ARNOLD AND BEATRICE REPORT
The island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, along with 10 other historic convict sites in Australia. These sites were documented as the best on-going examples of widespread convict transportation and the European power that encouraged the presence and labour of convicts.
Man has changed Cockatoo Island a lot both in history and modern times: constructing buildings (gaols, guard towers, etc.), cutting down flora to do so, Forming tourist destinations (information centres, restaurants, bathrooms, walking trails, water taxis, etc.)
Before 1788, the island was often visited by our beautiful yellow-crested cockatoos that we all love. The name of the island, however, has been understood to be a misleading as one, and there are next to no cockatoos.
As the only harbour island where you can stay overnight, Cockatoo Island boasts a unique offering of accommodation options, which was ideal.
Mini glamping was just perfect for us because we were very keen to camp out under the stars, glancing out at the stunning view, but sleeping on a mattress on the floor didn’t suit Arnold. And, unlike traditional camping where we would’ve had to bring the tent and stuff with us, with glamping it was all set up and ready to go. The package included a pre-build dome tent (about 2 and a half x 2 and a half), two camp beds with linen and towels and two sun lounges. These were for twin share so that suited well. There was a large camping kitchen is available which includes 10 x BBQ areas, a fridge, microwave and a zip boiling water system.
Water Taxi service
The island’s shuttles are specifically designed for wharfs and pontoons around Cockatoo Island to be easily accessible. Located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers in Sudney Harbour, Cockatoo Island is about 10 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay. The Cockatoo Island Shuttle can carry up to 12 passengers, which makes it ideal for a more personalised transport option to and from Cockatoo Island. However, when we ‘rode’ the water taxi, there were only about 5 other people besides us.
No alcohol to be brought onto the island
Alcohol purchased on the island must be consumed in licenced areas
No portable BBQs or lighting of fires
No smoking in buildings
Do not bring animals onto the island (except guide dogs)
Do not enter construction areas
Camp only in the designated campground
No skateboarding, inline skating or roller blading
No climbing on cliffs or historic structures
No fishing from the island or within the Exclusion Zone
No swimming outside the designated areas
Tours & Activities
We were keen to explore the island at our own pace, but really wanted to obtain a deep insight into the island, so in the morning we took an audio tour. Before long we were transported back in time, imagining the imperial prison, the reform school and the gaol. It was definitely well worth the experience.
After stopping in at the Island bar for lunch, Arnold and I were chatiing to a middle aged man and his family and heard that the Cockatoo Island Marine Centre was hiring boats. The family had just gotten off a luxurious, 4 hour boat ride. It had all safety equipment included, they could be hired for 2 hours to all day. No boat licence was necessary and that suited Arnold and I just fine. So 3 hour later, we returned from one of the most beautiful experiences of our trip.
The Island Bar:
We loved enjoying signature cocktails along with an Italian style lunch. And it was so scrummy, that we came back for dinner and and evening snack, while watching the sun go down over the elegant Sydney Harbour. The Island Bar had a small family friendly area which closes at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. After this time, no children under 18 are allowed access. Overall, the meal was exquisite, the atmosphere relaxing and the view absolutely spectacular.
On our second day, we experienced the joys of island-hopping. And goodness gracious! It was such a marvellous occasion! So we had woken up on Cockatoo Island, staring at the gorgeous blue of the skies and the delightful fluffiness of the clouds. The sun, was shining and we were- what is it they say?- pumped. We had planned a day of island hopping and weren’t quite sure what to expect, having to fit around about five islands worth of sight seeing in one day but we manahged it! Fort Denison, Shark and Clark to the east of the Harbour Bridge, and Cockatoo and Goat to the west – were open to the public.
CIAO FOR NOW!
ARNOLD AND BEATRICE