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Visit Cockatoo Island

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Free Admission

  • Open seven days a week
  • Our volunteer-run Visitor Centre is open from 10am to 3pm daily.

See Disruptions (Plan Ahead) for relevant details.

  • Ferry
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, NSW

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Known as Wareamah by the Wallumedegal, Wangal, Cammeraygal and Gadigal Peoples, Cockatoo Island is a former convict penal establishment and naval shipyard, located in the heart of Sydney Harbour...

Cockatoo Island is a source of intrigue and inspiration for visitors owing to its heritage buildings, distinctive terrain and panoramic views. Popular attractions include heritage and campground accommodation, waterfront cafés and picnic spots, guided history and paranormal tours, and exciting seasonal events. Located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, Cockatoo Island is just a ferry ride away (See 'Getting here').


Plan ahead

Planning to visit? To ensure your time with us is enjoyable and hassle-free, refer to the below information ahead of your trip…

Getting here arrow

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. You can also visit Cockatoo Island by water taxi, private boat or kayak.

Private transport

Sydney Event Cruises offer private transport to and from Cockatoo Island for small and large groups. A luxury limousine and large charge vessel hire can be arranged for up to 300 people, enabling your group to arrive in style to Cockatoo Island via Camber wharf. Call Sydney Event Cruises directly on 0407 973 508.

Mooring and parking arrow

Boat mooring: Private vessels may use Camber Marina on the island's southern apron. Pay for casual berthing at Marina Café & Bar near the gangway. Overnight berths must be booked in advance by calling 9940 0172 or emailing info@cockatoomarine.com.au. Most boats to 42' can be accommodated but there are restrictions above 30' length and 10m height so call ahead to enquire about availability. Fees are $15 for 4 hours for a boat to 29'. Please visit cockatoomarine.com.au for details and overnight bookings.

Casual berthing for private vessels is offered at Camber Wharf, on the island’s southern apron, by the privately-run Cockatoo Boat Storage. To pay for casual berthing, head to Marina Café & Bar near the gangway. Overnight berths must be booked in advance by calling 9940 0172 or emailing info@cockatoomarine.com.au. Bookings are not taken for casual daytime berthing and berthing is normally available, with the exception of the New Year’s Eve period. Most boats to 40' can be accommodated but there are restrictions above 30' length and 10m height, so call ahead to enquire about availability for overnight reservations. Fees are from $15 for 4 hours for a boat to 29' and $35 for vessels 30’and above. Overnight berthing to 29’ is $65 and for vessels 30’and above is $95.  Please visit cockatoomarine.com.au for details and overnight bookings.

Car parking: Street parking is available near the ferry wharves at Woolwich, Greenwich, Chiswick, Huntleys Point, Drummoyne, Birchgrove and Balmain. Check signage for any restrictions. 

Disruptions arrow

Visitor Centre: Our Visitor Centre relies on the generosity and availability of our volunteers. While we endeavour to open from 10am to 3pm daily, we cannot guarantee the Centre will always be open. In the event our Visitor Centre is closed, the Audio Tour will be unavailable.

Tunnel closures: The Campground Tunnel, which links the Northern Apron to the Docks Precinct, is currently closed for repairs. Visitors seeking to travel to the Docks Precinct can do so via the Turbine Shop on the Eastern Apron or by walking around the island's Western Apron. 

Ship Design Precinct: Restoration work is taking place in Buildings 10 and 12 on the plateau in the Ship Design Precinct from 5 September until early March 2023. Access to the area around these buildings will be restricted, including walkways between the buildings and the ladies toilet. Please use the ladies toilet in the nearby Mould Loft until the work is completed.


Facilities and accessibility arrow

Island accessibility

Cockatoo Island is a former industrial site with cliffs and steep drops as well as occasional unmarked and uneven surfaces, voids, and trip hazards. For your safety, mind your step, wear appropriate footwear, stay alert for vehicles and construction activity, and monitor any children with you. The lower island is generally accessible by wheelchairs and mobility scooters; however, there are uneven surfaces, and some buildings are not suited to mobility aids. Further, accessing the plateau requires visitors to climb stairs and ascend rises. The campground is wheelchair accessible, with a dedicated shower and toilet available; however, tents have a step to enter, which is not suitable for wheelchair access. Priority works and major events may disrupt visitor access to areas of Cockatoo Island. Check our website for details and speak to our visitor centre staff for help, including alternative routes.


