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Learn at Cockatoo Island

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Featuring heritage buildings and landmarks from different eras, Cockatoo Island is a great place for children and teenagers alike to deepen their knowledge of Australia’s historical narrative.

Our school programs are an opportunity for the next generation to develop their historical enquiry skills, exercise their imagination, participate in outdoor activities and form lasting friendships.

Our engaging primary school programs are part of a lesson sequence, which includes teacher-led pre-visit and post-visit lessons. Lessons include direct teaching, activities and resources and are emailed to your school at the time of booking. The pre-visit lesson prepares students for the excursion, while the post-visit lesson aims to consolidate student learning. All lessons and resources meet the needs of a variety of learners and are linked to NSW Syllabus and Australian Curriculum Outcomes.

Our high school programs extend and consolidate historical learning through the careful consideration and investigation of stories and on-site learning opportunities. 


Primary school programs

Looking for inspired school excursion ideas? Escape your classroom and head to Cockatoo Island for a memorable learning experience...

Our three Stage-specific primary school programs – Making History (Stage 1), Convict Times (Stage 2) and Then, Now and Tomorrow (Stage 3) - support Key Syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum across multiple Stages and foster Enquiry-based learning. 

Unable to visit in person? We also offer Convicts, Crimes & Cockatoo Island, a 360° virtual tour for Stage 2 students. 

Primary School Tour Sandstone Convict Precinct Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour 1920X1080.jpg

High school programs

Interact with historical artefacts from different eras and explore one of the most extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour...

Our engaging high school programs – Social and Maritime Case Study (Stage 6) and History Site Study (Stage 4 & 5) – support Key Syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum and foster enquiry-based learning.

Beam Benders Northern Apron Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour 470X515

School camping trips

Owing to its layered history, Cockatoo Island is the perfect camping spot for overnight school excursions...

Enrich your next school excursion with an overnight stay in our waterfront campground, situated alongside Cockatoo Island’s historic Industrial, Docks and Convict Precincts.

Camping Tents Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour 650X550

Digital tours

Are you looking for an interactive, syllabus-rich learning experience that meets key learning areas AND engages stage 2 students? Book 'Convicts, Crimes & Cockatoo Island'...

Convicts, Crimes & Cockatoo Island – 360° virtual tour

Cost: $65 per class | Available: On demand | Audience: Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4)

Crimes & Cockatoo Island enables Stage 2 students to virtually explore our former convict prison (1839-69) using interactive 360° images and features. Your class will learn about the world events that led to the British colonisation of Australia and what life was like for Cockatoo Island's convicts.

Critically, students will develop historical enquiry skills as they examine buildings, listen to diary entries, and engage with other historical sources. The tour follows a linear format so it is easy to navigate and students are prompted to complete a worksheet as they progress.

Convict Times Virtual Excursion Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour 650X550

Unguided visits

We welcome school groups wishing to embark on a self-guided tour of Cockatoo Island... 

Ahead of your excursion, please register your scheduled visit using the form on this page. The information you share with us will be communicated to our rangers and visitor service staff so they can, in turn, ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable. 

Primary school Group Cockatoo Island Entrance Sydney Harbour 650X550