Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO's world heritage site, historically been used as shipyard, industrial school, and convict prison (yikes).
Access is pretty easy and convenient, by ferry or water taxi (ferry is more economical).
The island is now open for public and you can even spend the night in one of the few options of accommodations. As part of our office's end of year Christmas get-together, we opted to book several waterfront tents (A$175 for 1 bedroom tent).
Aptly named 'glamping' (glam camping?), the tents already contain sleeping mattresses, clean linen, and toiletries. There are also cheaper tents available where people can bring their own sleeping bags.
Shower & toilets are communal, but they are clean and modern.
Kitchen is also communal but very well maintained. Well sized fridges and BBQs are also available - true to the Aussie spirit.
There are also several options available for the hungry mobs. We opted to go to the Island Bar, as they are the only one that open until 9-10 p.m. ish, and their pizzas are pretty awesome (ok, we were famished).
I have to say, the charm of the island is how quiet it is despite being so close to the mainland (only 7 minutes ferry ride from Darling Harbour). To stroll around the grounds and to learn about the history and the days when it was utilized as prison and shipyard is a different experience for me. (the island was also used as shooting location for Wolverine and Unbroken)
|Used to be kitchen for the prison|
|Relic from shipyard days...|
If you are a tourist visiting Sydney and have a couple of days to spare, Cockatoo Island will be quite a good and different destination. If you live in Sydney and haven't been - what are you waiting for. :)