South-Eastern Beachside

La Perouse, Gary Steer / Auscape International

The city of Botany Bay, on the northern shores of Botany Bay, is Australia’s largest municipality. Botany Bay National Park straddles the bay’s headlands, and at its entrance is the suburb of La Perouse, home to an intriguing combination of natural and cultural heritage.

La Perouse

La Perouse is situated on the northern head of Botany Bay. Originally the home of the Muru-ora-dial people, it was named after the Comte de La Perouse, a French navigator who arrived in Botany Bay around the same time as the First Fleet, as part of a competing French contingent. With some beautiful beaches and interesting walks, it also contains an excellent museum.

Laperouse Museum

This highly recommended museum occupies the old Cable Station, and presents the rich and varied history of La Perouse – it was once the site of an Aboriginal mission station and a Depression-era shanty town.

The real focus of the museum is the life and times of La Perouse himself, with galleries devoted to the history of Pacific exploration, the voyage to Botany Bay and the eventual wreck and loss of the entire expedition. Not far from the museum is a monument to La Perouse near the grave of Father Receveur, the chaplain on the expedition.

Anzac Pde, La Perouse; (02) 9247 5033; open 10am–4pm Sun.

Bare Island

From the earliest days of European settlement, La Perouse was considered to be crucial to the defence of the colony. Governor Macquarie built the sandstone tower that stands at the highest point of the promontory, and the fortifications at Bare Island were added in 1885. Guided tours are the only way to view these buildings (which movie fans will recognise from Mission: Impossible 2).

Accessed via a footbridge from Anzac Pde; (02) 9247 5033; guided tours Sun 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.