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School Camping Trip

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Cost
  • Unpowered Camping Site – $35 per night
  • Camping Package – $70 per night
  • Deluxe Camping Package – $104 per night
  • Free tents for teachers and supervisors (details below)
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Transport
  • Ferry
  • Coach
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Meeting Point

Visitor Centre, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW

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Owing to its layered history and strong, continued ties to the First Nations, Cockatoo Island is the perfect camping spot for your school, scout or youth group.

Formerly a convict penal establishment, reformatory school and naval dockyard, our UNESCO World Heritage listed island features structures and relics that tell stories of bygone eras.

There are opportunities for students to exercise their imagination, participate in outdoor activities and engage with the living history of the island. Plus, our waterfront campground features excellent amenities students and teachers, including hot showers and a sheltered kitchen with barbeques, boiling water, fridges, microwaves and seating. To booking a camping trip for your school, scout or youth group, download and complete our booking form (also included in the Teacher's Information Pack). 

Options

We offer school groups, including teachers and supervisors, three camping options, catering for different needs and preferences.

Camping Site Only (BYO Tent): Provide your class with an authentic, DIY camping experience. Our unpowered 4m x 4m camping sites represent an opportunity for students to collaboratively pitch a tent. [Note: Up to four people permitted per unpowered camping site.]

Camping Package: Alternatively, we can provide you and your students with pre-erected 2.4m x 2.4m twin-share tents, capable of accommodating up to three people each.

Deluxe Camping Package: Teachers and supervisors can combine their love of the Great Outdoors with their desire for a truly hassle-free excursion. Our Deluxe Camping Package includes a pre-furnished 2.4m x 2.4m for up to two guests as well as luxurious toiletries courtesy of Appelles Apothecary.

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Rates

  • $35 per night for an unpowered camping site (BYO tent, maximum of four students per unpowered site)
  • $70 per night for a Camping Package (incl. twin share tent).
  • $104 per night for a Deluxe Camping Package (incl. twin share tent)

Note: Unpowered camping sites and Camping Packages are available to teachers and supervisors free of charge.

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Plan Ahead

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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, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo as well as from wharves along Parramatta River. For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website.

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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.

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Cockatoo Island is a pedestrian and cyclist friendly public domain, meaning vehicle usage is restricted to essential deliveries and services. Vehicles, with the exception of golf carts, are not permitted for personal transport. If your group is planning to bring a vehicle onto the island, the vehicle operator must first complete a vehicle site induction and seek approval from the Harbour Trust. This involves reviewing our Vehicle Induction Pack and emailing your request – together with a completed Vehicle Site Induction Record Form – to stay@cockatooisland.gov.au. This process is designed to make the vehicle operator aware of the rules to follow when operating a vehicle on Cockatoo Island.

 

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If you are planning to barge supplies, equipment or vehicles, to and from Cockatoo Island, you must first seek approval from the Harbour Trust. Our approval process involves consideration of the challenges of barging supplies, equipment and vehicles, to and from Cockatoo Island safely and efficiently.

Public ferries operating to and from Cockatoo Island are for passengers and general luggage only, and should not be used to transport materials and large equipment. The ferry service provider may refuse entry to groups carrying large quantities of goods, materials or equipment.

A barge contractor may be employed to transport equipment to and from Cockatoo Island if they apply to use the island’s roll-on/roll-off slipway. There are currently two experienced operators who service Cockatoo Island from the Harbour Trust’s mainland barge facility at Woolwich (email stay@cockatooisland.gov.au for details). The Woolwich slipway is available for use by barge operators between 7am and 4:30pm, Monday to Saturday.

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Extras

Sundry food items, toiletries, camper packs and sleeping bags can be purchased from our Visitor Centre. The following items are also available for hire:

  • Sleeping mats – $5 each
  • Raised camp bed – $10 each
  • Pillows – $5 each
  • Towels – $5 each

What To Bring

Depending on the camping packages you have selected, we recommend you and your students bring the following:

Camping Package: Sleeping bags, pillows, a torch, food, non-alcoholic beverages, cooking utensils, cutlery, plates and personal items. Ear plugs are available from the Visitor Centre.

Deluxe Camping Package: Food, non-alcoholic beverages, cooking utensils, cutlery, plates, personal items and a torch. Ear plugs are available from the Visitor Centre.

Camping Site Only (BYO tent): A tent, sleeping bags, pillows, torch, food, non-alcoholic beverages, cooking utensils, cutlery, plates and personal items. Ear plugs are available from the Visitor Centre.

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What to Do

Education programs

Enhance your school camping trip by booking one of our interactive primary and secondary school education programs. Each program meets the requirements of several key syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum and is designed to foster enquiry-based learning. Critically, students will have fun as they engage with Cockatoo Island’s layered history.

Haunted History Tour

Secrets. Scandals. Skeletons... Cockatoo Island has its fair share of all three. Discover for yourself with our all-ages Haunted History Tour. As students explore the island’s atmospheric landmarks, our guide will blend mystery with history to captivate their imaginations.

Outdoor activities

School groups can shoot some hoops at our harbour-side basketball court, test their wits with a game of novelty-sized chess, kayak the island’s shoreline or partake in one of our addictive vintage lawn games.

Additional Info

Amenities: Our waterfront campground provides students, teachers and supervisors alike with access to toilets, hot showers and a communal kitchen featuring sheltered facilities. These include barbeques, boiling water, fridges, microwaves, a vending machine and seating for up to 50 people.

Food: For a care-free stay, we offer a range of convenient meal options for campers. For more information, see our FAQs page.

Accessibility: The campground is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible shower and toilet available. Please note: tents have a step to enter, which is not suitable for wheelchair access. To discuss accessibility, contact stay@cockatooisland.gov.au.

Helpful Links

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