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Once upon a time this place used to be a working quarantine station. In fact, it was in operation for more than 150 years. From 1828 onwards, ships in Sydney Harbour suspected of carrying people with smallpox, bubonic plague, cholera and Spanish flu, were diverted to North Head, Manly. Passengers were forced to stay at the quarantine station until they proved well.

Yep, it’s a bit of a quirky honeymoon pick, but stick with us!

The Q Station, as it is now known, is part of Sydney’s vast and vibrant history. If you’re considering Sydney as your honeymoon destination and you’re after a bit of a different experience, you’ll probably really enjoy staying here. This place has come along way since its quarantine days, and was converted into luxury accommodation on 2008. Whether you agree with that decision or not, it’s hard to deny that the accommodation is super stylish and inviting, with that heritage feel you’d expect from a site like this.

The original first and second-class quarters have been sensitively adapted to create the rooms, yet have a contemporary style. They all offer the mod cons – queen-sized beds, flat-screen TVs, on-demand video, wifi and ensuite bathrooms. Being perched on top of a hill overlooking the ocean means you get all the best breezes and of course, the glorious afternoon sun. You can enjoy this from the extensive timber verandas, where you can pull up a seat, relax and take it all in.

There’s also the Boilerhouse restaurant, which serves contemporary cuisine for lunch and dinner. Then you can pop on over the Engineroom bar for a drink. It’s a great spot as it overlooks Quarantine Beach. Breakfast is served in the original second-class dining room. Other facilities include a lounge with Internet access in the old gentleman’s first class smoking lounge, and a massage centre in a building that once served as family accommodation.

If you’re looking for some history and want to hear some thrillingly spooky stories, there are ghost tours. And boy, are you in for a treat with these! There’s a range to choose from, but we reckon the Spirit Investigator tour would be unreal because a medium walks around with you! Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, you’ll still feel creeped out and wonder if it was the wind making strange noises and brushing up against the back of your neck. Or perhaps it was something a little more ghostly…

Ghost tours not your thing? Not a problem. There are also other activities like bike riding, swimming, bushwalking and kayaking. Q Station is also a good place to stay for access to Manly. Stroll down the hill (or take the bus) and you’ll find the famous Manly Beach, lots of restaurants and bars, activities like surfing and rollerblading, plus there’s also the ferry that will take you over to Circular Quay. Once there you’ve got endless options – stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, scope out the shops at The Rocks, snap heaps of pics of the Opera House, visit museums and art galleries… you name it, you’ll find it in Sydney. And when you’re finished with the hustle and bustle of Manly and the city, all you need to do is wander back up the hill to your quiet and serene accommodation with the phenomenal view. Ahh, sounds good, doesn’t it?

Whether you’re a Sydney-sider who doesn’t want to travel far, an Aussie who hasn’t visited the big smoke before, or one of our fab overseas readers itching to sink their feet into Aussie soil, you’ll all find something truly special at the Q Station. It might be the view, the haven feel, the history and heritage or even the ghosts… whatever it is; your honeymoon sure won’t be dull!

PS – They also do weddings if you’re interested.

Photos from Q Station

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By the time we ‘got around’ to organising our honeymoon, it was timed to coincide with our one year anniversary. Because we’d spent 6 months travelling around Europe in a motorhome just before we got married, all we wanted to do after our wedding was ‘nest’ – especially as we’d bought our first home and moved in two weeks before our wedding.

We decided to go to Vietnam – I hadn’t spent much time in Asia, although Ryan had been some 7 years earlier. We originally wanted to go somewhere remote with no crowds and a lot of nature (like Alaska) but it wasn’t the right weather for it. So I’m not sure why we decided to go to Vietnam if we were trying to avoid crowds and pollution… first mistake.

I also convinced Ryan to wing it and not book any accommodation or internal flights before we went, or even plan where we were going to go – I’m SOO organised in my daily life that I love to travel with no plans. He hates it. But decided to humour me just this once. I think the second mistake was me thinking that a 2 week holiday was the same as a 6 month backpacking trip.

