Located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, the island is the largest of several that were once timber covered sandstone knolls.
Originally, the island peaked at 18 meteres above sea level and was 12.9 hectares.
However it has subsequently been enlarged to 17.9 hectares and is mainly devoid of vegetation.
Over its history, Cockatoo Island has served as both a prison for the colonies as well as Australia’s largest shipyard.
Listed at a National Heritage site, due to the abundant Australian maritime history on the island, Cockatoo Island was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
Cockatoo Island: Accommodation
There are a few accommodation options on Cockatoo Island. The premier accommodations on the island are the Heritage Holiday Houses.
These houses were once the island’s medical officer and the engineering manager. Now, they make for beautiful rental properties for guests.
They come beautifully furnished, fully equipped with a self-servicing kitchen and a number of other luxury amenities.
The houses have a fantastic view of Sydney Harbour. There are also three different apartment options to choose from, the Harbour View Apartments, the Garden Apartment, and the Fire Station Studio.
The Harbour View Apartments were once the residences of the Launch Driver and the Coxswain of the island.
Now they are three wonderfully restored properties, each accommodating up to four guests. The apartments can also be opened up to create one, large apartment for large groups.
The Garden Apartment is a semi-detached, self-contained two-bedroom apartment that can accommodate up to four people.
This apartment has a large enclosed garden and views overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Once the fire station, the Fire Station Studio is now a comfortable studio apartment with a deck overlooking Sydney Harbour. The studio also contains a full self-containing kitchen.
If you want a more outdoor accommodation experience on the island, there are also glamping and camping options as well.
The campground will give you access to a communal camping kitchen with ten BBQ areas, fridges, microwaves, and a boiling water system. Cooking utensils, cutlery, and plates are not provided, so be sure to bring your own.
It also provides a number of items for hire, just in case you forget any of the camping essentials. The glamping tents come in a normal, “two-bedroom,” and mini options.
For traditional campers, the sites are 4×4 metres and can accommodate up to four people at each site.
Cockatoo Island: What to Do
Cockatoo Island provides a number of activities, making it the perfect escape in the heart of Sydney.
The island is the perfect place for maritime or convict history enthusiasts.
There are number of self guided tours on the island, allowing residents to really get a feel for the history on the island and what the island is all about.
Additionally, there are a number of outdoor attractions at Cockatoo Island, whether it is kayaking, swimming, hiking, or just taking in the fantastic view the island provides over Sydney Harbour.
The island is serviced by ferry from Sydney. The ferry runs regularly from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour.
The island also has boat moorings for those who might want to travel there on a boat of their own. A fee is required for private boat mooring.