Against the shiny facade of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island’s rugged, industrial look provides a stark contrast.
Over two centuries, the 18-hectare island housed a convict prison, reformatory girl’s school and, most recently, a sprawling shipyard. Boat building ended in 1991 and, after a UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2010, tourism is now the primary industry. With its multi-level maze of pathways, tunnels and precarious stairways, intrigue lurks around every corner. Nature meets history on an epic scale.
Rob Grant is a freelance writer, specialising in travel, culture and business. He is a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers and is based in San Francisco, California.