Urban Hiking on Cockatoo Island using Adventure Labs

Adventure Labs are a type of electronic scavenger hunt that takes you to and around interesting heritage or cultural areas, so it is an awesome new way to find urban hikes! I got to try one out yesterday with the kids at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island.

We caught the ferry around lunch time and arrived at the island in only a short time. The island doesn’t look like much from afar, all cranes and sheds. The great thing about this Adventure Lab tour is that it would take us to five spots that would give us a good sampling of the islands history (there are audio walking tours available at the visitors centre for those wanting more). We stopped first at the little cafe and took in the views of Sydney before heading out.

Our first stop was “Dog Leg Tunnel” a tunnel cut through the island in a dog leg shape to help transport goods from one side to the other. There was a geocache in there that we just couldn’t find and it was driving us nuts.

The second stop was some old silos cut into the rock by convicts in the time that the site was used as a prison. There was a lot of rock excavated back then but I guess the labour was free.

Next we found an old steam powered crane from the days the island operated as a shipyard, and was directed to the old pay office to read about the day the payroll was stolen. There was a geocache at a larger crane nearby and we found that one easily.

Next we checked out the old solitary confinement room from the convict days. It would have been horrifying in there but my daughter was talking about couches and lighting and how she could live there! I think she just likes the little door and her own space!

Next up was a huge chimney and power station. My kids just stood in the chimney and howled as it was very echoey! Yet another geocache was nearby and an easy find.

We walked back through the dog leg tunnel and hunted for the geocache again. I used my phone and flash to peer into a likely spot and we saw it not one metre from where we had look previously. Bagged it! We were very satisfied with that find!

It was time to go and had to wait for the second ferry as the first was full. It was lovely being on the harbour again.

It was great exploring the island in this way. We saw convict history and the remains of the old shipyard. A lot had happened on that island since colonisation. Combining the scavenger hunt Adventure Lab tour with the treasure hunt geocaching made for a very fun day for the kids.

I think I like these Adventure labs. Looking at Sydney there are many around. Some do traditional heritage walks, others are a little different. E.g. one provides a tour of Sydney Street Art. It definitely has appeal beyond just for kids. I think this is a great way to explore and a great way to do a little urban hiking!

Lots to choose from around Sydney

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