Cooperage and a crane used to build the Harbor Bridge

Cooperage and a crane used to build the Harbor Bridge

Recently we got a Public Holiday for the Queens Birthday – this makes me chuckle as it doesn’t exist in England! On the Saturday, my friend Toby and his girlfriend Kendall organised an excellent adventure around Sydney.

Like any Australian adventure we started off in a coffee shop! (Although being stereotypically English Toby and I had tea). We went on a tall ship through the Harbor up to Goat Island. Normally the tour is on a pretty regular boat, but the tall ship takes over in winter when the main boat has maintenance – I reckon the tall ship version is much better – I couldn’t resist a couple of pirate ‘yarrrrs’ too. On the boat was a ‘free’ (included) bar with all you can drink wine and champagne! On Goat Island we had a yummy buffet lunch with very tasty ham and prawns, plus more wine.

Convict Hut

Convict Hut

 

After that was a tour of the island. Goat Island is a mix of things really. Back in the mid 1800’s it housed convicts, so there are some old building from then including a cooperage where they made barrels, an armory for storing large amounts of gun powder and a replica wheeled porta-cabin which used to house 20 convicts for up to 18 hours a day. There were some old buildings and houses as well as a listed crane they used to build the Harbor Bridge (which they don’t know where else to store) and some more recent industrial style buildings. From the island you get a good view back to Sydney including the bridge, opera house and Darling Harbor. A couple and their three kids live on the island – we reckon it would be a pretty cool place to have a lot of adventures growing up, although less good once you want to start hanging out with your mates on the mainland and going to the pub.

We heard the story of one of the convicts called ‘Boney’. After getting about 1,500 lashes for bad behavior and not seeming to mind, he ended up chained, naked, to a rock in the island for two years! The name Goat Island is a bit of a mystery and on maps its shown as Cockatoo Island, which is actually now the name of another island in the Harbor. The thinking is that this was originally Cockatoo Island, but when all the convicts arrived all the gum trees got chopped down and the Cockatoos migrated to the next island which was then named after them. Long ago there were apparently three goats on the island who made it on the journey from Africa.

Boneys Rock

Boneys Rock

After the island tour we went on a longer tour around the harbor and then back. The trip was excellent and if you wanted to get seriously drink on the free bar that would have been totally doable too! I think we were pretty restrained really. After the boat ride we went to the Lord Nelson pub on the Rocks which has its own micro-brewery and went around the market until it was time for the Vivid light festival and an excellent dinner(separate posts coming soon).

Overall score: 8/10 – Thank you Toby and Kendall! I’d definitely recommend doing the tour on the tall ship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *