School excursion

First contacts at Kurnell

Stage 2 (Years 3-4), History, Kurnell area in Kamay Botany Bay National Park

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In 1770, James Cook landed in Botany Bay on board the Endeavour. Directly ashore were the Aboriginal people of the Eora Nation. This Stage 2 (Years 3-4) history excursion will explore the first contact between Aboriginal clans and white settlers.

Read more about First contacts at Kurnell

The first encounter between the crew of the Endeavour and the Eora Nation would dramatically shape the future of our continent.  

Your NPWS Aboriginal guide will demonstrate the use of indigenous artefacts. By sharing in bush survival wisdom, students will develop an appreciation of the Dharawal People's connection to Country before white settlement. 

Through stories recounted on-site, students will gain perspectives on the British arrival and its impact on Aboriginal culture.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 2 (Years 3-4)
Learning area History
Student outcomes

HT2-3. Describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects

HT2-4. Describes and explains effects of British colonisation in Australia

HT2-5. Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication


Students will:

  • Visit sites along Monument track and reflect on the story of the encounter between the Dharawal People, James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour
  • Walk Burrawang or Muru track to discover how Aboriginal people lived in this country before the British colonisation
  • Look at preserved specimens of native animals that live or have lived in the area
  • Learn about Dharawal culture from Aboriginal rangers as they demonstrate artefacts
  • Visit the museum, see relics from the Endeavour, a scale model of the ship and other artefacts from the meeting place.

Excursion details


Weekdays during school term

Kurnell Visitor Centre, Kurnell area
Easy. Guided walk along a sloped unpaved track incorporating a soundscape and a walk along a concrete path. Bushwalks along the other flat trails are a combination of boardwalk and dirt track.

$20 per student for groups of 25 or more. GST included. For smaller groups conditions apply.

Meeting point
Meet at Kurnell Visitor Centre, Kamay Botany Bay National Park
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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Park info

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Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about First contacts at Kurnell.

Program outline

  • Welcome and introductions, acknowledgement and safety talk
  • Presentation of preserved animals and demonstration of Aboriginal culture and artefacts. 
  • Morning tea
  • Bush tucker walk
  • Explore the past along Monument/Burrawang track
  • Museum visit – eight days in Botany Bay
  • Lunch
  • Farewell and depart

Getting there and parking

Follow Captain Cook Drive towards Kurnell. At the T-intersection, turn left and take the next right onto Cape Solander Drive. Kurnell Visitor Centre is on the left, a short way after entering the park.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather


Parking is available at Kurnell Visitor Centre, including several designated disabled parking spots.

What to bring

Please wear fully enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, wet weather gear, and lunch which should be low waste with a refillable water bottle. Students should bring gear in a backpack or similar (not plastic bags).

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

Risk assessment and risk benefits

Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


Disability access level - easy

Wheelchair accessible car park, picnic area, displays and toilets. If you have someone with special needs, please let us know in advance so that we can plan accordingly.