The island is a peaceful retreat from the noise and activities of city life, and it is has residential zoning, which means that there are no cafés, shops or restaurants.
Social life on the island is rich, however, with residents able to walk to each others’ places for social occasions. For communal gatherings, there is the Community Hall, the Recreation Centre and the Fireshed. During the winter, many people attend the fund-raising dinners at the Fireshed, held every month, often featuring entertainment from local musicians. Plays and musical events are held several times a year at the Community Hall, and island musicians often feature at the Co-op Club at the Waterfront Café at Church Point on Sunday afternoons.
The Recreation Club, a SIRA-run subcommittee, runs the Two Catherines Cafe, usually on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. It operates from Community Hall or the Recreation Centre, from 10 am to 12 noon, and sometimes local artists or artisans offer stalls at the cafe. The Recreation Club also runs Table Tennis on Saturday afternoons in the Community Hall and International Folk Dancing on the fourth Saturday evening of every month.
For information about events, see the Events Calendar.
Visitors need to be aware that there are no public toilets on the island, except in the Community Hall and the Fireshed, and that these buildings are not usually open, except on fair days and for other island events.
Toilet access in the Community Hall can be hired without booking the hall. To do so, please complete a Hall Hire Application Form.
Mona Vale is the closest major shopping hub. Provisions can also be purchased at the Passadena Pantry and Fresh and the Church Point Waterfront Cafe and General Store . The Church Point Post Office is also there, and post office boxes can be leased.
Playgrounds and parks
There are two parks on the island. At Catherine Park, near Tennis Wharf, there is a children’s playground with a sandpit, swings and climbing equipment, a barbeque, and several picnic tables. Elizabeth Park lies at the top of the island and is a is a 6.8ha bushland reserve.
Many people visit the island just to walk around it. For a detailed map, see Maps and Directions in this section of the website. Walk from one ferry wharf to another, or go all the way around the island along the waterfront reserve (crown land extends for 1.5m beyond the high tide mark and is not private land). Elizabeth Park, at the top of the island, features a significant spotted gum forest (see Animals and Plants for more information). The roads and walking trails are mostly unpaved and rough.
Ferry information can be found under Getting Here.