I really REALLY love Cockatoo Island. For starters it’s a beautiful open space which is free to enjoy. It’s on the harbour. It’s steeped in history. It’s kid friendly. I love the smell of old industry; oil, brake dust and old machinery. You can ‘glamp’ here (and one day, I hope to get around to doing it, and stop talking about doing it!)
Boy oh boy did we have an absolute SHOCKER here last Sunday.
The island is one of seven ‘embassies of thought’ (main festival sites) of the 20th Biennale of Sydney. The biennale is an international festival of contemporary art which is held every 2 years, running from the 18th March til the 5th of June…you still have a couple of weeks to get to it, if like me, you are not an early adopter!
Here are a few pointers to ensure you have a great time…
DO bring your own food. There are several food outlets dotted around the island, but they are expensive, and inconsistent. We were RAPT to spot a dumpling bar in the big old sheds, but $90 later, with dumplings that had been served to us frozen…we were not happy Jan! Needless to say these were returned and we were promptly refunded, but at lunch time on a weekend we expected more. Disappointing to say the least.
DO check the ferry timetables. I did, on both the Transport NSW website, and the Cockatoo island website. More than twice to be extra sure. And when it came time for us to leave the island, ferry services were only running city bound, leaving us stranded. I can’t imagine who thought it was a good idea to have fewer ferry services on a sunny Sunday, but whoever that person is, you owe me $115 for a 2 minute water taxi up river.
DO listen to the volunteers! They’re there to help! Some exhibits are interactive, and others are delicate and are not to be touched. I’m sorry I got tangled up in William Forsythe’s ‘Nowhere and Everywhere at the same time, no. 2’. Those pendulums!!!! Very tricky.
Go early! And go during the week if you can! As ever when attempting/attending festivals, the later in the day it is, the longer the queues. Queues for interactive exhibits, queues for food, queues for loos, queues for ferries…