La Perouse area

Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Overview

La Perouse is the northern headland of Kamay Botany Bay National Park, near Maroubra. You'll find fantastic walks, diving spots and historic sites just a quick trip from Sydney's centre.

Read more about La Perouse area

The area was named after the French explorer who arrived in Botany Bay a week after the First Fleet, and whose disappearance was a long held mystery. Find out about the area’s history and Aboriginal culture at La Perouse Museum (open Sundays only), or take a guided tour of Bare Island Fort.

The best scuba diving and snorkelling spots are around the La Perouse headland and Bare Island. If you’re feeling energetic, strap on your boots and hike the coastal Henry Head walking track from Anzac Parade to Cape Banks via the Endeavour Lighthouse.

Pack a picnic dinner to enjoy at La Perouse Point as the sun sets, with scenic views of Botany Bay, Kurnell and the Pacific Ocean – where
Captain Cook and Comte de Lapérouse sailed from all those years ago.

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/visit-a-park/parks/la-perouse-area/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the La Perouse area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    To get to La Perouse area in Kamay Botany Bay National Park from Sydney:

    • The park is about 17km from Circular Quay
    • Vehicle entry into the park is via Henry Head Lane off Anzac Parade
    • La Perouse Museum is located on the headland at the end of Anzac Parade.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking

    • Parking is available at Cape Banks including designated disabled spots
    • Street parking is available nearby on Anzac Parade, La Perouse (spaces limited on weekends)

    By public transport

    La Perouse is accessible by bus. Visit Transport for NSW for details.

    Best times to visit

    With its picturesque beaches and bays, this coastal park is unmissable in summer but its countless historic attractions, wildlife and walking tracks make it a joy to visit any time of year.

    Spring

    Take Jennifer Street boardwalk or Henry Head walking track to see the beautiful flowers and birdwatch - and if you're lucky, spot humpback whales returning south. Visit in November when daylight saving begins in NSW - it's lighter for longer and the area is open until 8.30pm.

    Summer

    Bring your snorkel or scuba gear and explore the rocky reefs around Bare Island and Congwong Bay to meet some of the bay’s diverse sea life and maybe glimpse a weedy sea dragon. Or just cool off with a quiet saltwater swim at Congwong Beach which overlooks Bare Island and Botany Bay.

    Winter

    Set off on the extended Henry Head walk to photograph the SS Minmi shipwreck, just off Cape Banks (low tide only). From Cape Banks you might see migrating humpback whales swimming close to the coast as they migrate north. Parking is available nearby.

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    There are no park entry fees in La Perouse area but you'll need to pay to tour Bare Island. Park entry fees apply in the Kurnell area of Kamay Botany Bay National Park, only.

    Annual passes and entry fees (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    Safety messages

    Bushwalking safety

    • 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.
    • Henry Head walking track passes through the part of the NSW Golf Course. To minimise the risk of injury please stay on formed paths, obey signs and beware of golfers when walking through the golf course.

    Fishing safety

    Rock fishers need to wear a life jacket.

    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).

    Water activities

    Beaches, rivers and lakes in NSW national parks offer lots of opportunities for water activities. Please take care in the water and find out how to help your family and friends stay safe around water.

    Permitted

    Fishing

    You can go fishing in Botany Bay. A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

    Prohibited

    Drones

    Flying recreational drones is not permitted in this park because it is located within 5.5km of an airfield or helicopter landing site. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) states that drones should not be flown within 30m of vehicles, boats, buildings or people, or within 5.5km of an airfield. Drones can also impact on public enjoyment and privacy, interfere with park operations, and may pose a threat to wildlife in some areas. Please contact the park office for consent if you wish to fly a drone for commercial filming or photography purposes. For more information, see the Drones in Parks policy.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.


    Visitor centre

    Learn more


    La Perouse area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    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.
    • 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.
    • 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)

    What we're doing

    La Perouse area has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:


    Planning for the future

    The community is invited to have a say on the future of Kamay Botany Bay National Park by commenting on the Draft Plan of Management and Draft Master Plan before Thursday 2 August 2018.

    Have your say on the future of Kamay Botany Bay National Park

    Preserving biodiversity

    Biodiversity is integral to Kamay Botany Bay National Park, and efforts to preserve this are ongoing. Recovery plans, regeneration, maintenance and species monitoring are regularly carried out to protect, and where necessary rehabilitate, the park’s landscapes, ecosystems, vegetation communities and fauna and faunal habitats.

    Conservation program

    BioNet

    Uniting technology with the vast collection of information on biodiversity in NSW, BioNet is a valuable database open to any user. From individual plant sightings to detailed scientific surveys, it offers a wealth of knowledge about ecology and threatened species in NSW. 

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Pest reduction of species such as bitou bush and boneseed, as well as risk assessment for new and emerging weeds, is an important part of the work NPWS does to protect the biodiversity values of this national park.

    Conservation program

    Bitou bush threat abatement plan

    Bitou bush poses a serious and widespread threat to threatened species populations and ecological communities on the NSW coast. The NPWS bitou bush threat abatement plan helps to reduce the impact of weeds at priority sites using control measures such as ground spraying, aerial spraying, biological control and physical removal.

    Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

    Preserving the abundant historic heritage of Kamay Botany Bay National Park is a priority for NPWS. Regular maintenance of monuments, buildings and other structures is carried out to protect the park’s heritage value and ensure important asset conservation. The park promotes visitor education and efforts to explain its cultural importance through the provision and regular upkeep of interpretive signage are ongoing.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    Kamay Botany Bay National Park is renowned for its significant Aboriginal history, and Aboriginal communities’ links to the land remain strong. Aboriginal heritage within the park is substantial, and ongoing projects are in place to monitor the condition of key sites and assets. NPWS works to engage the wider community in celebrating the importance of this park and its cultural connections.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    Community involvement is integral to Kamay Botany Bay National Park. To reflect this, the park hosts a variety of events, tours and other public and cultural offerings. NPWS regularly attends to the upkeep and installation of interpretive exhibitions throughout the park and updates are ongoing. NPWS engages with Aboriginal communities and other community interest groups where possible.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Hazard reduction program

    Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

    View to Bare Island, Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Photo: Andy Richards