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Kamay Botany Bay National Park

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Kamay Botany Bay NP
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A hundred hectares of land at Captain Cooks Landing Place was first dedicated for public recreation in 1899. Botany Bay National Park was later established in 1988 and the park now covers approximately 492 hectares of the northern and southern headlands of the entrance to Botany Bay. The northern headland of Botany Bay being at La Perouse and the southern end at Kurnell.

Botany Bay National Park is promoted as a symbolic meeting place of cultures. The park offers a unique opportunity to explore the history of the earliest contacts between Aboriginal Australians and European Explorers. There are two interpretative centres, the La Perouse Museum and the Discovery Centre at Kurnell. These facilities interpret the natural cultural heritage values of the area.

Cultural Heritage
Aboriginal HeritageAboriginal people have inhabited the region for thousands of years and at the time of the first encounters with James Cook and other Europeans, the Aboriginal people of the Dharawal nation occupied the area which is now Botany Bay National Park. Today members of the Dharawal nation still live near the park and participate in their traditional Aboriginal art and culture. Management of the park by the National Parks and Wildlife Service is done in close cooperation with the Aboriginal communities.

Native birdlife in Botany Bay National Park... click here for more images...

Aboriginal sites in the park include rock engravings, occupational sites such as middens, burials and axe griding grooves. All Aboriginal sites must be left undisturbed and are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

European HeritageBotany Bay National Park is significant as the site of two of the earliest landings of European explorers on the east coast of Australia. In 1770 the English explorer James Cook, landed on the southern side of the bay at Kurnell. In 1788 the Frenchman Comte de Laperouse, landed on the northern side at La Perouse, just six days after the arrival of the First Fleet, which was under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. the bay appeared unsuitable for settlement, so the English left Botany Bay and arrived in what is now known as Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1788.

Today, you can visit Captain Cooks landing place memorials at Kurnell. At La Perouse you can visit Cable Station (now the Laperouse Museum), Bare Island Fort, Macquarie Watchtower, and the Henry Head and Cape Banks fortifications.

One of the varieties of Banksia scrub.Flora and Fauna
FloraThe La Perouse section of the park contains endangered flora community known as the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub. These can be viewed from the Jennifer Street Boardwalk.

Of the plants that can be seen along the various walking tracks include different types of banksias, the large smooth barked apple (Angophora), old man banksia, coast tea-tree, grass trees, christmas bush, Sydney golden wattle,  bangalay and the cabbage tree palms.

WetlandsNearby to the Botany Bay National Park are the Towra Point Nature Reserve and the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve, between them they support 50% of the mangroves that remain in the Sydney region and 95% of saltmarsh habitats near Sydney. The endangered green and golden bell frog has been sighted here. A permit is required before entering Towra Point Nature Reserve, information available from the Botany Bay National Park Discovery Centre, South Sydney.

Wildlife Many birds can be seen in the area including the many variety of parrots, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, honeyeaters, and sea eagles. Other wildlife include the eastern long-necked tortoise, red-bellied black snakes, brush-tail possums, ringtailed possums, grey-headed flying foxes, the endangered green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) and the tinkling froglet (Crinia tinnula). The park also offers an ideal whale watch location during the northerly and southerly migration.

Source: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Blue Mountains National Park Visitor Guide.

More information can be found at the Botany Bay Discovery Centre, Laperouse Museum and Visitor Centre, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre.

Information Centre

Kamay Botany Bay National Park Discovery Centre

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
- Contact Laperouse Museum & Visitor Centre or Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre for additional information

Botany Bay National Park Attractions

Alpha Farm
Captain Cook’s Landing Place has been a public reserve since 1899, when Thomas Holt donated 249 acres at Kurnell for this purpose. The Reserve was managed by a trust until 1967, when it passed to the National parks and Wildlife Service. In 1922 the trustees built the timber house on the hill for the caretaker of the Reserve. It is now the ranger’s residence. The house stands where a stone cottage called ‘Alpha Farm’ was originally built in the 1820s.

