Cape Banks walking track

La Perouse area in Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Overview

Cape Banks walking track is a beautiful coastal walk in La Perouse with views across Sydney’s Botany Bay. Start at Congwong Beach and take a swim along the way before passing Henry Head. Continue to Cape Banks, a fantastic spot for whale watching.

Where
La Perouse area in Kamay Botany Bay National Park
Distance
7km return
Time suggested
3hrs
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
Opening times

If you’re driving into the La Perouse area of Kamay Botany Bay National Park please note that gates are open:

  • November to March 7am to 8.30pm
  • April to October 7am to 7.30pm
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, snacks, sturdy shoes, suitable clothing
Please note
  • There are unfenced cliffs and heritage structures along the walk. Please stay on the marked walking tracks and supervise children closely.
  • Beware of golf balls and stay on the path as you pass through golf course.
  • Take care on the slippery rock surfaces around Cruwee Cove. This beach area may be impassable at high tide and in big swells. Check tides and weather before you set out.
  • You can also start the walk from the carpark near the park entry gates on Anzac Parade, opposite Goorawahl Avenue.
  • Take extreme care if you plan to loop back to La Perouse from Cape Banks along the narrow public road.

Located less than 20km from Sydney city, this return walk heads from La Perouse to Cape Banks, in Kamay Botany Bay National Park.

Start from the southern end of Cann Park and continue past pretty Congwong Beach to connect with Henry Head walking track. Moderate fitness is recommended, but your efforts are rewarded with breathtaking views around Botany Bay, from Bare Island in La Perouse to Cape Solander in Kurnell.

The track heads through coastal heath, dotted with native acacias, endangered eastern suburbs banksia scrub and spring wildlflowers. History buffs can explore the World War II battery at Henry Head, while birdwatchers may see sea eagles, whistling kites or peregrine falcons soaring above.

From Henry Head continue 1.2km, passing Cruwee Cove and the golf course, before crossing the footbridge to Cape Banks. The rocky escarpment of Cape Banks forms the northern headland of Botany Bay. Take time to enjoy the coastal views, eroded sandstone rock formations, and the rusting shipwreck of the SS Minmi, before returning.

In summer, swim or snorkel the aqua waters of Cruwee Cove Beach, part of Cape Banks Aquatic Reserve. In winter, Cape Banks is a prime whale watching spot, as migrating humpback and southern right whales breach and frolic in the Pacific Ocean.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/cape-banks-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Cape Banks walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    7km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Cape Banks walking track is in the La Perouse area of Kamay Botany Bay National Park. To get there from Sydney city, drive south along Anzac Parade to La Perouse.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles (no long vehicle access)

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

  • Parking is available at Cann Park, near La Perouse Museum, near the walking track start point.
  • You can also park near the park entry gates, on Anzac Parade, opposite Goorawahl Avenue.

By public transport

Take bus L94 or 394 to La Perouse from Circular Quay, Martin Place, or Hyde Park via Maroubra Junction.

Facilities

  • The nearest public toilets are available at Cann Park. There are also toilets if you’re visiting the La Perouse Museum.
  • There are no bins so please take all rubbish away with you.

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

There are unfenced cliffs at this location. Don't walk close to cliff edges because the overhanging rocks may be very thin. Please stick to the marked walking tracks and supervise children closely.

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Permitted

Fishing

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

Life jackets are mandatory for rock fishing activities within the Randwick City Council area of Sydney.

Prohibited

Amplified music is not permitted.

Camping

Cycling

Generators

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

Learn more

Cape Banks walking track is in La Perouse area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Aboriginal culture

Burrawang walk, Kamay Botany National Park. Photo: Andrew 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. Over 30 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in the park, including rock art and engravings.

  • Aboriginal culture: Expanding contacts Aboriginal culture expanding contacts in Kamay Botany Bay National Park is a Stage 4 (Years 7-8) school excursion which focuses on history as a KLA. Embark on a learning journey of Aboriginal culture from pre-colonisation to now.
  • Blak markets at Bare Island Visit the Blak markets at La Perouse, to discover the best of Aboriginal culture. There'll be traditional dance performances, arts and craft stalls, weaving and bush tucker.
  • Dharawal Resting Place track Walk the short track to Dharawal Resting Place to discover this important La Perouse Aboriginal site, that’s also steeped in Sydney’s colonial history.
  • La Perouse first contact tour Explore La Perouse on an Aboriginal cultural tour in Sydney's Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Take part in a traditional ochre ceremony, try bush tucker and learn about first contact with Europeans.

