You might never have heard of Cockatoo Island in Sydney – But it’s great!

Cockatoo Island, located off the coast of Sydney, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has become a cultural landmark of Australia, and is known for celebrations and festivals as well as tons of activities.

The island has even been a filming site for several major movies, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

With all these incredible features, it’s surprising that this island has remained the Sydney traveller’s secret!

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In the past…

Cockatoo Island used to be a prison for second-time offenders in Australia, and was then converted into Australia’s largest shipyard.

It operated from 1857-1971, and became a landmark in the harbour. Now, its unique history continues to make it a major attraction for anyone visiting the area.


Cockatoo Island has become a destination site – visitors can see the dockyard, shipbuilding complex, and other functions and structures of the shipyard.

You can even check out the Shipyard Stories exhibition, see a steam crane demo, or visit the workshop to see the island’s machinery being restored! 

In addition, it has become a cultural landmark; all kinds of celebrations and festivals are held at Cockatoo Island, including the Cockatoo Island Festival, the Cockatoo Island Film Festival, and the Underbelly Arts event.

There are also several contemporary art exhibitions and installations that are frequently presented at the island.


In addition to the festivals and celebrations mentioned above, Cockatoo Island is also known for its New Year’s celebrations; the island is the perfect place to watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks.

You’ll be able to camp, barbeque or picnic, and just hang out with your friends.

In addition to the countless festivals and celebrations, there are lots of things to do at Cockatoo Island on a regular basis. My favourite is the Biennale of Sydney where art lights ups the island!

You have a huge variety of options for tours; you can take a convict history guided tour, group tour, or audio tour. You can even watch a few informational videos.

One of the island’s more unique features is easily the giant chess game; this outdoor feature is too entertaining to pass up!

Also, don’t forget picnic or barbeque with a beautiful view of Sydney, or play some tennis or basketball in the beautiful weather – any of these activities are perfect for your next day trip.

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Planning your trip

Since the island does not have an entrance fee, it is the perfect place to visit any day of the year. The island is easy to access by using a ferry, and there are plenty of places to stay on the island; you can stay in renovated houses and apartments, or you can even go camping!

Whatever type of trip you have in mind, this island has the perfect accommodation for you.

Ready to go?

When you visit Cockatoo Island, you’ll be able to picnic, barbeque, and explore the island in one of Australia’s most beautiful areas.

With the island’s beautiful weather and views as well as unique Australian accommodation and activities, it is the perfect place to spend time with your travel friends.

Have you been? Thinking of going? Let me know in the comments below!


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