So the long and short of it was that it wasn’t a very relaxing or restful honeymoon, but it was filled with interesting experiences and all we really cared about was spending time with each other. We’re not the typical touristy couple who likes doing museums and lying by the beach, so in that regard it was up to our adventurous standards. The honeymoon in bullet points is as follows:

  • Eating dry bread rolls on both flights, as even if you put yourself down as vegetarian, you apparently have to confirm 3 hours before flying…
  • Learning to successfully cross roads that are teeming with crazed scooter riders and not dying in the process – tick.
  • Drinking great vietnamese coffee in Ho Chi Minh.

  • Eating copious amounts of lemongrass and chilli tofu and vegetarian spring rolls.
  • Spending more time with our noses stuck in a guidebook trying to figure out where to go next than experiencing where we currently were.

  • We didn’t even wet our toes in the ocean after making some poor choices to go north too quickly, where it was not very warm…
  • Hoi An was fantastic for getting clothes custom made, but on reflection, we should have got more!

  • We had to move hotels due to…hair from a certain body part….in our pillowcases…in Hanoi
  • After a 4 hour bus trip, we got turned around at Halong Bay due to fog. Which then ruined the next week of our trip that we’d planned to spend in an eco resort on an island. And we missed out on seing one of the natural wonders of the world! And our bus got hijacked by angry men on the way back to Hanoi, much yelling and crazy driving…
  • No rays of sunshine in the whole two weeks due to overwhelming pollution, didn’t expect that funnily enough.

  • A backup plan of traveling to Sapa in the mountains was also fraught with troubles, being abandoned at train stations, rooms not being reserved, the punches kept coming! On the upside, Sapa was amazing, the views were breathtaking, the hikes brilliant, and we spent a great one year anniversary in an eco hut on the side of a terraced rice paddy…
  • Scouring the markets in Hanoi for vintage scissors and metal scales that the Vietnamese used for everything from vegetables to meat to cloth (to use as postage scales for my Etsy store, they were perfect).

All in all, it was great to experience such a country as Vietnam, but I think we should have stuck with our original idea of solitude and wide open spaces… but all I really needed was one handsome husband and I was a happy lady, no matter where we were. 😉

All images from Marnie and Ryan’s collection

Ms Gingham says: It’s not all strawberries dipped in chocolate for Marnie and Ryan on this honeymoon but I bet they’ll have some killer stories to tell their grandchildren. Not only that but these amazing photos too!!

Marnie says: “I am an environmental scientist who has developed a passion for all things vintage during the course of organising our wedding – so much so that I have started an Etsy shop for vintage and industrial decor. Nothing like a creative side venture to keep things interesting!”

Make sure you read all about Marnie and Ryan’s Vintage Country Wedding on Polka Dot Weddings too!

Marnie and Ryan's Country Vintage Wedding

Mr Polka Dot took a beautiful snapshot on a trip to Vanuatu which he shared here… and if you’re like me then the image in your head of Vanuatu is one of flowers in your hair, sarongs, crystal clear waters and cocktails. So what the heck is this guy doing?

It’s called land diving and basically it’s bungee jumping but with vines. During the months of April, May and June, there is a ritual that takes place in the southern part of Vanuatu in which men jump from 30 metre high towers with vines tied to their feet. The ritual is said to be performed to ensure a good harvest. The vines are at their most elastic at this time of year ensuring that they don’t snap. Quite important really.

The ritual which is ages old and is called the “Nagol” or “N’Gol” was brought to the Western world’s attention when David Attenborough and a BBC film crew captured it on film in the 1950s. Queen Elizabeth travelled to Pentecost, Vanuatu in 1974 to witness the ritual. Tragically, a man died during this ritual as it was performed too early in the year and the vine gave way.

Today, it’s a very popular tourist attraction and if you fancy checking it out, you can get more information here.

Photography via Vanuatu Travel