Historic heritage

Bare Island Fort, Kamay Botany National Park. Photo: Andrew Richards

Two of Australia's earliest European explorers landed in Botany Bay here—James Cook in 1770, and the Comte de Laperouse in 1788. 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. Sydney Cove was set up as the penal colony instead. You can also explore the fascinating history of Bare Island Fort on a guided tour, see World War II military remnants at Henry Head, or learn more at La Perouse Museum.

  • Bare Island and Cape Banks ultimate day tour Uncover the wealth of history along the shores of La Perouse, Kamay Botany Bay National Park. From a shipwreck to the Henry Head fortifications, there's plenty to delve into on this guided tour.
  • Bare Island Fort guided tour Join this guided tour to hear about the unpredictable history of Bare Island Fort at La Perouse. We'll cross a 130-year-old wooden bridge and enter a world of fine engineering and great deception.
  • Bound for Botany Bay In 1770, James Cook and his crew aboard the Endeavour were bound for Botany Bay. Their 8-day stay would have a dramatic impact on the future of Australia. This Stage 2 (Years 3-4) history excursion explores the first British landing on Australian soil.
  • Cape Banks walking track Cape Banks walking track is a beautiful coastal walk in La Perouse with views across Sydney’s Botany Bay. Start at Congwong Beach and take a swim along the way before passing Henry Head. Continue to Cape Banks, a fantastic spot for whale watching.
  • Dharawal Resting Place track Walk the short track to Dharawal Resting Place to discover this important La Perouse Aboriginal site, that’s also steeped in Sydney’s colonial history.
  • La Perouse first contact tour Explore La Perouse on an Aboriginal cultural tour in Sydney's Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Take part in a traditional ochre ceremony, try bush tucker and learn about first contact with Europeans.
  • La Perouse Museum La Perouse Museum is a Stage 5 (Years 9-10) school excursion in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, which focuses on history as a KLA. On 26 January 1788, the French explorer La Perouse arrived in Botany Bay, six days after the First Fleet. It was to be the last port of call before the expedition vanished forever.
  • La Perouse Museum Housed in a heritage building at La Perouse in Sydney's south, the La Perouse Museum documents the expedition of French explorer the Comte de Laperouse.
  • La Perouse Museum La Perouse Museum is a school excursion for Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students in Kamay Botany Bay National Park which focuses on HSIE. On 26 January 1788, the French explorer La Perouse arrived in Botany Bay, six days after the First Fleet. It was to be the last port of call before the expedition vanished forever. Housed in the historic Cable Station building, many relics and artefacts retell this fascinating tale.
  • Stories of a different time at La Perouse Stories from a different time is a fascinating Stage 1 (Years 1-2) history excursion at La Perouse. Students will learn about the first contact between the Aboriginal people, traditional custodians of the land, and the new British arrivals.
  • WilderQuest Bound for Botany Bay Join the WilderQuest gang at Kamay Botany Bay National Park. You'll go back in time to London in 1820, where you'll be sentenced to life as a convict and transported to Botany Bay.
Show more

Biodiversity

Wildflowers in Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Much of the park’s unspoilt flora give an idea of the plants that were present pre-1770. A conservation effort to protect and rehabilitate rare and threatened species and ecosystems is underway to preserve this heritage-listed Sydney park. Henry Head walking track leads through the rare eastern suburbs banksia scrub now listed as an endangered ecological species.

  • Cape Banks walking track Cape Banks walking track is a beautiful coastal walk in La Perouse with views across Sydney’s Botany Bay. Start at Congwong Beach and take a swim along the way before passing Henry Head. Continue to Cape Banks, a fantastic spot for whale watching.
  • Jennifer Street boardwalk Jennifer Street boardwalk is a short, wheelchair-accessible walking track in La Perouse. The smooth, boarded path is popular with all ages looking for an easy weekend walk in Sydney.
  • La Perouse first contact tour Explore La Perouse on an Aboriginal cultural tour in Sydney's Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Take part in a traditional ochre ceremony, try bush tucker and learn about first contact with Europeans.

Visitor experiences

La Perouse Museum, Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Photo: Andrew Richards

La Perouse offers a real escape just minutes from the city and close to cafes and public transport. Take a day trip to go bushwalking, whale watching or fishing. Learn more about the early European explorers, and Aboriginal stories, at the fascinating exhibits in La Perouse Museum tell. Enjoy a picnic, cafes and fish ’n’ çhips and watch the sun set over the bay. Keep an eye out for guided tours of Bare Island Fort.

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.

Environments in this area

School excursions (6)

A family walk up Cape Banks headland, La Perouse area, Kamay Boatany Bay National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH