Sydney is a magnificent city, one which is blessed with fantastic beaches and lots of waterways.
Most people would have heard of Sydney Harbour, and although the twin icons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are recognised all over the world, the first settlement of Sydney was due to be constructed on Botany Bay, which is in Sydney’s south.
Botany Bay is certainly not as dramatic or as impressive as Sydney Harbour, but in any other city it would be considered to be a true gem. It is quite attractive, but just doesn’t compare in terms of size or beauty to the harbour.
“The northern gateway to Botany Bay is the suburb of La Perouse.”
It is one a a number of Southern Sydney suburbs which bear French names.
The reason for those suburbs being given French names is because a number of French explorers, under the command of Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de La Perouse arrived in Botany Bay on 26th January, 1788, just a few days after Captain Arthur Phillip had arrived with shiploads of convicts to set up a colony in New South Wales.
La Perouse had landed at Bare Island, which is just a few metres offshore from the mainland, so it is quite fitting that the place where he first landed should now bear his name.
Bare Island is now part of Botany Bay National Park, which includes most of the La Perouse foreshore. Bare Island now contains a fort that was built to protect Botany Bay and on top of the hill at La Perouse is a customs building that was built in the style of an old English castle keep.
On the eastern side of the La Perouse peninsula are rocky cliffs, which drop to a rock plateau that is popular with anglers. Care should be taken if walking along the rocks as they face the ocean and the odd large wave can rise suddenly and wash over the rocks, putting people at risk.
“There are a couple of nice beaches which face the heads.”
The largest of these is Congwong Bay Beach, and there is the smaller Little Conwong Beach further around the headland.
On the Botany Bay side of the peninsula is Frenchman’s Beach, which forms a narrow, sandy strip which looks quite inviting. Near Frenchman’s Beach is a small shopping strip which has several restaurants and cafés.
“La Perouse is historic in that it is close to the spot where Captain Cook first stepped ashore in Australia in 1770.”
The local indigenous population also has a presence at La Perouse, and on weekends conduct boomerang throwing g demonstrations and present a reptile show to show their snake handling skills.
Because La Perouse gets very busy on weekends, it is best to visit midweek when parking and attractions aren’t too full. If the weather is good, you can enjoy a swim, and if you enjoy diving, then Bare Island is one of Sydney’s most popular dive sights.