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High school programs

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  • $14 per student
  • Teachers and supervisors are FREE
  • Bookings accepted for groups of at least ten students.
  • Note: Price excludes cost of ferry travel.
  • Available Monday to Friday by appointment
  • Programs run for 2½ hours with lunch break
  • Ferry
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat
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Meeting point

Visitor Centre, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW


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Escape the classroom and head to Cockatoo Island with your students for an interactive learning experience.

Our two high school programs – Social and Maritime Case Study and History Site Study – each support several key syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum and have been designed to foster enquiry-based learning. Critically, students will have fun as they interact with historical artefacts from different eras and explore one of the most extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour.

Social and Maritime Case Study

Suitable for students studying history for their HSC, this program is an opportunity for budding historians to examine Cockatoo Island’s place in Australia’s historical narrative from a variety of perspectives. Leveraging the island’s extensive historical sources, students will develop an awareness of the validity of multiple viewpoints.


History Site Study

Through an evaluation of primary and secondary historical sources on Cockatoo Island, students (Year 7 to Year 10) will gain rich insights into Australia’s major social, political and technological developments. This program is complemented by post-visit activities that will further help students to hone their historical enquiry and writing skills, including their ability to use historical language, and identify and organise information using information and communication technologies, and organise information.


Plan ahead

Public transport arrow

Ferries: The easiest way to get to Cockatoo Island is by Public ferry. The F3 and F8 services operate to Cockatoo Island daily, departing from Circular Quay and Barangaroo as well as from wharves along Parramatta River. For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website.

Opal cards: If your group is travelling to Cockatoo Island by ferry, each person will need to be in possession of an Opal Card with sufficient funds. Alternatively, you can pre-purchase Opal One Day Travel Passes for their entire group. To arrange Opal One Day Travel Passes for your group, visit opaldaypass.transport.nsw.gov.au.

Parking facilities arrow

On-street parking is available for cars near the ferry wharves at Woolwich, Greenwich, Chiswick, Huntleys Point, Drummoyne, Birchgrove and Balmain. The Clarkes Point Reserve Carpark (access via Clarke Road, Woolwich) offers parking for coaches and is a short walk from the Woolwich ferry wharf.

First Nations disclaimer arrow

Our high school programs contain stories (and may contain images and/or visuals) of deceased people.

Island conditions arrow

Most areas of the island are wheelchair accessible; however, there is a steep incline from the lower island to the upper plateau, and – owing to the island’s industrial heritage – there are uneven surfaces as well as some buildings not accessible by wheelchair

What to bring arrow

Suitable walking shoes, sun protection, wet weather gear (if needed) and packed lunches.

Cancellations arrow


If you decide to cancel a booking, please provide 48 hours’ notice to avoid being charged a fee to cover casual staff costs.


Bookings for our high school programs will proceed regardless of weather conditions except in the event that ferry services advise against travelling to Cockatoo Island due to extreme weather conditions.

History tours (also available) arrow

In addition to offering high school programs, we accept private bookings from schools for our our Haunted History, Convict Precinct and Group History Tours. To arrange one of these tours for your class, please complete our school program form

COVID-19 safety arrow

School groups booked into an excursion at Cockatoo Island must ensure teachers and students:

  • maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from others;
  • have not travelled overseas in the last 14 days;
  • have not been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days; and
  • are not unwell and have not demonstrated any COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days.
Request a booking
To request Social and Maritime Case Study or History Site Study for your class, complete our school programs enquiry form.
arrowEnquiry form

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