Apr 27, 2016

Celebrating with ghosts

“Were you scared?”

That’s the first thing people asked me when I told them where my husband and I spent our wedding anniversary night last week. (Twenty-seven years!)

At the last minute, we booked to stay the night at the hotel on the site of the old Quarantine Station North Head near Manly in Sydney. It’s a magnificent setting, right on the harbour in the middle of a National Park.

What was once a Quarantine Station is now a quirky, lovely hotel in Sydney

 The Quarantine Station was established in the 1830s to prevent diseases such as typhus, plague and smallpox from reaching the main settlement of Sydney. Immigrant ships were stopped and passengers kept in strict quarantine in what, in effect, was a prison. The idyllic setting would have been cold comfort to the internees, many of whom never left there as they died from the disease they had contracted on the long journey from the Northern Hemisphere.

Fabulous views from the old Quarantine Station - the Manly ferries
pass each other on their way between Sydney and Manly 
Over the years the Quarantine Station became like a town in itself—divided into first, second and third class accommodation to reflect the status of the ship’s passengers. It operated right up until the 1980s.

There are three cemeteries on the grounds. The buildings are reputed to be haunted by the ghosts of the poor souls who never left there to start their new lives in Sydney. Ghost tours have operated there for years.

Victorian splendour in the former First Class Passengers lounge - now a guest lounge

So were we scared? Not at all. The place has a sad history but is a beautiful part of Sydney’s heritage. The Q Station Hotel has taken over the historic buildings and everything has been done within strict heritage guidelines. Quirky and interesting it was a fabulous place to stay.

You don’t have to stay at the hotel to visit as it’s all part of a National Park. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney. You can get there by road or by ferry.

In my March release Harlequin Romance Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride, Gemma and Tristan approach the area by boat and swim on the adjoining beach. It really is a gorgeous part of Sydney.

Have you ever stayed or visited anywhere with a creepy history? Or felt something scary in a historical place? Or like me, didn’t sense a thing! Please comment—I’d love to hear about it!


  1. Sounds beautiful, Kandy! But, I might have been a bit scared, but then I scared of almost everything.

    I didn't believe in ghosts until I stayed in a castle in Scotland which was owned by a friend. A very normal friend, but the family swore that a ghost lived in the tower. The ghost would regularly throw things around the room. Now I'm not so sure about ghosts!

    1. That must have been quite creepy Jen, I'm not sure I would have slept a wink if I thought a ghost was throwing things around!

  2. Hi Kandy

    You know I have lived in the suburbs of Sydney all of my life and had heard many stories about this place but never visited I should one day I am sure the grandkids would love to go :)

    I don't think we have ever stayed in a place reported to be haunted and if we have I have not felt anything but I will be adding this to my bucket list I need to visit :)

    Have Fun

    Happy anniversary

  3. Thanks for the anniversary wishes, Helen. You must visit the Q Station, it really is interesting. There's a nice cafe there too and a private beach. The tour they do is fascinating.

  4. Happy anniversary Kandy! I've also stayed at the Q Station, and did the tour the next day and had lunch down at the quarantine dock. Fantastic atmosphere, so interesting! And million dollar views. I loved it, and read the history book in the room - also fascinating.

    1. It's really wonderful, isn't it Malvina? I actually bought the book and brought it home, so much interesting history.
      Thank you for the anniversary wishes!

  5. What a gorgeous hotel, Kandy! Definitely sounds worth a visit. And a lovely location for an anniversary -- happy 27th (!) anniversary. :-)

    I've stayed at Varuna in the Blue Mountains and it's rumoured that an ex-resident sometimes appears in the main bedroom...and I've met someone who has claimed to see him, but there didn't appear to be any ghosts in my part of the house (thankfully).

    1. Thank you for the anniversary wishes, Michelle.
      I'm wondering is the ghost at Varuna the ghost of a writer - I believe Varuna is/was a writer's retreat!

  6. What an interesting place, I had never heard of it before. Looks like a gorgeous area. Also, happy anniversary!!

    I don't think I've stayed anywhere that was supposed to be haunted, but I think it would be fun. Not creepy at all :D

    1. Thanks for the anniversary wishes, Stefanie.
      I wasn't creeped out all, even on the ghost tour I did there a few years ago. Maybe if it was reputed to be a violent ghostly visitation I might think differently!