Exploring Garden Island in Sydney

Garden Island can be found in the centre of Sydney and is a cultural locality filled with things to see and do. It’s set to the north-east of the city’s central business district, and reaches up to Port Jackson and Potts Point. It originally began its life as a place for the government and navy, and remains the location of Royal Australian Navy base.

Visitors to the area can explore active dockyards, including the famous Captain Cook Graving Dock, as well as naval wharves and a huge heritage and museum precinct that’s packed with facts and stories about the area’s sea-based history.

To the north of the Island, the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre museum provides an insight into the ships that have docked in area for centuries, while to the south on the Potts Point ridgeline, you can find HMAS Kuttabul, the administrative, training, and logistics headquarters for the Sydney area.

As well as all things boats, Garden Island is known for having Australia’s first lawn tennis court. Dating back to 1880, it has remained an important part of the area, undergoing a revamp in 1960.
However, one of the best things to do at Garden Island is travel up to the top of the old signal station and marvel at the incredible 360-degree views of the city from the top. At one point in time, this part of the island was used to project messages to ships, but today visitors can gaze out at jaw-dropping views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Fort Denison, and the famous Sydney city skyline.

Things to Do at Garden Island

The rich cultural heritage and history of Garden Island makes it the perfect place to soak up the past while enjoying spectacular views of the city.

Colonial Fortifications

Enjoy some of the old-fashioned historic architecture at Garden Island by checking out the colonial fortifications that are dotted around.

Underground Tunnels

Venture beneath the ground and discover the region from a different perspective in the underground tunnels.

Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre

Learn all about Garden Island’s past as an important naval centre and how that still plays a part today.

First Fleet Rock Carvings

Step back in time and see the unique rock carvings that were created by the first fleet to dock at Garden Island.

Captain Cook Graving Dock

The Graving Dock is one of the most important and visited sites on Garden Island, so don’t miss it while wandering around.

Visit the Garden Island on our Half Day Sydney City Tour with Bondi Beach.