Cockatoo Island

Written by The Bug

If you’re wondering where to celebrate the New Year this coming December 31st, consider relaxing and staying the night on a historic Australian island and watching the fireworks with lots of music and activities! Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located to the west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was first established as a convict penal establishment in the 1800’s, and later became a dockyard for the Royal Australian Navy in the 1900’s.

Seagulls enjoying the view

Australian history is something that has always intrigued me. I remember in primary school being fascinated during school excursions to Shark Island and going to museums that held remnants of the uniforms and possessions of Australian soldiers and what they represented. Numerous tunnels and old buildings throughout the island are a reminder of the island’s history, which visitors can explore. Ships were built and repaired, and materials were transported around the island through the tunnels, which also acted as air-raid shelters during WWII.

Dog Leg Tunnel
Inside Dog Leg Tunnel
Inside the Dockyard

Many visitors flock to Cockatoo Island on New Years Eve to enjoy a relaxing night and celebrate the New Year with friends and family. There are areas for picnics, music, relaxing at a bar and children’s activities, and the island has a great view of the Harbour Bridge for those keen to enjoy the fireworks without the crowd. Food is sold on the island, but most people prefer to bring their own. The island provides many options for those that want to stay the night. You can bring your own tent, rent a pre-erected tent, stay in an apartment or book a holiday house.

One of the campsites

Because it is an island, the only way to get there is by a ferry or water taxi. If you are driving, you can park your car at Woolwich and catch the ferry from Woolwich Wharf. Ferries also run from Circular Quay, and they only take 10 minutes to reach the island. Their website has more information on NYE celebrations as well as options to visit the island during other times of the year.

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