We Went Glamping at Cockatoo Island + RDM DISCOUNT!

posted in: Life, Mini Breaks | 0

by Jacqui Owens


Having never been camping before (shame on us!), when Jess and I got the opportunity to go GLAMPING at Cockatoo Island, we jumped at the chance! We love the outdoors and of course, our kids do too, but we aren’t so great at ‘roughing it’. Well, glamping is pretty much the perfect in-between. For those of you that have never “glamped”, it’s awesome – it basically smooths out the rough edges and adds a little luxury to the usual camping experience.  

As we discovered on our overnight stay, Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO world-heritage-listed island in the middle of Sydney Harbour, about a 25-minute ferry ride from Kissing Point Wharf, Putney (can be accessed by any of the Ferry Wharves in Sydney). It’s a stunning spot that is so rich with history. It feels remote but of course, it’s actually smack-bang in the middle of Sydney Harbour.



How it works

While Cockatoo Island has a range of accommodation options (explained below) we took up the glamping option. Upon arrival, there is no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll and no camp kitchen to set up. That’s all done for you. Double tents have two single raised camp beds complete with linen, quilts & towels, two lounge chairs, a lantern, esky and Appelles Apothecary toiletries. 

As for the amenities, we made good use of the well-appointed communal camp kitchen, which has 10 BBQ, fridges, a microwave, vending machines, a coffee machine, boiling water system and a large covered dining area. The communal showers are large, well maintained and have good water pressure. 

All glampers will need to bring is:

  • a picnic basket (or cups, plates, cutlery)
  • food (or leave it to Cockatoo island – BBQ & breakfast packs can be pre-ordered from the onsite cafe Societe Overboard)
  • non-alcoholic beverages (alcoholic beverages can be purchased onsite)
  • scooters for the kids
  • thongs for the shower… it is glamping after all!
  • children staying on mats between the two camp beds ($10 per extra child – see below for more info) will need to bring their own sleeping bag, pillow and towel



Getting fed!

There are a number of options regarding “getting fed” on the island. Again, there are great kitchen facilities on the island for cooking, but there are other options as well.

  • Bring your own food and store it either in the esky provided in your tent or in the communal fridge in the outdoor kitchen area
  • Pre-order BBQ and breakfast packs if you want to cook your own food (but not have to bring it!)
  • Eat at one of the 3 eateries on the island (a kiosk, cafe and a restaurant), which offer a range of snacks, hot meals, coffee and alcoholic beverages as well as lots of great breakfast and lunch options too
  • Please note you can’t bring alcohol onto Cockatoo Island – but you can buy it there (phew)!



Things to do

  • take an audio tour of the island – headsets can be hired for $5 per person
  • catch a movie – the Convict Cinema is open every night. Kids’ movies are at 7pm and grown-up’s movies are at 9.15pm
  • roast marshmallows by the large communal fire that is lit every evening (if you forget to BYO you can buy marshmallows onsite)
  • depending on when you go, you can join in a haunted history night tour
  • play a round of tennis or basketball
  • check out the Biennale – Australia’s largest contemporary visual arts event on until 11th June
  • scootering – hours of fun to be had!
  • explore the island!



Accommodation options

Glamping (for two people on the waterfront)

  • One pre-erected tent (3m x 3m)
  • Two single raised camp beds with all linen, quilts and towels
  • Two sun lounges
  • Lantern
  • Cool box
  • Toiletries

Monday to Thursday: From $150 per night 
Friday to Sunday: From $175 per night


Two-bedroom Glamping (for four people on the waterfront)

Ideal for families or larger groups, our two-bedroom option includes:

  • Two pre-erected tents with covered communal area in the middle
  • Four single raised camp beds with all linen, quilts and towels
  • Table and chairs 
  • Lanterns 
  • Cool box
  • Toiletries

Monday to Thursday: From $310 per night 
Friday to Sunday: From $360 per night 


Mini glamping (for 2 people)

All the fun of glamping on a smaller scale:

  • One pre-erected tent (2.4m x 2.4m)
  • Two single raised camp beds with all linen, quilts and towels
  • Two chairs

Monday to Thursday: From $130 per night 
Friday to Sunday: From $155 per night


Getting there

Cockatoo Island is located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers just a short ferry ride from Circular Quay.

Catching a public ferry is the easiest way to visit the Island. Harbour City Ferries run regular services to Cockatoo Island every day of the week, departing from the wharves along the F3 Parramatta River ferry route as well as Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo – find the ticket information, prices, timetables and purchase locations here.

You can also visit Cockatoo Island by water taxi, private boat or kayak.

The Valentia Street wharf at Woolwich is the closest stop to Cockatoo – it’s a five-minute ferry ride away and has unmetered parking so you can stay all day.


RDM Discount!

Cockatoo Island is offering Ryde District Mums 20% off all campground accommodation if you book online and stay before 31st October. Simply enter the promotion code ‘rydedistrictmums’ at checkout. Children can sleep on a mat within the tents.


  • for 1 bedroom glamping, 1 EXTRA GUEST IS ALLOWED
  • for 2 bedrooms glamping, 2 EXTRA GUESTS ARE ALLOWED
  • children can sleep on a mat (provided for $10 each mat) within the tents but BYO SLEEPING BAG, PILLOW & TOWEL
  • if any extras are required please book from the option screen online and they will be delivered to your tent.


We stayed as a guest of Cockatoo Island. All thoughts and opinions are our own.