Across Australia there are plenty of locations that market themselves as either Australia’s Most Haunted, or at least up there as a place that anyone interested in the paranormal, or even the possibility of seeing a spirit manifest itself needs to finish.
But, in the day and age where technology is on hand to be able to easily fake reviews, or actual occurrences at these reportedly haunted locations as someone interested in this sub genre that helps make up the overall horror genre right here in Australia – how can one the ‘average Joe’ be certain that the location they are scouting is actually worth spending your hard earned money – especially looking at some of the prices certain Ghost Tours charge to partake on an evening tour.
The team here at Horror Australia have decided to embark on the long and tedious journey of attending all of these major ghost tour locations so that you don’t have to, with the view of returning right here to the Horror Australia website and provide you with an honest review.
First and foremost as everyone who is interested in the paranormal and spirit world knows and understand that these are ghost tours and not going to the zoo. Meaning that spirits can not be summonsed on demand and what we may or may not experience on one tour may not be the experience for the tour immediately after us.
To kick off our reviews we headed to a place that many regard as the most haunted place in Australia, featuring on many paranormal research television shows including the highly popular Ghost Hunters International. The North Head Quarantine Station in Sydney.
In order to be able to accurately provide the best possible, unbiased review to our audience here at Horror Australia we always send a minimum of two representatives on our behalf. One of our in house skeptics, and someone who is on the fence about their beliefs.
This is in the hope of validating any experiences and providing the opportunity to review potential evidence, and/or experiences to try and find a reasonable explanation for anything that may have happened during the tour.
Horror Australia does not provide our establishment at any point in the booking, waiting or tour process to help ensure that nothing can be done to ‘set’ things up prior to our arrival in order to provide for a better review.
The North Head Quarantine Station
The North Head Quarantine Station is a series of heritage listed buildings located on the north side of Sydney Harbour. It operated as a Quarantine Station from 14 August 1832 through to 29 February 1984 and was aimed to ensure that anyone arriving by boat to join the colony, as it was known at the time, were disease free.
The Plague, Small Pox, Spanish Influenza and Tuberculosis were just some of the diseases that were being brought ashore after an at least five-week journey from various ports around the world including the United Kingdom to the new colony.
A confirmed 600 people are buried at the North Head location as a direct result of the diseases that had been transmitted either on board or shortly after arrival on shore – however this number is expected to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Due to poor record keeping it is believed, based on the amount of passengers that came ashore, the diseases that they were battling, and the percentile of deaths due to such diseases and illnesses that as many as 5000 people met their end at the station without the opportunity to embrace the new life in the colony they had travelled so far to get to.
Let the Fun and Games Begin
Upon arriving at the Quarantine Station, which is open during the day for historical tours if you want to learn more about the location itself, as well as operating family friendly ghost tours and even paranormal investigative tours, you are greeted by friendly and informative staff at the reception kiosk at the entrance to the historic location itself.
There are courtesy vans on location – however these seem to be only for those who have invested the money to stay overnight at the location. One of our reviewers have suffered many sporting injuries over the years and yet upon arrival – at the designated time – they were handed a map with directions drawn on how to reach the meeting point for the tour.
While there are magnificent views of the Sydney Harbour and the skyline itself the constant downhill walking, and large amount of stairs – which were once a mini train line to transport the luggage of those arriving up the hill – immediately put a strain on the injuries and made for a slower walk.
Although this is how their system operates – considering you are about to walk up and down hill for the next 2.5 hours as part of the ghost tour it was agreed by both of our reviewers that it would have been fantastic to be offered the opportunity to catch one of these vans down to the meeting point – however this wasn’t a major draw back, and was absolutely nothing against the friendly and informative staff that had greeted you.
Once you finally reached the bottom of what felt like the never ending staircase you were greeted by the Boiler Room – the QStations onsite restaurant. It was no surprise that the staff here were also professional, friendly and welcoming.
Only two things were noted here about the pre-tour, that being a Kookaburra nearby flew down from where it had been sitting watching approximately 40 people eat to grab a piece of bacon directly off the plate of a diner nearby while he was still eating.
While you cannot blame wildlife the fact remains that this animal had touched other items on the gentlemens plate while he was still eating and as he brought it up to staff they just smiled and had no intention of replacing any part of the meal whatsoever – which immediately turned our reviewers off from ordering a meal.
Wildlife cannot be blamed, and neither can staff, but after all the warnings you receive of the diseases that they hold within the location would make anyone worried about eating anything that has been near some of the wildlife – and from a business point of view our reviewers agree it would’ve been good to see staff offer to replace the diners meal.
Putting behind the Kookaburra incident our reviewers decided to get something small to eat, after all they were there to see the ghost tour not rate the food. However, despite the menu looking absolutely delicious – and perfect for anyone wishing to go to that somewhere special for a meal – the first things they ordered they were told would not be cooked that evening.
After a simple plate of hot chips to have something on their stomachs before a 2.5 hour walk was decided the way to go, however unfortunately the A-La-Carte menu was not being cooked that evening and all the other meals were too massive to eat before embarking on their trek.
Adding to the disappointment was seeing almost every other meal coming out of the kitchen to waiting diners carrying a side of chips.
