Itching to go to a far-off island for a bit of relaxation, fun and adventure?
Well, sorry to dash your hopes, but overseas travel remains restricted in the country. However, while these islands are small, and accommodation and facilities on a harbour island might not be resort-style luxury, an island overnight stay can do wonders for your mental health. These excellent alternatives to far-flung islands here in Sydney Harbour might just tickle your fancy and provide you with some much-needed respite from your everyday routine.
To start you on your Sydney Harbour islands adventure, have a look at these islands. [Note: Please check the latest government alerts before setting out for one of the islands.]
Just off our doorstep, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cockatoo Island, served originally as a penal colony and subsequently as a naval shipyard, closing as recently as 1991. Luckily for casual visitors and former shipyard workers, the island is now (thanks to those former shipyard workers and other activists) in the public domain. You can revisit its dark past through a guided tour that will familiarise you with its storied history. You can even choose to go on a paranormal tour if you’re into something unique and exciting.
If you want to make a weekend of it, you can go glamping by renting available campground accommodation and enjoy a romantic night with picturesque views of the waterfront. If you love quiet, Cockatoo Island delivers. Considering you’re in the middle of a major city, it’s hard to imagine how peaceful this little island is. If you’re lucky enough to visit in spring, you you’ll find hundreds of seagull chicks hatching.
Cockatoo Island is located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers, so it’s just a short ferry ride away. Ferries run regularly from both Balmain Wharf and Circular Quay so drop by for the day or overnight with your loved one or your whole family.
Fancy a sumptuous picnic whilst enjoying scenic views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Then look no further and head to Clark Island in Sydney Harbour National Park.
Located close to Double Bay in the eastern suburbs, Clark Island is open all week, from sunrise till sunset, with a maximum capacity of 250 people on the entire island. Here, you can go on an island tour and explore its bushland pathways or book a cultural tour with the Tribal Warrior crew. Make sure to bring drinking water, a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
And did we mention that, in ‘normal’ times, you can book the island for a wedding, too?
Just like Clark Island, Shark Island in Sydney Harbour National Park makes for a picturesque picnic spot. Located just a kilometre from the mouth of Rose Bay, Shark Island has lush grassy areas where you can lie down and relax. You can also stay in the gazebo to enjoy fabulous views of the harbour.
Aside from enjoying a picnic and sightseeing, you can swim (but be mindful of sharks in the early morning or in the evening) explore the island foreshore and hand-built grottos.
Open seven days a week from sunrise till sunset, Shark Island is also the perfect spot to watch the beginning of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Explore the rest of Sydney Harbour
There are 13 islands in total in Sydney Harbour, and these three are just the start of your island-hopping adventure.
So, what are you waiting for? The islands await — book your trip today!
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