Cockatoo Island has wheelchair access, toilet facilities (including accessible toilets), vending machines, barbeques, showers, an Opal card top-up machine, a kitchen (for exclusive use by campers), free Wi-Fi (enquire at the Visitor Centre) and gold coin operated lockers. Located in the Muster Station, each locker contains power outlets for charging devices. Small lockers (20cm x 20cm x 40cm) are available $2 for eight hours or $4 for 24 hours. Medium lockers (30cm x 40cm x 60cm) are available for $4 for eight hours or $8 for 24 hours. Large lockers (55cm x 60cm x 90cm) are available for $8 for eight hours or $12 for 24 hours.


The Harbour Trust maintains public toilets at Cockatoo Island, and these facilities are listed on the Department of Health’s National Public Toilet Map. The toilets available at this destination are listed below:

Emergency and security arrow

Cockatoo Island is patrolled by rangers from 7am to 4pm and by security personnel from 4pm and 7am. In the event of an emergency, dial 000 or 112 if mobile reception is poor. To contact a ranger during an emergency, call 0434 652 153 (7am to 4pm). Alternatively, to contact a security officer, call 0433 632 791 (4pm to 7am).          

Visitor guidelines and FAQs arrow

Help ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors, by observing the following rules, enforceable by our rangers:

  • Conditions of entry: Do not fish, do not bring pets (except guide dogs) onto the island; do not smoke within buildings or within five metres of a café; do not littering or dump rubbish; do not erect gazebos or marquees (without a permit); do not operate remote-controlled vehicles (including drones); do not play amplified music (without a permit) or create excessive noise; do not undertake commercial activities (without a permit); do not hold private functions (without a permit); do not climb cliffs or on historical structures; do not ride or use skateboards, roller-skates, in line skates or similar equipment on Harbour Trust land. For further information, see: Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) Regulations 2021
  • Alcohol consumption: To prevent unsafe alcohol consumption and curb anti-social behaviour, alcohol rules are enforced on the island. Visitors (with the exception of apartment and heritage house guests) are not permitted to bring alcohol onto the island. Alcohol consumption is permitted at the island’s two licensed venues, Societé Overboard and the Marina Café & Bar. For further details, see: FAQs.      
Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find what you're looking for? Our FAQs page contains further visitor information. Topics include the consumption of alcohol, our bag check and photography policies, guide animals and the island's amenities

School holiday tour: Convict Sounds

Looking for a school holiday idea that will engage and excite your kids? Catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island and step back in time with our brand-new sensory experience!

Join us on Wednesday 12 April for our 'Convict Sounds' school holiday experience. For one day only, you will explore convict-era buildings while our knowledgeable guide shares historical anecdotes and prompts you to recreate sounds from the island’s former penal establishment. Tickets start from just $16 per person. 

Crooked Characters Cockatoo Island School Holiday Activity 1920X1080


Looking for things to do in Sydney? Cockatoo Island is a scenic destination where you can engage with Sydney's historical narrative as part of a day trip or overnight stay...

Stay a night (or longer)

Surrounded by landscaped gardens with sweeping views, our apartments and holiday houses marry heritage character and with modern amenities. Meanwhile, our campground represents an opportunity to sleep under the stars in the heart of the world’s best harbour.

Embark on a guided tour

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

Say “hello” to Cockatoo Island

Key objects and landmarks have been awoken at Cockatoo Island… and they’re eager to have a conversation with you! Introducing the 'Hello Harbour Trust' initiative.

As you explore the upper and lower island, look out for the turquoise "Hello" signs to kickstart a series of lively and informative conversations.


Enjoy a picnic or barbeque

Pack a meal and ascend to Biloela Lawn in the Historic Residence Precinct for unspoilt vistas. Alternatively, head to the Northern Apron Park on the lower island to use our free BBQ facilities, shaded seating and sprawling green space.

Campground kitchen (incl. shaded seating, BBQs, hot water, fridges, microwaves) also available for group bookings of up to 30 people at a cost of $250. 


Develop your orienteering skills

Are you a passionate orienteer or outdoor enthusiast? Explore Cockatoo Island – and enjoy a scenic workout – with Orienteering NSW’s program of orienteering courses.

