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“Fantastic, unique experience...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cockatoo Island Camping

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Cockatoo Island Camping
Sydney Harbour | Woolwich, Sydney, Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, Australia   |  
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Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“Fantastic, unique experience...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2010

We are a family with children ages 13, 11 and 6. We live in Sydney but had never been to Cockatoo Island. We finally took the plunge in January and were so impressed. Its five star camping - basically you arrive to a good quality erected tent with airmattresses and chairs. You just bring your sleeping bag (not necessary in summer), pillow and esky. We had a lovely lunch at the cafe when we arrived. Bought a bottle of wine for dinner. Spent the afternoon touring the island - there is so much history and you are pretty much allowed free reign. We also did some swimming in the harbour. We were really impressed with the lovely bbq area and shower/toilet block. Its as close to 5 star camping as you get. My only gripe was the uncomfortable air mattress - buts that probably me being a princess, and novice camper. Its an absolute must-do whether you live in Sydney or are visiting. And its so cheap - we were looking at other options on the harbour and it was minimum $500 per night - this was $180 for 2 tents with all the equipment.

Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
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55 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2009

Cockatoo Island was a fun experience for our weekend 'roughing it' in the city.

First the not so good ... we were a group of six adults and four kids, so booked four tents + an extra camp pack for two of the kids (only enough for two people with each tent booked). We had a slight problem with the extra stuff booked, as the website couldn't seem to handle it, and my friend had to call the Cockatoo Island booking number, only to be told that it had to be done online, couldn't do it over the phone; very annoying. Anyway, when we checked in, we found that our booking had an extra tent site (just a plot, no tent) and no extra camp package. My friend was made to feel quite stupid, even though she'd done everything she'd been told to by the woman on the phone, including writing a comment in the box provided.
A little argument ensued, which spoiled our first impressions. Anyway, we eventually sorted it out, packed our gear onto the trolleys and headed up to the campsite to settle in.

The tents were surprisingly spacious, and had enough room for two adults plus storage room for bags etc. The chairs supplied were REALLY comfy, and the sleeping mats OK, seemed to depend on which one you got; some were more padded than others. The fours kids were packed in like sardines, not that it seemed to bother them !

The camp kitchen area was spacious, with plenty of undercover tables and chairs, and I think six barbies and two fridges for the large number of people who we shared the campsite with; I think there were around 40 or so tents occupied while we were there in mid February.

In addition to the camp kitchen, there are 10 or so shower/toilet cubicles in a large amenities block. Not sure why, but most of us couldn't get the showers to work properly; they were on a push button timer, and we could only get them to stay on for about five seconds which made for a pretty chilly shower. I wouldn't recommend staying in winter for this reason, plus the amenities block was pretty 'airy'.

An unexpected annoyance was the large number of helicopters flying down the river every 10 minutes or so, this went on all day and into the night, I think the news choppers use the river for navigation or something. We were also disturbed by aircraft noise which went on until late at night. Definately bring earplugs as mentioned on the website, it was the only way we could get to sleep.

The walks around the island are excellent, well signposted and safe, with amazing views. Lots of interesting bits and pieces to checkout. There are also old houses being renovated into guest accommodation, and I imagine these would have very picturesque views once they're completed.

You can't take alcohol onto the island, but it can be purchased at the cafe; not a huge selection but enough to get by, just a little pricey, I guess they have a captured audience. The cafe food was yum, particularly the brekkies. There was also an atm next to the cafe but it was closed most of the time we were there, made things a little difficult as the cafe only accepted cash.

All in all, we enjoyed it, even though the weather wasn't fabulous and we had overcast skies most of weekend; there were plenty of laughs and lots to do for both the adults and kids.

I'd recommend if you booked in the warmer months, took earplugs, a pack of cards ... and a sense of humour !

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cockatoo Island Camping

Address: Sydney Harbour | Woolwich, Sydney, Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Sydney > Cockatoo Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Cockatoo Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
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