Cockatoo Island Sydney: A Children’s Adventure Playground

“C’mon Jarrod! Let’s go look at this room in the building. My mummy is going to take us. You know Caroline”

Jared and Kalyra had been running in and around the old crumbling sandstone buildings, remnants of the military guardhouse, the first building built in 1839 on on Cockatoo Island.

Cockatoo Island for children

The Military Barracks

360 degree views of Sydney Harbour greeted us from each of the square holes in the walls where windows used to be.

views of Sydney Harbour

Beautiful views

Kalyra and Jared were squealing with delight in their exploration of the historic ruins and were eager to run off on us, just-as-curious adults, to see what they could find around the corner. Worried that might find a 50 foot drop off the cliff into the rocky harbour floor below, I chased after them.

We had not long arrived on Cockatoo Island, situated in the middle of Sydney Harbour, a World Heritage listed site which has been only opened to the public since 2007. It was no wonder I had not heard of this magical tourists attraction in Sydney.

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is a fantastic way to spend the day and appreciate the beauty of Sydney Harbour. It was once filled with red gums and frequented by sulphur-crested cockatoos, but sadly these have been replaced by the odd sea gull and buildings that over the years were  used to house convictss, a girl’s school and reformatory, and the navy for ship building and repairing.

Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour

The seagulls now stand watch over the Industrial Precinct

We found it was quite the children’s adventure playground. Sometimes we are so fixated on giving our little ones the latest barbie dolls, gadget and toys that we forget about the wonders that captivate them in our natural world.

Cockatoo Island Sydney

What else can I explore?

We moved from one building to the other and they squealed with delight each time “Look at this room. C’mon let’s dance!”

Kalyra dancing on Cockatoo Island

Let’s Dance

Their feet stomping and twirling on the old timber floor of the mess hall bounced of the cold, stoned walls of the famous sandstone rock that most buildings from the first settlement were made with. Their voices of song echoing back and fascinating them.

Cockatoo Island dancing

Getting into the Cockatoo Groove

The Plateau or upper level is where you find the majority of the old buildings as well as lodgings for overnight stays, tennis courts for hire and magnificent views across the harbour to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Cockatoo Island views

Plateau views over the Harbour

The lower level is for all the naval, ship building lovers. A walk can be taken around the dockyards to see the old workshops in the industrial precinct, the dog tunnel and the two dry docks.

Industrial remains

Industrial remains

Kalyra and Jared weren’t too interested in that. For them it was more about rolling down the grassy hills and running around the campground.

Cockatoo Island campground

Camping with views

For those who appreciate waking up to prime views of one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, then camping on the island should be on the list of your top things in nature to do. The stars wait to greet you with quiet solitude and peace.

Of course the children couldn’t help but love the delicious chocolate mud cake that we shared together over mummy’s coffee and views once again of the Coat Hanger that majestically stands guard over all of Sydney.

Cockatoo Island Cafe

Coffee and Cake with views

Cockatoo Island is the perfect tourist attraction in Sydney, children’s playground, and a relaxing spot for a picnic or overnight stay.

Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island

We are so glad we discovered this little getaway only a 15 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay.

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