The Sydney Harbour is one hell of a famous landmark; from its spectacular Bridge to its iconic CBD sky line, this well-known view is perfectly framed by a beautiful blue sky attracting millions of tourists every day. However, there is so much more beyond the harbour as Sydney is surrounded by islands… these amazing locations are steeped in history, have outstanding views and make the perfect setting for a picnic.
Here at House of Coco we’re all about creating adventures so off we set to enjoy lunch on Sydney’s largest island – Cockatoo Island.
The island has only been open to the general public since 2007 and has become a popular tourist destination. You can catch a ferry from Circular Quay and hop across to Cockatoo Island in a mere 20 minutes – it’s a beautiful crossing too, so make sure you have your camera at the ready. Once you arrive be prepared for a bag check, you’re not allowed to take your own alcohol so keep your picnic bag booze free! There’s a clearly marked information point which offers helpful maps and guided tours of the island – it’s easy enough to navigate yourself though so pick up a map and get exploring!
This island was undisturbed until 1839, Sir Governor Gibbs disrupted the peace and used it as a site to house convicts because a neighboring island had become overcrowded. Stone prison barracks were built and the convicts were put to work; you can see the remnants of each of the prison quarters today in one of the convict chamber tours. It’s an eerie yet interesting visit, that’s for sure! The site soon became a service for The Royal Navy and it wasn’t long before the convicts that currently inhabited the island were re-located, leading to expansion of the naval activities and shipbuilding facility. It was open to the public in 2007 and is now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List – this will probably be one of the most interesting picnic sites you’ll ever visit.
There are two places to grab a bite to eat on the island, prices were OK, but we’d highly recommended packing your own lunch and enjoy it whilst overlooking the Harbour views. We did a round trip of the island soaking up all the information of its history and snapping cool pics – the industrial vibe is strong on the island and the rugged buildings make a great contrast to the blue skies. Check the ferry times before you embark on your island adventure and leave yourself enough time to finish up in the bar, with a cold beer, before you head back to the mainland. This is one hell of a way to step up your picnic game and we couldn’t recommend it enough if you’re living in or visiting Sydney!