Alpha Farm, Botany Bay National Park.

Bare Island
Access to Bare Island and its historic military fort and tunnels built in 1885 is by guided tour only. For tour information and bookings ring the Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre.
Bush Walks
There are a number of walks including:
  • The Henry Head Track: an easy 5 km walk that lets you experience some breathtaking vies across Botany Bay. 2-3 hours.
  • Jennifer Street Board Walk: a 350 m boardwalk that takes you through the endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub. There are over 100 different species of native plants with a breathtaking spring display of wildflowers.
  • The Banks Solander Track: a 1 km walk that takes in coastal woodlands, cabbage tree palms and a variety of banksias.
  • The Cape Bailey Track: this 8 km return walk takes about 2-3 hours. It is a spectacular coastal walk that traverses heathland and circles hanging swamps, and is home to the threatened tinkling froglet Crinia tinnula. Keep an eye out for the short beaked echidna, and sea eagles. During May to November, the whales migrate up and down the coast.
  • The Burrawang Walk: begins at the Visitor Centre. The walk lets you imagine what Kamay Botany Bay National Park looked like in 1770. The walk features interpretive signs on cultural and natural history, native plants that would have been growing in the area at the time of Cook's arrival and a soundscape that brings the Aboriginal connections to this area to life. The track is wheelchair accessible except for the section that climbs over the dune and can be accessed from the visitor centre car park.

Cape Solander • Kurnell
Offering some spectacular coastal views and one of Sydney’s prime whale watching locations.

: this natural area of cliffs, has strong winds, uneven surfaces and slippery surfaces. Care should be taken at all time and children should be closely supervised.

Commemoration Flat • Kurnell
Only 200 m from the Discovery Centre, is an ideal place for a picnic, with gas BBQs, views of Botany Bay and parking.
Cruwee Cove • La Perouse
Also known as Pussycat Bay is the first inlet inside Botany Bay. This site supports an unusual number of marine species that include shellfish and octopus, and is being studies and managed by the Sydney University Centre for Research on the Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities. Cruwee was a local Aboriginal who apparently saw the arrival of Captain Cook in 1770.

Source: Randwick City Council > Library & Information Service - Local History

Discovery Centre
• Kurnell The exhibitions in the Discovery Centre includes information about the impacts of European colonisation of Australia, in particular, the eight days spent by James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour at Botany Bay in 1770. There is also a Wetlands exhibition which provides information on the important wetlands in Botany Bay.
Diving and Snorkelling
Diving and snorkelling are permitted off Commemoration Flat. Sutherland Point is also a good location for diving.
Botany Bay’s foreshore provides safe fishing areas. Fishing from the park’s ocean side can be dangerous.
La Perouse Museum and Visitor Centre
The Cable Station building at La Perouse was designed by colonial architect James Barnet and built in 1882. The station linked the underwater telegraph cable between Australia and New Zealand and was once the country’s only telecommunication link to the rest of the world. The building now houses the La Perouse Museum and Visitor Centre.

Marine Environment
There are a number of great diving spots around the entrance of Botany Bay, at both La Perouse and Kurnell. Inside the bay can be found sea grass meadows, kelp forest, and mud flats. These provide the habitat for crabs, prawns, molluscs, and a diverse range of underwater life, including groper, yellowtail, bream, cuttlefish, sponges, and the weedy sea dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), also known as the common sea dragon.

Whale...Whale Watching
• May and November
Between May and November, whales such as the Humpback and the Southern Right can be seen along the coastline of the bay. Cape Solander is one of the best spots in Sydney for viewing the whales, with recorded whale numbers increasing every year. In 2002, there was estimated, that there was about 1,000 visitors over one weekend, to see the whales. The spot is ideal because of the sheer cliffs and clear horizon at the end of the Kurnell Peninsular. For some images of whales at Cape Solander, click here...

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