4 Islands in Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour is home to many beautiful secret places. And few such secret places are the islands in Sydney harbour. They are great spots to have picnics, snorkel and spend a day enjoying the spectacular views. These islands in Sydney have cultural and historical significance in shaping this city.

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4 Islands in Sydney Harbour

Cockatoo Island

History

Cockatoo island is the biggest island of all the islands that reside in Sydney Harbour. It is one of the sites that have been declared by UNESCO World Heritage as Australian Convict Sites. This island was used for keeping the convicts in the early days, but was later converted into shipbuilding industry.

How to reach?

Ferries run between Cockatoo Island and Circular Quay/Barrangaroo Wharf/Parramatta Wharf. These are operated by NSW Transport and they run between 6 AM till 9 PM. Opal card is to be used and the cost to get there by ferry is around AUD 6.12.

Admission fee

No admission fee to the island.

What to do?

  1. Fiztroy Dock and Sutherland Dock – Both these docks are open for public to walk around and see where the ships were repaired. The factory and slipway are open too.
  2. Lookouts and Convict’s mess – There are plenty of lookouts to view the breathtaking views of the harbour.
  3. Grass tennis courts – There are grass tennis courts and they can be hired for AUD 10 per hour.
  4. Camping – One can spend a night at the Cockatoo Island camping. They have a variety of options for stay and it ranges from AUD 45 to AUD 360.

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Fort Denison/Pinchgut Island

History

Fort Denison, also known as Pinchgut island, is a heritage fort in the harbour. It is a small island which was once under attack from US friendly fire in WWII. It is definitely a top tourist attraction and it provides 360 degrees views.

How to reach?

Closed for maintenance and is scheduled to open in late 2019.

Admission fee

No admission fee to the island.

What to do?

  1. Fort Denison museum
  2. Martello Tower – It is Australia’s only Martello tower and don’t forget the winding staircase to the tower. It is said to have been built in 1840s.
  3. Cafe – It is a great place for a quick snack and tasty lunch.
  4. Firing of 1 PM cannon

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Goat Island/Port Jackson

History

Goat island is an heritage listed site. It was used for storing gunpowder. Over the years, the Goat Island served as a quarry and a convict stockade. It is also known as Memel or Me-Mel in aboriginal language, and it means the eye.

How to reach?

Booked through the tour. Costs about AUD 40 per adult.

Admission fee

Inclusion in the tour.

What to do?

  1. Heritage Tour – There is a heritage/convict tour that was run to provide insights and history about the convicts that stayed on the island. The tours can be booked on National Parks website.

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Shark Island

History

Shark island is the island, just about 1 kilometre opposite to Rose Bay. The aboriginal name for Shark Island is Boambilly. This island has a history of being a dangerous island for both swimmers and ships. There have been a number of shipwrecks and drownings.

How to reach?

Ferries operated by Captain Cook run between Shark Island and Circular Quay. They are run on weekends and school holidays. The cost to get there by ferry is around AUD 20 round trip per adult (includes the admission fee).

Admission fee

There is an admission fee of AUD 7 per person.

What to do?

  1. Picnic spot – Definitely, grab your lunch and head to the island to have a delicious lunch with a view.

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4 Islands in Sydney Harbour

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19 Comments

    1. Australia is my husbands fav and much wanting holiday destination. We were waiting for our kids to grow a bit so we can enjoy with them. Thanks to such a beautiful introduction to some nice islands which I will pin so I remember wen we plan our visit.

  1. I did not really know there were 4 islands to visit from Sydney. Definitely something to remember for my next visit. Good to know that some of the islands are accessible by the ferry. We did love using the ferries to move along the shore. Great to see Sydney from different perspectives.

  2. I was in Sydney for 1 month around but missed these places. It would be great to see these lovely islands at Sydney harbour. Cockatoo island looks historical and good to know it is UNESCO listed island which is interesting. Shark island looks adventurous types as it has witnessed many shipwrecks and not advisable for swimmers too.

  3. Sydney is a dream destination and for good reasons. Thanks for this lovely comprehensive coverage of the islands around and the tips. Goat island looks special. I love the fact that there are not too many people and the serenity of the islands.

  4. Umiko

    I never knew there are small islands around Sydney Harbour until I read your post. Seems like both Fort Denison and Goat Island are great destinations for taking the kids to learn pieces of Australian history. And I would like to sleep in a tent in Cockatoo Island just for a night. Looks like a nice things to do.

  5. It was good to learn about the Sydney harbour, as I have not visited Australia yet. The Cockatoo looks interesting. I would love to go for the Fort Denison. Hoping for times to get better when we can all start exploring places like before, better prepared and more cautious.

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