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Captain Cook's Landing Place

Kurnell area in Kamay Botany Bay National Park

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Learn more about why this park is special

Captain Cook's Landing Place is in Kurnell area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Whale watching

People undercover using binoculars to spot whales, Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Photo: Susan Aston Metham/OEH

June/July is the best time to see humpback whales in this area as they migrate to warmer waters, and Cape Solander is a terrific lookout to get a glimpse of these majestic ocean giants.

  • Cape Solander Head to one of Sydney's best whale watching spots. Cape Solander, located in the Kurnell section of Kamay Botany Bay National Park is an unbeatable lookout during whale watching season.
  • Kurnell Visitor Centre Kurnell Visitor Centre is a one-stop shop for tourist information in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, near Cronulla in southern Sydney. Visit for maps, history, advice and exhibitions.

Aboriginal culture to discover

Cape Baily Coast walk, Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Photo: Andy Richards

At the time of the first encounters with Europeans, Aboriginal people of 2 different nations – the Goorawal People and the Gweagal People – were living in the area which now includes Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Significant Aboriginal sites have been recorded in the park, including middens and engravings.

  • Burrawang walk The easy Burrawang Walk in Kamay Botany Bay National Park in southern Sydney takes in several historic sites.

Historic heritage

Monument track, Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Photo: Andy Richards

Kurnell is Captain Cook's Landing Place and the point of first contact between Aboriginal people and the Endeavour crew. The Kurnell area of Kamay Botany Bay National Park is rich in both Aboriginal and European history and is certainly a cornerstone of the country's colonial history. One of Australia's earliest European explorers, James Cook, landed here in 1770. Cook's botanists, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, first explored Australia's natural world here. After the reports of Cook and Banks, Botany Bay was recommended as a suitable site for settlement but upon inspection by Captain Arthur Phillip it was found unsuitable as it had no secure fresh water or suitable anchorage – so Sydney Cove was set up as the penal colony instead

  • Captain Cook's Landing Place Visit Kamay Botany Bay National Park to see Captain Cook's landing place at Kurnell. The heritage-listed site is an important place in Australia's history.
  • First contacts at Kurnell 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 contac...

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

    White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

    White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

Plants

  • Blueberry ash. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

    The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.

  • Flannel flowers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi)

    The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.

  • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

    Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

  • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

    Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

Look out for...

Old man banksia

Banksia serrata

Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

Environments in this area

School excursions (1)

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People walking pat the monument. Photo:Andy Richards