Kamay Botany Bay National Park
Kamay Botany Bay National Park, now surrounded by Sydney suburbia, is the site of Captain James Cook’s ﬁrst landing on the mainland of the continent in 1770.
In 1788, within days of the arrival of the First Fleet, renowned French explorer Comte de Laperouse also sailed into the bay. The park, occupying the bay’s two headlands, retains signiﬁcant remnants of the original vegetation.
Heath and scrub spread across the La Perouse section, with banksias, grasstrees, she-oaks, paperbarks and cabbage palms in the northern section, typical of those that botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander studied in 1770. The park’s animals are mainly shy and nocturnal but there is ample birdlife, with threatened species such as the powerful owl, along with peregrine falcons and fairy-wrens as well as innumerable honeyeaters and parrots. Rock engravings are among the 30 or so Aboriginal sites that recall occupation of the Gweagal and Goorawal peoples. Join an Aboriginal Discovery tour for an insight into the park’s Indigenous heritage.
The Discovery Centre and Laperouse Museum both have informative displays. Visitors can tour Bare Island Fort (weekdays only), built in 1885 to guard Botany Bay. Other noteworthy sites include Macquarie Watchtower (1822), erected to watch for smugglers, and Cape Baily Lighthouse (1950). There are trails and roads suitable for cyclists, walking tracks that crisscross the park, boardwalks through the scrub, favourite spots for family picnics, and some fabulous views. Swimmers will ﬁnd sheltered coves and snorkelling and diving spots with reeds, seagrass meadows and a shipwreck off Cape Banks. The bay has good ﬁshing.
Location and access
15 km south of Sydney via La Perouse then Anzac Pde (northern section) and via Kurnell then Captain Cook Dr (southern section)
- NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
- NPWS Kurnell (02) 9668 2000
Sydney (02) 9240 8788