Garden Island
Garden Island
4.5
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles44 reviews
Excellent
20
Very good
19
Average
2
Poor
2
Terrible
1

PageSydney
Sydney, Australia99 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2013 • Friends
We travelled to Garden Island via the Watson Bay ferry. As you walk into the building there is a small museum with about 10 display items including the conning tower of a Jap midget submarine which entered Sydney Harbour in 1942 and several life boats. In the same area is a cafe.
An enterance fee of $5 gives you access to a much larger museum which is set out on two floors. It incorporates a history of the Navy including; videos, papers, weapons, equipment, ships and the men who sail in them and the battles that the Australian Navy have been involved in.
The views of Sydney Harbour as you walk around outside are also fantastic.
Written 16 March 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Denis C
Melbourne, Australia2,166 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2014 • Friends
The section of the Garden Island Naval Base (still active) that is accessible to the general public is a much underrated Sydney attraction and yet it is free to visit and only 5 minutes from Circular Quay by ferry. If you take the time to visit this snapshot of Australian Naval history, you will see one of the best presented and neat military museums around. The operational part of the Base is on the land-connected side of the 'island', and is restricted to non-military personnel. However this still leaves you with plenty to see in the form of rambling gardens, a lookout atop the old signal station, displays of weaponry and the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre (includes a cafe). Roaming among the old naval guns, rocket launchers and radar trackers is as close as most would be able to get, yet here they can be touched and in several instances sat in. The Heritage Centre contains a great collection of naval history going back to the early 1900s. On the day of our visit there was no charge, with tokens freely available to slot in the turnstile, however I had the feeling that this only applies to off-peak days. The gardens ramble up hill and take you to the roof of the old signal station which gives a great panoramic view of Sydney Harbour; the bridge and adjacent bays. You can't help but feel that the Admiralty had a great sense of real estate when they chose this location, albeit before the advent of many of the landmarks it now overlooks. We spend only about 2 hours visiting Garden Island, but had we stayed for a picnic lunch, or a visit to the cafe the stay would have been longer. Recommended.
Written 17 September 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mccorquinn
Gold Coast, Australia955 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was once an island, home to the Eastrn Fleet of the Royal Australian Navy. It still houses most of the Eastern fleet when in port, and the repair, dry dock and other maintenance facilities are well-kept. The history goes back to 1789, when two sailors carved their names in the sandstone rock on the headland, one year after permanent white settlement began in Australia. The gracious old buildings reflect a British imperial view of majesty, might and permanence. It's open to the public regularly.
Written 23 October 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Greg T
Melbourne, Australia11 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
Today we visited Garden Island. It is
only open on a Sunday. We were told there would be ships and interesting things to see. There weren’t. The cafe was closed and the view non-existent because of tall trees and smog due to bushfires. We could not leave fast enough. Has the exciting stuff that others have mentioned been moved elsewhere? It certainly wasn’t there today... Maybe this venue should be closed until the works are complete and it has more to offer. We were very disappointed.
Written 12 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

muffetoz
Grafton, Australia81 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2012
Walk around and go in the museum and then walk up and climb the lighthouse for the best views of Sydney and the Opera House. You can even eat in the cafe and ferries go often.
Written 18 December 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vanessa
Sydney, Australia402 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Couples
Firstly the location is just beautiful. You have sweeping views of the harbour, the bridge, the Opera House and the city skyline. You aren't allowed access to the island by car (via the active military base gates at Woolloomooloo) and instead can only arrive by ferry from Circular Quay. Entry to the island is free and after your bags are checked, you are free to roam the island that is open to the general public (which is a large area). We were met by Rodney at the dock who was very helpful explaining the island and pointing out the interesting sites on the island map. As we were the only visitors on the island the whole morning, he was extra helpful in not only showing us the island map but also when we arrived at the museum, he gave us a guided tour of part of it with extra commentary. The museum (Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre) has a lot of artifacts which are clearly marked and it was all very informative with a lot of interesting things to see. The museum covers two floors but is certainly not too big that it was repetitive or boring. There are very clean bathrooms around the island, lockers and a great cafe selling not only food but Navy clothing and memorabila as well. There are stairs to climb if you wish to see the oldest tennis courts in NSW (possibly Australia) and the lookout at the very top of the island has the best views of the harbour. There are plenty of grassy areas to enjoy the harbour view with your own picnic lunch (which you can bring) and there are also onsite BBQ's (although are unaware if these are operational). Such rich history of the Australian Navy and it's all free !!! Definately definately recommend.
Written 18 May 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Neil D
Sydney, Australia81 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2011
Garden Island has been the Navy's Sydney headquarters for many years. It has a huge dry dock for servicing ships and many fine examples of maritime architecture. The buildings on the island span the centuries from early colonial architecture to modern. It is also a great vantage point to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks only if you know someone who works there unfortunately. Television crews always set up there for the fabulous shots of the Harbour Bridge.
Written 3 September 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert T
Padstow, UK71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Couples
Love this place due to my background. It is a naval base but the public cannot access the base obviously. The public area is a naval museum and gardens. An oasis of calm with great views across the Harbour. Good cafe as well. Probably need 3 hours to do it justice if Royal Australian Naval history is your thing. Access only by ferry start at Circular Quay.
Written 25 April 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Metafaculty
Nottingham, UK61 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Couples
Take the ferry from Circular Quay one stop to Garden Island where you can visit the free museum all about the Royal Australian Navy. Have something to eat and drink in the officer's mess cafe and remember to hang your hat on the hooks at the entrance. Walk up through the gardens themselves and climb stairs to the top of a building for the most fantastic 360 degree views of the harbour. This place gives you a unique perspective on some of the familiar landmarks. You will also see plenty of navy personnel around the place.
Written 23 October 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeanette M
Sydney, Australia312 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Friends
It is so good that you are able to visit Garden Island and see the history for yourself. The Museum is very good and it is just lovely to walk around the island - especially if you visit on a good day, weatherwise. The views are wonderful. The cafe is really good and the people are very helpful and friendly and seem to enjoy answering your questions about the history, etc. The ferry trip from Circular Quay is also most enjoyable.
Written 5 July 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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