Trip Planner: South Pacific / Australia / New South Wales / Sydney / Cockatoo Island / Cockatoo Island
Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove River in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia.Plan to visit Cockatoo Island and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Sydney attractions using our Sydney holiday builder tool.
Cockatoo Island is the largest of several islands that were originally heavily timbered sandstone knolls. Originally the Island rose to 18 metres (59 ft) above sea level and was 12.9 hectares (32 acres) but it has been extended to 17.9 hectares (44 acres) and is now cleared of most vegetation. Called Wa-rea-mah by the Indigenous Australians who traditionally inhabited the land prior to European settlement, the island may have been used as a fishing base, although physical evidence of Aboriginal heritage has not been found on the island.
Between 1839 and 1869, Cockatoo Island operated as a convict penal establishment, primarily as a place of secondary punishment for convicts who had re-offended in the colonies.
Cockatoo Island was also the site of one of Australia's biggest shipyards, operating between 1857 and 1991. The first of its two dry docks was built by convicts. Listed on the National Heritage List, the island is significant for its demonstration of the characteristics of a long-running dockyard and shipbuilding complex, including evidence of key functions, structures and operational layout. Cockatoo Island contains the nation's most extensive and varied record of shipbuilding, and has the potential to enhance understanding of maritime and heavy industrial processes in Australia from the mid-19th century.
In July 2010, UNESCO proclaimed Cockatoo Island as a World Heritage Site, and has been managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust since 2001.
Cockatoo Island reviews
Cockatoo island was a spontaneous idea after walking the harbour and wanting to catch a ferry. The ferry ride is easy and breathtaking views. The island it’s self is a great little spot of history... more »
We stayed for two nights in the one bedroom Heritage Apartment which, from our very own private backyard, we had the most wonderful views overlooking Sydney harbour. The apartment had everything we... more »
What an amazing place to learn about Australian convict history. There are tours available but opted to explore ourselves. There is information in each section about the history and in certain places you can almost feel the inmates around you. Tons of incredible photography and video locations on the island too.
Such a beautiful place to stay Camping trip or just a day trip Facilities are fully equipped and lots of places to explore. Great for kids and families You get a awesome view of the Sydney city including Sydney Harbour Bridge. The sea gulls can be a bit aggressive but not much to worry about. Will definitely come back and stay longer 😀
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