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School excursion

Convict kids on Goat Island

Stage 2 (Years 3-4), History, Sydney Harbour National Park

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Info for teachers

Everything you need to know about Convict kids on Goat Island.

Program outline

Standard excursion:

  • Meet NPWS guide at Wharf 6 Circular Quay
  • Depart on a chartered ferry to Goat Island. On board welcome, acknowledgement of Country and safety talk.
  • Arrive at Goat Island wharf and disembark 
  • Undergo trial and sentencing. Experience life as a convict settler. 
  • Listen to stories of hardship and survival in the bush 
  • Share in the wisdom of Aboriginal bush survival strategies 
  • Pending good behaviour, receive a formal pardon from the Governor, allowing a ticket of leave. 
  • Board the ferry, depart Goat Island and return to Wharf 6 Circular Quay 

Extended excursion:

  • Same as the standard excursion, plus enjoy a self-catered picnic lunch on the lawns overlooking the city, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour.
  • Return to Wharf 6 Circular Quay on a later ferry

What to bring

Please wear fully enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, wet weather gear, and lunch which should be low waste with a refillable water bottle. Students should bring gear in a backpack or similar (not plastic bags).

Getting there and parking

Goat Island is located off Balmain and is accessible by ferry from Circular Quay.


Private vessels are not permitted to moor at Goat Island.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

Risk assessment and risk benefits

Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


Disability access level - hard

Some areas are wheelchair accessible. Please let us know in advance if you are bringing someone with accessibility requirements so that we can plan accordingly. There are wheelchair-accessible public toilets adjacent to Wharf 6, Circular Quay, and on Goat Island.

Convict kids on Goat Island Enquire now

Park info

  • in Sydney Harbour National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Sydney Harbour National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    Bradleys Head: $8 per vehicle per day. North Head: $5 per vehicle per day. Tap and pay card or phone payments accepted at pay machines. Coin payment available at Fairfax carpark machines only. Chowder Bay: Monday-Friday: $3 per hour, to a maximum of $16 per day. Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: $4 per hour, to a maximum of $20 per day. If you hold an NPWS All Parks or Multi Parks Pass, you can park free for up to four hours per day - additional time can be purchased. Car parks operated by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust or Mosman Council are not covered by your pass. Please check signs carefully. Park’nPay: You can also pay for your visit to any area via the Park’nPay app.

    Other fees:

    Landing fees or tour fees apply to visit Sydney Harbour islands. All public visitors to Shark, Clark or Rodd Island, need to pay a $7 per person landing fee. To arrange, please contact 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS). Annual NSW Parks Passes do not cover landing fees.

    Buy annual pass