings, burial grounds and dark alleyways, Manly’s Quarantine Station is a ghostbuster’s dream come true. A warning – this destination is not for the faint-hearted!
The Quarantine or Q Station was once used to house incoming migrants or local residents who were carrying disease. Between its opening in the 1830s and its 1984 closure, 16,000 people passed through the Q Station doors, many of whom were to spend their final days beneath its roof. Every night at 8pm, if you are game and over the age of 15, you can participate in a ‘Ghostly Encounters’ tour onsite.
There is also a kid-friendly ghost hunting group activity, ‘Ghost Trackers’ that can be booked for children 8 years and above, accompanied by an adult. You may well find that Mum and Dad are more spooked than the littlies! At Halloween time, Q Station hosts Halloween Fun and Screams program which includes a Scream Night Out family tour for kids aged 5 to 14. Costumes are heartily encouraged.
For any of the tours, by day or by night, you must arrive half an hour early. A shuttle bus will transport your brave bunch from the car park to the Visitor Centre, which is the starting point for all tours.
There are also some grown-ups only ghoulish encounters. Over 18’s can diverge from the history and scary stories on the Extreme Ghost Tour, which focuses on a psychic, experimental experience. Overnight Ghost stays are also available to adults. Or for a getaway of a different kind, Mums and Dads can enjoy romantic peace and quiet with some fine-dining and ocean vistas.
Perhaps poltergeists, spine-tingling stories and jump scares are not for your family. Don’t shy away from this rugged, windswept site and its rich history. A visit to the Q Station in daylight will show off amazing views of the harbour and city of Sydney. There is also a free Quarantine historical exhibition, daily history tours and kayaking, paddle-boarding or snorkelling at Quarantine Beach. 30 hectares in total, Q Station is situated on Manly’s picturesque North Head in the middle of Sydney Harbour National Park so there is a lot to see. You can stay overnight (minus the ghosts) in beautiful accommodation boasting original décor.
If the Q Station is not enough for you (you are either very brave or very crazy!) then venture into Sydney’s underbelly. The Rocks once was the meeting place of all kinds of villains and shady characters. Now you can learn about the convict history among the dark alleys. There are even Spooktacular Teen birthday tours for $38 per person, or Family Ghost Tours for anyone over the age of 8.
Sydney has plenty of spook to explore. Embrace the goosebumps, buckle in for a night of frights and enjoy Q Station and The Rocks.
Check out the Q Station website here.