I wouldn’t really call myself a lover of the outdoors, I hate bugs, I hate the dark, I hate dirt. I just love being in the comfort of a four-wall enclosure featuring a roof. So when Carmelita suggested the idea of glamping on our spontaneous visit to Cockatoo Island I was a bit fearful and wasn’t sure what to expect. & yes, it may be GLAMping, but for someone like me, this was a big ask.
So to set the scene, Carmelita and I dragged along our friend Isabella on the adventure which led us to book the two-bedroom Glamping experience which included two pre-erected tents with a covered communal area in the middle, four single raised camp beds with linen, quilts and towels, a table, four reclining chairs, an esky, two lanterns, and toiletries. This cost us $310 in total or $103 each for one night since we went on a weekday (the price rises to $360 from Friday-Sunday).
Cockatoo Island Wharf
The only way to get to Cockatoo Island is by ferry which takes about 25 minutes and leaves around every 20-40 minutes, it is a lovely ferry ride as you sail through Sydney Harbour. We arrived at around 2 pm which was the check-in time. The check-in was fairly straightforward, but as we arrived at our tent we had a bit of trouble making our way inside. Since we were first-time glampers we had no clue how to actually get inside the tent, after a few minutes of walking around like headless chickens Carmelita realised there were zippers on each side and we found our way in. The communal area of the tent was very spacious but the two rooms were a bit of a squeeze. The tents themselves are very clean, which I was extremely thankful for.
Once we had gotten comfy and set up our rooms we spent the next few hours relaxing in our recliner chairs while snacking and catching up on juicy gossip.
Quickly enough 6 pm rolled around and we decided it was time to attempt cooking on the communal BBQ’s. There were 2 other groups who were using other BBQ’s as well. We took out the raw meat we had purchased from Woolworths and suddenly it dawned on us that we needed oil to place on the BBQ.
We asked one couple if they had any oil but sadly they used up all of theirs & the other group used grease from their chicken wings. In the end, we used hot water and it took us an excessive 1 hour to cook our sausages and chicken pieces.
Moral of the story: do not be like us, bring oil.
Our unnecessary pile of snacks & sad attempt at dinner
When we were checking in the girl who assisted us told us that they would be lighting a camp-fire at around 7 pm, so after dinner, we headed over to where the fire was supposed to be with our marshmallows, chocolate, and biscuits for smores making. As we approached the pit we noticed there was no fire lit up even though it was about 8 pm. We went over to the security guards office and asked him if there was going to be a fire lit tonight and he said that unfortunately, it was too windy for the fire which was very disappointing since there was only a slight breeze.
To make us feel a bit better we decided we would venture out to Circular Quay for some late night Messina as our makeshift dessert.
We got back to our tents at around 11 pm and were completely exhausted even though we didn’t get up to an excessive amount of physical activity. One thing that I was not prepared for was how fucking dark and scary the tent was at night. The island itself was very dark and eery in the dark and we all agreed it would be a bad idea to wander around by ourselves.
The beds weren’t the worst things ever but it was extremely difficult to get more than a few hours of sleep. Carmelita and I stayed awake until about 3 am & I finally fell asleep for about 3 hours before the beaming sun was in my eyes. While we were asleep I had the window next to me open for some air, and at about 2 am it started to rain which was terrible because I wasn’t bothered to get up and close it since the zipper was on the outside of the tent.
Overall, I would say that it was a unique experience that I am glad we made out alive from. Personally, I wouldn’t choose to do it again simply because I didn’t get too much sleep that night and the island is kind of scary at night since the tents are so exposed.
I recommend it to those who like to be a bit adventurous and want to do something different with a couple of friends.
I was definitely satisfied with the cleanliness of the island’s facilities including the showers, kitchen, and the tents themselves. The only thing that was a disappointment was that the fire wasn’t lit and there was no movie being shown (on their website they claim to have a movie showing each night).
Definitely, a fun adventure to remember and a nice get away from everyday life.