Just south of central Sydney, Botany Bay is a sprawling inlet, steeped in history and boasting stunning natural beauty. Effectively the birthplace of Australia as we know it, it was, of course, this very spot where Captain Cook first dropped his anchor having discovered Australia on April 29, 1770.
Fast forward to today and the area’s rich heritage is still maintained, despite the growth of Sydney all around it. If you’ve yet to discover Botany Bay, why not hire a car and head out of the city, to see the area for yourself? Here’s what’s not to be missed…
Tucked away and perfectly sheltered right in the middle of Botany Bay, the beautiful, golden shore of Brighton-Le-Sands Beach is a popular hotspot for holidaymakers and locals alike. Relax and unwind as you watch planes coming in to land at nearby Sydney Airport, take a dip in the water and try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing, then afterwards grab a bite to eat at Hurricane’s Grill.
Bare Island Fort
Originally built in 1885 to protect Botany Bay, Bare Island Fort is a small islet with a big history. These days, you can drive around to the islet in the La Perouse area of the bay, then cross the 130-year-old wooden footbridge over to the fort. Book a guided tour to learn of fascinating scandals and secrets and find out which blockbuster movie has been filmed there.
Captain Cook’s Landing Place
No trip to Botany Bay would be complete without visiting the exact spot where Captain Cook first landed his ship in New South Wales, back in 1770. It’s a popular attraction in the Kurnell area of Kamay Botany Bay National Park – you can’t miss it, it’s marked by a memorial plaque and can be found by following the Burrawang walk.
Kamay Botany Bay National Park
Although the national park covers much of the bay area, both on the Kurnell side and the La Perouse side, it’s on the Kurnell peninsula where you’ll find some of the nature reserve’s most breathtaking scenery. Boasting a magnificent, rugged coastline and significant Aboriginal cultural heritage, it’s a great place to explore. Pop into the visitor centre, head off on a hike along the trails and spot whales in the water off Cape Solander Lookout.
Cronulla Sand Dunes
Located on the Kurnell peninsula, the vast Cronulla Sand Dunes date back to Mesolithic times and are still a popular attraction today. The dunes don’t just hold historical significance, but they also play an important role for local wildlife, providing the ideal natural habitat for the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog to thrive. They’ve been the setting for a number of films, such as 40,000 Horsemen and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and they’re the go-to place for any budding athletes looking for a hardcore workout, running up and down the sand.
With so much history and beauty right on Sydney’s doorstep, Botany Bay is worth exploring. It’s a slice of tranquillity among a bustling metropolis.