Cockatoo Island Family Camping
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Hop on the ferry and absorb the remarkable convict and maritime history of Sydney Harbour’s largest island. Once a convict prison and a dockyard for shipbuilding, today Cockatoo Island features immense industrial workshops, prison barracks, underground grain silos, tunnels and two magnificent docks. Sydney kids will love exploring Cockatoo as they discover the island’s spooky convict prison, giant cranes and historic ship-building machinery. There is an always changing and very interesting program kid’s activities for children aged 7-12, including self-guided activity trails, and guided workshop programs.
There is lots of room to run around and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies for adventurous kids to explore. If your active family still needs to burn off some energy, you can hire the island’s tennis court ($10 per hour, $5 for racket hire) for a game. With arguably the best view from a tennis court in Sydney, the Cockatoo Island grass court is a beautiful location for a match with views of the city and Harbour Bridge. Bookings are essential. If your kids are happy to walk for an hour and a half, the guided tours of the Island every Sunday are a great addition to a day trip.
One of the most special features of Cockatoo Island is its camping facilities from Glamping (a luxury camping experience) to a more basic camping package, an overnight stay here is an amazing experience for the whole family and prices start at only $35 a night. You can even hire houses on the Island for a fun family group get together.
Ellaslist Opinion: Cockatoo Island offers your family a glimpse of Sydney as they’ve never seen it.You can totally escape the city with a 15 minute ferry ride to this fascinating island with extraordinary views, interesting views and great facilities. It is a fantastic way to spend the day-with plenty of old buildings to explore, boats to watch, and family friendly activities to keep the whole family entertained. And in the summer months (from October), there is even the fabulous Island Bar where mum and dad can enjoy a cheeky cocktail at the end of a long day of exploring.
Admission is free. Fees apply for overnight camping and for some tours and activities.
Facilities: Most areas of the island are accessible with a pram, though keep in mind that the island is an industrial heritage site so some of the surfaces are uneven. Baby change facilities are available. The Canteen is a licensed café located just past the main entry archway on your left as you step off the ferry at Parramatta Wharf. It offers a range of very good food with views of the harbour. Or, bring a picnic, relax and enjoy the views from one of the island’s great picnic spots. Electric BBQs near the Campground on the lower island are available for public use.
Getting there: Sydney Ferries run public services to Cockatoo Island every day. Plan your arrival and departure in accordance with ferry timetables. Or you can catch a water taxi to the island.
Places to visit nearby: Catch the ferry back to Circular Quay and you are in the perfect location to visit many of Sydney’s top spots. The Rocks, Opera House, MCA and Botanic Gardens to name a few.
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