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Written by Tanmayee on May 26, 2020 Share on

The Historical And Mysterious Island Of Sydney – Cockatoo Island

Sydney has been symbolized as a vibrant and sophisticated city, home to stunning beaches, historical landmarks, breath-taking natural beauty, and amazing wildlife, award-winning restaurants, and famous fashion houses. 

Not only this, but Sydney is also a city brimming with a rich history. Sydney is home to several historical landmarks and events. If you’re a history buff, then you are in for a treat. Be ready to fall in love with Sydney and its history. Read further about one of the historical landmarks, that is different from the usual spots. This guide should also help you in planning your itinerary for your Australia vacation.

Cockatoo Island Sydney
Image source: Wikimedia

Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO world heritage site located at the intersection of Paramatta and Lane cove river in Sydney Harbour. Cockatoo Island has been a historically significant destination, which helps you understand the history and the tales behind the island. 

About The Island


By 1788, Cockatoo Island was originally called Wa-rea-mah (Women’s land) by the aboriginal Australians, Eora, who inhabited the island before the European settlers arrived. It was known to be used as a fishing base for the Eora.

Cockatoo Island Convict Building
Image source: Wikimedia

Between 1839 and 1869, Cockatoo island was used as a convict penal establishment to imprison the re-offenders. 

Cockatoo Island was also a site for shipment dockyard for a few years. Now, Cockatoo island has become a venue for arts and entertainment, hosting everything from Biennale of Sydney,  Australia’s largest visual arts event, to live music performances by famous artists. 

Things To Do

Join A Tour

This island is much more than just a historical site. Cockatoo Island has a fair share of secrets, mysteries and maybe ghosts. The island offers several regular and special tours for its visitors. Some of the regular tours are: 

  1. Haunted History Tour – This tour is suitable for all age groups. It’s a guided tour where you explore this historical landmark and learn about the history and the mysteries of this place. 
  2. Audio Tour – This is a self-guided tour where you will journey through the island with an interactive audio tour. 
  3. Ghostyard – A Paranormal Tour – This is an adult-only tour where you will embark on a journey in search of ghosts, while your guide entertains you with some ghastly true stories. 
  4. Overnight Fright Experience – This is yet another thrilling experience where you’ll journey into a supernatural land in search of ghosts, followed by a screening of a paranormal horror movie. You can then have a pleasant overnight stay at the campground. 

Overnight Stay

Cockatoo Island, comprises of beautiful scenery and breathtaking views. You can opt to stay overnight here. The island offers Australian heritage apartments and holiday homes with modern facilities. You can also choose to stay at campgrounds for a more exciting experience. 

Enjoy A Picnic

Cockatoo island makes a perfect setting for a picnic with your family. Pack a meal and have lunch at the Biloela lawn with greenery around and shaded seating. 

Play Games

Tennis court at Cockatoo Island
Image source: Google Images

If you have a whole day to spend, the best way to spend time would be to head outside and play a game of basketball at the Harbour court or a game of chess on the giant outdoor chessboard, or a game of tennis and some vintage lawn games. 


Every year Cockatoo island is home for several events. Some of the major events that take place here are: 

Biennale Of Sydney

This is a contemporary arts festival that takes place anytime between 14th March and 8th June. 

New Year’s Eve

New Year's eve at Sydney 
Cockatoo Island Sydney
Photo by Tom Hill on Unsplash

Cockatoo Island also hosts New Year’s Eve experience where you get to spend the biggest night in the heart of the harbour basking at the famous New Year fireworks 

Live Music Performances

If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, you can also go for live music performances that take place in the island. 

Getting There

The best way to reach the island would be via ferry. Take a ferry (F8) which departs regularly from the circular Quay. 

Visitor Information

Entrance Fee

Cockatoo Island does not have any entrance fees. 


It is open every day of the week from 6:00 A.M in the morning to 6:00 P.M in the evening. 

Inside Tips

  • Pets are not allowed. 
  • Alcohol is prohibited on the island.  

Do visit this historical and mysterious island during your trip to Australia. Plan your vacation to Australia with Pickyourtrail’s Australia Tour Packages

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