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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2012
Active RetireesTM | 23 TRAVEL DOMESTIC We are told that the Hospital is still haunted by a territorial former matron who will brook no criticism of the cleanliness of her facilities, as well as several former patients. Guides report seeing people in the beds, feeling or hearing ‘presences’ and walking through ‘cold patches’, apparently a sure sign of a ghost. In the end though, the best the Hospital wing could offer my little band of spectre-seekers was a light shining in a window high up on an abandoned building. Surely, it was just someone wandering around the attic of an abandoned building carrying a lantern, right? Feeling like a through-and-through sceptic (which isn't altogether bad when the alternative is to be too scared to go on), I follow the ghoul- hunters to the mortuary. Stories abound about the room where autopsies and experiments were performed and bodies stored but, apart from the harsh smell of phenol and the amount of spine- tingling I would expect when looking at an autopsy slab, there was no excitement to be had there. Slightly disappointed, slightly relieved at the lack of ghostly matrons, flashing lights, occupied hospital beds and other assorted frighteners, we head down towards the wharf for a drink and dinner. Telling tales It turns out ghost-hunting is a bit like fishing; the small spine- tingles, recounted over a drink at the Engine Room Lounge, grow larger with each telling, and it seems there may even have been a ‘cold patch’ or two wandered through along the way. Over dinner upstairs at the Boilerhouse, some admit to seeing lights and feeling the occasional eerie ‘something’. None of us really had a scared- out-of-our -skin moment, but it was a creepy, fun jaunt before dinner nonetheless and a great talking-point. Although we didn't meet any face-to-face, the tour was also an engaging way to take in the sometimes gruesome history of 19th-century Sydneysiders.•• PADDLE Setting out in a kayak from Q Station is simple; the hotel can arrange for one to be brought to the shore for you and, from there, you can paddle around in the relatively calm waters, keeping an eye out for the many little penguins that call North Head home. The super-prepared who bring a dry-bag with picnic supplies will be rewarded with a private harbourside lunch on one of the small, sandy and mostly deserted beaches. RIDE Cycling tours of Manly cater for riders of all levels of experience. Two-hour guided tours run daily, taking in the Sydney Harbour National Park and beaches, and along the way riders hear all about the history of one of Sydney’s favourite coastal spots. EAT There’s no shortage of fabulous food in Manly. At the more expensive end of the scale, Garfish’s wood-roasted crustacean menu is perfect for a special occasion dinner for seafood lovers. There are also two brewery restaurants vying for your tastebuds: Murray’s Brewery, an offshoot of the original Port Stephens institution, and Four Pines Brewing Company, named for the four pine trees removed from the Manly foreshore to make way for machine guns during WWII. On the taps when I visited Four Pines were five handcrafted beers, all of which carry awards from the Sydney Royal or the Australian International Beer Awards. Both serve great pub food – not too expensive but filling and tasty. And of course, no visit to Manly is complete without wandering the beach with an ice-cream. WHILE YOU'RE THERE !Q Station hugs the coast in the Sydney Harbour National Park, making it the perfect place for a paddle. @ The wharf precinct holds some of the oldest (and most haunted!) buildings.
Active Retirees Oct-Nov
Active Retirees Feb-March 2012