Formerly a convict penal establishment, reformatory school and naval dockyard, our UNESCO World Heritage listed island features structure and relics from bygone eras. Thus, it is an ideal setting for students to exercise their imagination, participate in outdoor activities and learn about the living history of Sydney Harbour. We offer school groups, including teachers and supervisors, three camping options, catering for different needs and preferences (details below).
Our BYO tent option is an opportunity for your students to have an authentic, DIY camping experience and pitch their own tent. It includes an unpowered 4m x 4m site that sleeps up to four students.
[Note: For every ten unpowered camping sites you book, your school group will receive a complimentary camping site meaning teachers and supervisors can receive accommodation FREE of charge.]
Our standard camping package includes a pre-erected 2.4m x 2.4m twin-share tent that can accommodate up to three people.
[Note: For every ten camping packages you book, your school group will receive a complimentary package meaning teachers and supervisors can receive accommodation FREE of charge.]
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 twin-share tent for up to two guests as well as luxurious toiletries courtesy of Appelles Apothecary.
Sundry food items, toiletries, ear plugs, camper packs and sleeping bags can be purchased from our Visitor Centre. The following items are also available for hire:
Schedule an educational program or history tour, and engage in outdoor activities...
Enhance your school camping trip by booking one of our engaging primary and secondary school education programs. Each program meets the requirements of several key syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum and are designed to foster enquiry-based learning. Critically, students will have fun as they engage with Cockatoo Island’s layered history.
Please note: education programs and school camping will need to be booked separately.
Secrets. Scandals. Skeletons... Cockatoo Island has its fair share of all three. Discover for yourself with our all-ages Dark Past Tour. As students explore the island’s atmospheric landmarks, our guide will blend mystery with history to captivate their imaginations.
Please note: Dark Past Tour is not included with camping. Bookings must be made separately.
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.
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. The campground also feature a fire pit, located towards the slipways.
For a care-free stay, we provide campers with access to convenient meal options. The island’s family-friendly venues, Societe Overboard and Marina Café and Bar, operate daily, and school groups can take advantage of the campground kitchen facilities.
In addition, Societé offers catering to school groups. To discuss your group's dietary requirements, contact the café directly on 0434 372 260.
What to pack – Depending on the camping packages you have selected, we recommend individuals bring the following:
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 email@example.com.
Terms and conditions – Ahead of your stay, please familiarise yourself with our accommodation T&Cs.
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, Darling Harbour 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 – 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details). The Woolwich slipway is available for use by barge operators between 7am and 4:30pm, Monday to Saturday.
Looking to visit or stay at Cockatoo Island? Here are some useful links...