EN language selector search
EN arrow Contact search

Convict Escape Attempts Tour

arrow Tour suspended
  • $16 per adult
  • $5 per child (12 and under)
  • Available during the NSW school holidays
  • Times to be confirmed
  • Ferry
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat
  • Kayak
meeting point.svg
Meeting point

Visitor Centre, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW

Google Maps

Today, Cockatoo Island is a popular escape for Sydneysiders and tourists alike. Rewind to the mid-1800s, however, and people were singing a very different tune.

That’s because – from 1839 to 1869 – the island was a notorious convict penal establishment, where inmates suffered through grim living conditions and backbreaking work.

This brand new, all-ages tour will introduce a line-up of brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape, 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.


Tickets for all scheduled tours are $16 per adult or $5 per child (12 years and under). Subject to guide availability, we also accept private bookings for groups of at least ten people. To arrange a private group tour, complete our enquiry form. Note: Private group tours are not available on Saturday nights. 

Single Column Escape Attempts Tour 01

Plan ahead

Content warning arrow

Although this is an all-ages tour, people under 18 must be accompanied by an adult as our guide will address potentially confronting.

First Nations disclaimer arrow

The tour contains stories (and may contain images and/or visuals) of deceased people.

Island conditions arrow

The tour involves a steep incline and some uneven surfaces, and it is not suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. A moderate level of fitness and mobility is required.

What to bring arrow

Suitable walking shoes and wet weather clothing (if needed).

Weather conditions arrow

This tour will proceed regardless of weather conditions except in the event of extreme weather.  

Terms and conditions arrow

Ahead of your visit, we encourage you to read the terms and conditions for this tour. 

Escape Attempts Single Column 01

Tour suspended

In light of recent Government advice surrounding COVID-19, this tour is being suspended until furthet notice...

Our priority is to limit the transmission of the virus and ensure the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff. We will review the situation regularly as advice evolves. 

N.Head Discovery 650X550

Helpful links

Looking to visit, stay at or tour Cockatoo Island? Here are some useful links...