Cockatoo Island Family Camping

  • Toddlers

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, clifftop grain silos, tunnels, and two magnificent docks. Kids will love exploring Cockatoo Island as they discover its spooky convict prison, giant cranes, and historic ship-building machinery. There is an always changing and very interesting program of activities for kids, including a free Talking Object Tour and a free kid's activity booklet featuring outdoor challenges (available from the Visitor Centre.)

There is lots of room to run around and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies for adventurous kids to explore. If your kids are happy to walk for an hour and a half, the guided tours of the Island (available every weekend) are a great addition to a day trip.

One of the most special features of Cockatoo Island is its waterfront campground. From basic and deluxe camping through to the Premium Waterfront Package (glamping), an overnight stay here is an amazing experience for the whole family, with prices starting from just $50 a night for a fun family group get-together.

Cockatoo Island Camping
A fun-filled family adventure awaits at Cockatoo Island!


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 history, 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 we love the fabulous Marina Café & 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 stays, tours, and for some 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. Cockatoo Overboard is a licensed café located just past the main entry archway on your left as you step off the ferry at Cockatoo Island Wharf. It offers a range of very good food with views of the harbour.

It's also worth checking out Marina Café & Bar. Head to Camber Wharf in the historic Docks Precinct (accessible via the Eastern Apron) to arrive at this relaxed, family-friendly venue. In addition to coffee, breakfast, and lunch, they serve wine, cider, and craft beer on tap. 

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 Transport for NSW 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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