Popular walking tours, often combined with cruises, guide travelers around this much-storied island, with stops at the Ordnance powder magazine (where ammunition was once stored) and at the old convict quarry and sleeping quarters. Learn about life on Goat Island, the punishments endured by prisoners (who were forced to labor in the massive quarries), and their attempts to escape.
Things to know before you go
- Be sure to pack a camera, since views from Goat Island are some of the best in Sydney Harbour.
- There aren’t any food or drink vendors on the island, so pack a snack and bring a water bottle (there are filling stations).
- The ground surface on Goat Island is uneven, making it unsuitable for most travelers who use wheelchairs.
- Pets and smoking are not allowed on the island.
How to get there
You can take the Sydney and Matilda ferries to Goat Island, although most visitors opt to join a historic tour that includes a boat ride. Note that private vessels are not allowed to dock on the island.
When to get there
Goat Island is open daily from sunrise to sunset, barring any closures due to inclement weather or fire risk. The best time to visit is during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is pleasantly warm, but not scorching.
Highlights of Sydney Harbour National Park
There's plenty more to do in the National Park, beyond the island, from hiking to taking in the scenery from various viewpoints. Popular attractions include the historic Fort Denison (a popular spot for watching New Year's Eve fireworks) and the 1858 Hornby Lighthouse on South Head. For great views and good picnicking terrain, head to Bradleys Head Amphitheatre.
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