An island with just residents. A single dirt pathway winding around it. No stores. No pubs. No gyms. Just houses, a park, a community hall and a firehouse.
It exists less than an hour north of Sydney. It’s one of only two inhabited islands in the area.
It’s called Scotland Island and it sits on the North Shore. People travel by ferry to the mainland to go to work or school, do their shopping or stock up on liquor (there’s a market at the wharf filled with more booze than food).
On a Sunday excursion to Scotland Island, we walked its entirety and stopped to chat with an older female resident about her life there. She loved it, had been on the island for 20 years or so. The commute to work was no worse than from other parts of the city. “You just have to plan,” she said. “We do things. There’s a play house. We visit with each other at home. You just have to take a torch at night.”
I’m not sure I could live the way these 640 or so residents do. But part of it does appeal to me. I know one thing: you’d have to like your neighbors, because there is no escaping them after the ferry shuts for the night.
Keeping with the island theme, Brendan and I took the ferry to Cockatoo Island, the largest island in Sydney Harbour, a few Sundays ago. All I’d ever really seen of it was the warehouse used by MasterChef.
I thought I’d be underwhelmed. Quite the contrary. The island is like a historical playground. You can view the remnants of its former functions as a prison and shipyard, and we spent hours there exploring tunnels, dilapidated buildings and old machinery. You can even sleep there overnight in tents or guesthouses. And of course, you can snap plenty of pictures.