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NSW School Holidays

arrow READ: Our Top Five School Holiday Ideas (NEW)
The NSW School Holidays (4 to 19 July) are an opportunity for families to escape their local neighbourhood, enjoy a digital detox, and spend some quality time outdoors. 

Racking your brain for fun ideas? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! The Biennale of Sydney art exhibition recently opened at Cockatoo Island, meaning now is an ideal time to visit this extraordinary destination on Sydney Harbour. Here are our top five recommendations for the school holidays…


1. Book an island staycation

For an ‘in-tents’ experience close to home, check into Cockatoo Island’s waterfront campground. It’s an opportunity to watch the sun set and rise on Sydney Harbour, and to spend your evenings sharing stories around our outdoor fire pit. Plus, take advantage of our Biennale Staycation Deal to save 20% on a weeknight stay (T&Cs apply). Heritage Houses and Apartments also available.


2. Embark on an ‘artventure’

Cockatoo Island has been reimagined as an immersive contemporary art space for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN (10am to 4pm, daily). As you explore the various exhibition spaces, your kids will encounter dozens of eye-grabbing artworks, performance pieces and installations that will activate their imaginations and encourage them to consider diverse perspectives.


3. Journey back in time

Our free kids activity books, 'Convict Clues' and 'Ship Shape', are an opportunity for kids to have fun as they engage in historical exploration and 'time travel' to Cockatoo Island’s storied convict (1839 to 1869) and maritime (1857 to 1991) eras. Simply download and print these books ahead of your trip and bring along a pencil. PLUS: If your kids enjoyed Ship Shape, check out our Shipyard Stories exhibition, located at Biloela House on the Upper Island.



4. Eat at a harbourside hangout

Your kids are bound to work up a sizeable as they explore the island’s historic precincts, including the dockyard and former convict penal establishment, and engage with Biennale of Sydney artworks. Keep your energy levels up by refuelling at Marina Café & Bar (Camber Wharf), Societé Overboard (Eastern Apron) or pop-up burger joint, Mary’s On The Edge (Naval Store).


5. Enjoy our great digital content

Keep the kids entertained with our FREE Kids Corner activities, including colouring-in sheets, paper models and science experiments. While they’re busy, delve into the Harbour Trust’s growing library of DigiTales and become acquainted with some of Cockatoo Island’s colourful characters including prize fighter John Perry and champion swimmer Barney Kiernan.

Helpful links

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