It was decided that we would not name the Tour Guide in this review, primarily because it cannot be guaranteed that you will get the same tour guide as our reviewers received and in order to give you an honest review of the Q Station we don’t want to get your hopes up about this fantastic tour guide if others are not the same.
Considering that all staff our reviewers made contact with were professional, friendly and informative we are sure the other tour guides are as knowledgeable, informative and entertaining as the tour guide our reviewers were able to have.
But to give credit where it was due, our reviewers both agree that the tour guide truly took the tour to the next level. And so if you turn up to the tour and you see that your guide is dressed in black and looks like a red headed Thor (slightly less muscles and without the hammer) then you are well and truly in for a treat.
However, as previously stated don’t be disappointed if red headed Thor is not your tour guide all staff members as the Q Station know their job, are professional and friendly and so no doubt the other tour guides will make your tour at the Q Station a memorable one.
After getting the group together Red Headed Thor went through some important OH & S rules, however presented what would normally be a ‘boring’ but important speech – much like the emergency procedures prior to take off when flying somewhere – in an exciting and entertaining manner, which helped to keep your attention and know just how serious everything else.
Some important rules – do not swing the lantern, do not touch the nozzle to turn your lantern light up or down as you will either turn yourself into a walking grenade or risk having the glass explode in his face at the end of the night – none of this really mattered after it was decided that we would not be using lanterns due to a drunken bridal party nearby who were going on their own private tour and our tour guides efforts to get us as far away from them as quickly as possible so that they would not ruin our night.
Another important OH & S reminder before the tour started being due to the landscape we were exploring, listen to him when he asks us to watch out for bumps, steps, cliffs and items of that matter due to the amount of incidents they have had in the past.
Also if you see a stick on any of the paths, do not pick it up – especially if the stick is already moving.
While presenting in a fun, yet educational manner, it is worrisome to think that the QStation have had to add these discussions to their policies and ‘routine’ at the start of the tours for a reason – yep some bright spark has swung his kerosene lit lantern, someone has picked up a Brown Snake, and people have turned themselves into human grenades by playing with the lantern flame level.
So our reviewers do not wish to ruin the stories you are told on the tour, as these go a long way to setting the scene for what you are about to enjoy over the next 2.5 hours and so we will skip the ramblings of the history and the stories of the spirits that are reportedly at the site and will just directly to the fun stuff – the experiences.
While nothing was captured on camera, it is important to note that our reviewers only used a simple iPhone camera as to not walk around with some bulky ‘look at my camera’ type of thing and potentially draw attention to why we were there – although both agreed that if they were to return to the QStation to update this article in the future that they would probably opt to bring one now knowing what they know.
In the first room you enter one of our reviewers experienced getting a headache, something he didn’t have prior to entering the room, however, using the rational side of his brain explained this as being hot and stuffy, no ventilation and fifteen other people standing beside you in pure darkness.
It was the second room you entered on this particular tour that things started to heat up for the pair as one felt dizzy, some pins and needles and suggested that someone was walking around the room – despite all members of the touring group standing against the wall. The skeptical reviewer suggests that there was a lot of shuffling for a group that was meant to be standing against the back and two side walls and due to the room being in pitch darkness you can not rule out someone from the tour actually walking across the room.
Upon entering the ‘new’ hospital and hearing the stories associated with it the attention of our reviewers was taken from the entertaining tour guide to the darkened room where both saw streaks of light flashing across the room in different directions.
One of our reviewers reported getting the eerie feeling of being watched, while movement was witnessed in the same darkened room as the light streaks, however, the rational side once again came in that it could be a trick on the eyes considering you were in a somewhat dimly lit room looking into a room with no light source whatsoever.
A trip to the morgue was on the cards and despite another eerie feeling no abnormal feelings were sensed with the best thing to be seen the stain of a dead body from many years ago (insert). Unfortunately they were forced to paint over blood spatter on the wall as it was deemed inappropriate to show school aged children when they went on the tour.
Finally, the last place on the tour was the shower block – reportedly the most haunted building on the property. Upon entering you immediately get an eerie feeling, something both reviewers agreed upon.
Our believer amongst the group reported becoming separated from her reviewing partner, while our skeptic is still attempting to explain how upon walking down the isle of showers he looked into each shower lot counting them along the way and could see straight through to the far wall – yet upon making the turn and heading on the other side of the showers halfway along one of the doors that separated the showers was now closed – a door he saw opened on his original view.
This was an experience both reviewers agreed opened their eyes and raised a number of questions they are still attempting to find plausible answers for.
All staff were welcoming, friendly, and informative – and despite some little issues pointed out earlier in this review such as the walk, and food situation, the trip to the Quarantine Station was unique.
The tour guide was fantastic, his booming voice and ability to tell the stories involving the history and reported paranormal activity at the location was second to none.
Horror Australia, and our reviewers, highly recommend this if you are in Sydney and looking for a ghost tour to undertake.
“This is great value for money, and the historic value alone is worth the price of admission,”
Horror Australia has awarded the Quarantine Station ‘Ghostly Encounters’ tour FOUR ZombieRoos out of a possible FIVE.
You can book your tour via phone or on the QStation website.