There are four courses, catering for different fitness levels and experience. They range from 600m to 3.5km, meaning experienced orienteers can test their mettle while beginners develop their navigational skills. 

The courses commences at the Muster Station and can be completed with a copy of the orienteering map or the MapRunF mobile app (FREE)

Image credit: Tony Hill (photographer), supplied by Orienteering NSW

Pick up a kids activity book

Visiting with kids? Head to the visitor centre for a free activity book. Suitable for kids aged 12 and under, the book includes challenges such as Convict Clues and Ship Shape, which encourage interaction with the island's rich history. 

Discover Shipyard Stories

Located in Biloela House on the upper plateau, Shipyard Stories is an exhibition of archival imagery celebrating the island’s storied maritime history.

Shoot some hoops

Play a game of basketball at our harbour-side court, a short distance from the ferry wharf. Bring a basketball or hire one from the visitor centre for $5.

Exercise your brain

What’s better than playing a game of chess in your living room? Playing a game on our giant, outdoor chess board, surrounded by Sydney Harbour! Head to the island’s eastern apron, it’s your move! 

Watch movies

Located in the Convict Precinct, our Campground Cinema is an opportunity for campers to kick back in a plush bean bag and enjoy a free selection of films. The cinema can comfortably accommodate up to 30 people. Group cinematic experiences can be arranged through the Accommodation Team ($5 per person – includes popcorn).

Share campfire stories

As night falls, gravitate to the warmth of our campground firepit and share stories, both spooky and funny, as you enjoy flame-roasted marshmallows. Note: Marshmallow bags (including sticks) available for $5 from visitor centre.

Play vintage lawn games

A true test of hand-eye coordination and depth perception, corn hole is a game where players take turns attempting to throw beanbags into a raised hole. We also offer highly addictive variations on the classic ring toss game (Finska, Quoits and Hoopla) and Frescobal – a paddle ball game popular in Brazil. Games available at visitor centre.

Eat and drink

Cockatoo Island features two family-friendly cafés, both of which are licensed to serve alcohol...

Marina Café & Bar

Located alongside Camber Wharf, this harbour-side hangout exudes country-style pub charm. Relax with a beverage or coffee in the beer garden and take advantage of a diverse menu that includes gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options.

[Note: Café menu available daily, kitchen menu offered Thursday to Sunday​. Last kitchen orders are 60 mins prior to close, alcohol/coffee service ends 30 mins prior to close.]

Autumn trading hours
  • Mon to Fri – 9am to 3pm
  • Sat - 9am to 5pm
  • Sun – 9am to 4pm
Private functions

To book a private function, contact the Events Manager on 0457 571 610. For more info, email enquiries@cockatoomarinacafe.bar, call 1300 228 326 or visit the venue's website.


Cockatoo Overboard

Just a short stroll from the ferry wharf, Cockatoo Overboard offers diners an opportunity to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner – as well as a selection of hot, cold and alcoholic refreshments – as they take in an incredible harbour view.

[Note: Kitchen shuts 60 mins prior to close.]

Autumn trading hours
  • Mon to Thurs – 8.30am to 4:30pm
  • Fri – 8.30am to 5pm
  • Sat – 8.30am to 7pm
  • Sun – 8.30am to 4:30pm
Corporate events and private functions

For all café enquiries please call (02) 9555 5586 or email info@cockatoooverboard.com.au.

For all corporate, event and school catering enquiries please call 0434 372 260 or email hello@societecatering.com.au.

To order a BBQ pack, please click here



Cockatoo Island intersects the homelands of the Wallumedegal, Wangal, Cammeraygal and Gadigal Peoples, who inhabited the area for thousands of years prior to European settlement...

Cockatoo Island throughout the ages

Sandstone buildings and other remnant structures from the island's convict era (1839 to 1869) offer insights into the conditions endured by people who were exiled to Australia and put to work on the colony’s ambitious building projects. Meanwhile, the Industrial, Docks and Ship Design Precincts – together with Cockatoo Island’s towering heritage cranes – offer a window into the island’s storied maritime era (1857 to 1991). Since 2001, the island has been protected by the Harbour Trust. 

Google Arts & Culture

The Harbour Trust has launched a collection of immersive exhibitions on the Google Arts & Culture platform, meaning people can experience the island and other extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour anytime, anywhere in the world. Jump online and visit their collection to learn about the island's First Nations stories, towering heritage cranes and layered history.