This National Park straddles both heads of Botany Bay , 15km south of Sydney Harbour, enclosing 458 hectares of coastal bushland. Visitors come here to enjoy the walking tracks, picnic areas and sheltered beaches. The area played a key role in Australia’s history; the first European settlers originally landed in this area in 1788, and today there are a number of interesting historical exhibits and monuments to explore.
Captain Cook landed here in 1770, naming the bay after the botanical specimens his naturalist Joseph Banks found here. Banks suggested it would be a good place to incarcerate a few crims, but when the First Fleet arrived in summer 18 years later, the scorched vegetation and limited water supplies were a far cry from Banks’ wintry paradise. The new arrivals quickly relocated to Sydney Harbour.
Cook’s monument-marked landing place is on the southern side of the park in Kurnell . The nearby visitor centre conveys the impact of European arrival on the local Aboriginal people, and has information on the surrounding wetlands and Cook’s life and expeditions.