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Tours of Cockatoo Island

Looking for things to do in Sydney? Journey back to Cockatoo Island’s storied convict and maritime eras – or dare to step into the supernatural realm – with our program of history and paranormal tours.

The program caters for different ages, interests and personalities – from history buffs and ghost seekers through to families and seniors’ clubs. Our tours are also a great opportunity to discover iconic landmarks, including heritage buildings rarely opened to the general public.  

Book tickets for one of our regular guided tours, request a private tour for your group or drop by our visitor centre to pick-up a headset and map for our self-guided audio tour.

Regular tours

Our Dark Past and Ghost Tours are a staple of our weekend program. Meanwhile, our Convict Escape Attempts and Sandstone to Steel Tours are running every week for a limited season…

Ghost Tour (18+)

Cost: From $45 | Duration: Two hours | Available: Friday and Saturday nights commencing 23 January 2021

As the witching hour approaches, embark on our popular Ghost Tour and journey into Cockatoo Island’s supernatural realm. As you search for ghosts and explore historic buildings rarely open to the public, our guide will share macabre true stories and hair-raising paranormal tales, including reported hauntings. Feeling brave? Book our ‘Overnight Fright’ package! After the tour, we’ll screen a horror film in the Convict Cinema and you’ll spend the night in our campground.

Dark Past Tour (all-ages)

Cost: From $15 | Duration: 90 mins | Available: Saturday nights commencing 23 January 2021

Secrets. Scandals. Skeletons... Cockatoo Island has its fair share of all three. Discover for yourself with our intrigue-filled Dark Past Tour. As you visit iconic landmarks and buildings from different eras, including the convict workshops, Dog Leg Tunnel and Biloela House, our guide will blend history with mystery to captivate your imagination!

Convict Escape Attempts Tour (all-ages)

Cost: From $15 | Duration: 90 mins | Available: Saturdays commencing 23 January 2021

Cockatoo Island wasn’t always an idyllic getaway. This lively, all-ages tour will introduce you to a line-up of brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape notorious Cockatoo Island’s penal establishment (1839-69), including fabled bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. As you explore the island, you’ll hear about successful and ill-fated escape attempts involving disguises, sewers, shark-infested waters, stolen boats and a volley of bullets.


Sandstone to Steel Tour (all-ages)

Cost: From $15 | Duration: 90 mins | Available: Sundays commencing 24 January 2021

Want a crash course in Cockatoo Island's storied history? Book tickets for Sandstone to Steel. This all-ages tour charts the changing face of Cockatoo Island. As you visit key landmarks, our guide will reveal how they fit into the island’s historical narrative. They will also share anecdotes about a colourful cast of real-life characters.

Self-guided tour

Journey through Cockatoo Island’s complex and layered history at your own pace with our engaging Audio Tour…

Audio Tour (all-ages)

Cost: $5 | Duration: approx. 90 mins | Available from the visitor centre commencing 23 January 2021

Featuring an informative narrator, immersive sound effects and archival interviews with former workers and residents, our self-guided Audio Tour paints a vivid picture of the island’s bygone days across 26 audio stops. Visitors can rent the Audio Tour handset from the visitor centre between 10am and 4pm daily. No booking required. 

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Arrange a tour

We accept private group bookings for all our regular tours. Plus, our Convict Precinct and Lower Island Tours are currently available EXCLUSIVELY for private bookings...

Cost: Varies (From $15 per person) | Duration: Varies (45-120 mins)|  Available by request

Lower Island Tour (all-ages, accessible)

As you explore the lower island, including the cathedral-like Turbine Shop and convict-built Fitzroy Dock, our knowledgeable guide will share stories and anecdotes that paint a vivid picture of the island throughout the ages. Suitable for groups with less mobile members.

Convict Precinct Tour (all-ages)

In 2010, the Cockatoo Island Convict Site (1839-69) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List with 10 other heritage sites nationally. Our guide will lead you through the turbulent history of the former penal establishment, stopping at iconic landmarks including the convict workshops and gaol.

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Other tours

Cockatoo Island is just one of the extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour protected by the Harbour Trust…

Visit the Harbour Trust’s website to discover tours of other heritage sites including North Fort in Manly, Sub Base Platypus in North Sydney, Macquarie lighthouse in Vaucluse and Georges Heights in Mosman.

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