A night of good food, good wine and seriously good ghost stories.
The lights of Q Station shine bright as the water taxi speeds across the heads of Sydney Harbour. Rain pelts against the windows causing the view to bleed and warp together, but from the glimpses you can make out – impressive doesn’t begin to describe it. This place is straight out of the pages of a gothic novel.
Every building has a story, a secret and maybe even a ghost or two.
Q Station, which operated as Sydney’s Quarantine Station for well over a hundred years, is one of those unique sites where the gap between the past and the present doesn’t seem quite so substantial, or at times, really there at all. As you walk down the iconic wharf, you can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for those who arrived here as early as 1833 – however I think it’s safe to assume they didn’t have a six-course degustation to welcome them.
The Winter Wine Feast was the second installment of the Boilerhouse Culinary Dinner series hosted by Ambassador Chef Matt Kemp and James Robson of Ross Hill Wines. In the warm glow of the Boilerhouse Restaurant nestled in the beautiful Quarantine Bay, diners were presented with six incredible courses of fresh seasonal produce along with matching wines.
In the true spirit of the shared dining experience, meals were placed in the centre of each table. Under the charismatic guidance of Matt, guests were instructed on how to plate up their own delicious servings. The fillet of Palmer’s Island mulloway with savoy cabbage, smoked pork belly and celeriac was a definite highlight, as was the eve’s pudding with rum and raisin ice cream – for those who still had room for dessert!
After a night of great company and wine (the 2014 Ross Hill ‘Pinnacle Series’ Chardonnay deserves a special mention) most guests rolled on up the hill to one of the 84 guest rooms on site. While some of the buildings may be over 100 years old, the accommodation has been elegantly restored. Though after plenty of ghost stories and a dark, rainy journey back to your room, it’s OK to admit if you kept one or two lights on throughout the night…
Q Station just happens to be one of the most haunted sites in Sydney. There’s a range of History and Ghost tours available suitable for children through to those brave enough to attend paranormal investigation nights and ghostly sleepovers. The history of the Quarantine Station is genuinely fascinating, and with over 30 hectares of Sydney National Park to cover, it’s well worth exploring the site with a guide. From the old shower blocks and hospitals to the grand dining halls and restored three-bedroom cottages, every building has a story, a secret and maybe even a ghost or two. So, is it really haunted? You’ll have to visit and find out for yourself.
The next installment of the Boilerhouse Culinary Dinner series titled Meet Your Maker will be held on September 24, 2015. These shared table dining experiences are based on Ambassador Chef Matt Kemp’s philosophy of showcasing a range of fresh seasonal produce that offers something for all tastes.
By Elisa Parry
t: (02) 9466 1500
a: 1 North Head Scenic Drive, Sydney Harbour National Park, Manly NSW 2095
Photo credit: Gavin Little