We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“The most surreal place in Australia” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island
Book In Advance
More Info
$62.09*
and up
Balmain Pub Walking Tour
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Off-limits to the public for more than one hundred years, Cockatoo Island welcomes you to a new chapter in its long and illustrious story. Retaining all its character and heritage from decades of human endeavour by convicts and shipbuilders alike, Cockatoo Island has opened its doors to all, with a mission to re-energise history. Now a place to escape the everyday, a canvas for creatives and cultural events, the world’s first urban waterfront campground and beautiful holiday accommodation, Cockatoo Island has undergone a renaissance in every sense of the word.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“The most surreal place in Australia”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2014

Cockatoo Island is a large island with great views of the rest of Sydney. It used to be a heavy industrial centre, a prison and is also an art centre. It is also a camping centre with a large number of tents.

It's easy to get to by ferry from Circular Quay and it is a great place for a young child to run around and explore. There are big industrial buildings, interesting bits of machinery, tunnels, hills to climb and we were lucky to visit two days before the Biennale Festival - with its strange art exhibition - which involved 'keep fit' equipment making surreal things move - making a purple fountain spurt, gongs to chime and lots of strange things to move.

There's good refreshments - a great bar with a great view and Captain Sausage was great with kids. Avoid the first cafe - not at all child friendly.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Paul_Odtaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CockatooIsland, Manager at Cockatoo Island, responded to this review, May 25, 2014
Thanks Paul_Odtaa for your comments about your recent visit to Cockatoo Island, we are pleased you love it as much as we do!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

630 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    278
    247
    64
    19
    22
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
72 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A bit of history, a bit of funky town!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

Cockatoo Island is becoming a must-see part of the Sydney tourism experience, especially with events like Biennale regularly centring their activities there. You can see parts of Sydney's history ranging from its convict past to recent industry, and the very funky Island Bar is a great place to enjoy a comfy chair, a nice view and great pizza, along with watching the young and beautiful in their early evening mating ritual!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Ray W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CockatooIsland, Manager at Cockatoo Island, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Hi raywel, thanks for your awesome comments about your visit to Cockatoo Island! We agree, the island is definitely a must see tourism experience and we love hanging out at The Island Bar too. We hope to see you again soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Amazing history”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2014

I will get the problems out of the way first:
On arrival the couple in front of us paid $5 for a family ferry day pass. we were charged $24 for one stop (from Woolwich) because we didn't "have a child with us" - go figure! Then there was the Biennale - is a mock gym class or a video of a waterfall really art???

However, once away you get into the island properly it is one of the most interesting history spots on the harbour, from a prison for the most hardened of convicts to a boat yard with amazing old machinery in many cases left "as is" The hand carved storage silos were also amazing - far more so than anything else that was going on.

And then to finish it all off a perfect setting for wine and pizza at the Island bar.

Highly recommended - just wait until the Biennale has finished and take a child with you!!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Alan3767
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CockatooIsland, Manager at Cockatoo Island, responded to this review, May 25, 2014
Hi Alan3767, thanks for your comments about your recent visit to Cockatoo Island, we are pleased you enjoyed learning about the history of the island and The Island Bar,its a great place to spend the afternoon. Unfortunately we have no control over the public ferries and the fares they charge, but we hope to see you on the island again soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A harbour island country town that shuts down”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2014

Went for a glamping package recently on Saturday night only to find out that there in no food served on the Island after 7.30 pm. We decided not to bring camping food so we had to have the incredibly overpriced pizza at the Island Bar with our overpriced drinks. BTW you are not allowed to bring alcohol onto the island to no doubt prop up the fortunes of the Island Bar. You are also constantly reminded about making too much noise but that didn't stop the bar manager tipping 1000 bottles into a metal container at 1 am on Sunday morning. You can't argue with the setting, the views, the ferry ride and the heritage of the site but it is not something I will do again!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CockatooIsland, Manager at Cockatoo Island, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Hi David W, thanks for your comments about your recent stay on Cockatoo Island. We encourage campers to bring their own food to the island and have an awesome camp ground kitchen along with 10 BBQs available for campers to use. You'll also find on our website, all the food and beverage outlet opening hours, along with prices of the options. Cockatoo Island is a public space, so we don't allow campers or any day guests to bring their own alcohol onto the island, and we do ask everyone to keep the noise down in consideration of others.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tiburon, CA
Level Contributor
369 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2014

Reached by a ferry ride with great views from Circular Quay, this large island was home to part of the ( interesting ) Biennale bi-annual art exhibit, displayed in disused hangars, some still home to the original wartime naval equipment.
Not sure how interesting it would be without the art exhibit, which comprised avant-garde "installations"; however, we have learned that Australians don't always visit this type of site purely for the advertised attractions------they also visit to relax with friends and family, and that means pubs and cafes must be present, which they are, in abundance on the island.
The view from the restaurant at the top of the large hill on the island is splendid.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank nepenthium
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CockatooIsland, Manager at Cockatoo Island, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Hi nepenthium, thanks for your comments about your recent visit to Cockatoo Island! We are really excited to have the Biennale of Sydney on Cockatoo Island until June, and there's also the fascinating history of the island that you can learn about from the audio tour (available at the Visitor Centre) and the self guided journeys, which can be found in the visitor guide.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Cockatoo Island also viewed

 
Sydney, New South Wales
 

Been to Cockatoo Island? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing