Sydney Harbour Islands: A Great Day Out


Sydney Harbour is a stunning harbour.

Dotted through the harbour are islands that offer a great day out, and even the chance to stay overnight. To get to the islands you need to either take a ferry, or a water taxi.


These are some of the isalnds you can explore in Sydney:

Shark Island

This island is located at the mouth of Rose Bay in the eastern part of the harbour. Until 1975 it was used as an animal quarantine station and naval storage depot. It is surrounded by shallow waters. It has picnic shelters, a gazebo and a wading beach.

The ferry service runs 4 trips each day from Circular Quay on Saturdays and Sundays. It is recommended that you reserve a place in advance as the island can only cater for 500 people at a time.


Clark Island

This island, located off the tip of Darling Point in the Eastern Suburbs,  is named after Lieutenant Ralph Clark, a marine on the First Fleet, who tried to cultivate a vegetable garden on the island. The crops were repeatedly stolen, and he abandoned the idea. The island offers views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  

The island offers natural bush, with pathways leading to quiet areas for picnics. The number of visitors is limited to 150 at any one time, so bookends are essential. Contact the Sydney Harbour Visitors Centre below to find out information on transport and bookings.


Fort Denison

This small island, close to the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay, can be seen from Mrs Macquaries Chair. In the early days of Sydney it was used as a place of punishment for the convicts. Later a fort was built on the island to protect Sydney Harbour.

Fort Denison is open seven days a week for lunch at the cafe, and for picnics with a tour group. There are two tours daily to Fort Denison. Tours can be booked by visiting the Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre, located in The Rocks.


Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is the largest island in the harbour, and is the only one that you can camp on. It has a rich history, from being a convict prison to an industrial school for girls to being a large shipyard. Many of the original buildings and shipyards are still intact, and visitors can wander through them.

Tents can be hired, or you can bring your own. If you hire a tent sleeping mats and chairs are included. A stay on the island makes for a truly unique experience.

The island is serviced by a regular ferry service.


Travel tip shared by David Rutter

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