Captain Cooks Landing Place
Discover the tribute to our First People at Captain Cooks Landing Place
Visiting here, the place that is now known as Captain Cooks Landing Place, you really do feel the bitter sweet nature of the event that changed the future of Australia forever. It was a blustering afternoon when I visited and it felt fitting given it was National Reconciliation Week.
When you think about those moments over 200 years ago, you can only imagine what our First People felt.
And the enormity of how their lives would change once Europeans returned for good years later.
The actual place where Cook landed is now known as Kurnell (originally known as Kundel) and is part of Botany Bay, in Sydney’s South.
To some this historic place is a place of reconciliation and for others a place of hope.
A short history
If like me you are a bit rusty on your Australian history, here’s a quick run-down.
The Botany Bay area was inhabited for thousands of years by the Tharawal and Eora Aboriginal peoples and their clans.
Lieutenant Cook (later Captain) and the crew of the ship Endeavor crew landed on Silver Beach in Botany Bay on April 29 1770. The landing was part of a greater voyage (from 1768 – 1771) which had the official role of establishing an observatory at Tahiti and recording natural history, mostly botany, which was led by Joseph Banks.
The voyage also had a secret mission, which was to search for the Great South Land.
Cook and his crew were obviously successful in finding the Great South Land with Cook recording the landing at Botany Bay on the afternoon of Sunday 29 April 1770. After staying in Botany Bay for 8 days, Cook and his crew then sailed north charting the eastern coastline of Australia.
During their time in Kurnell Cook and his crew mapped the area, collected botanical specimens and tried without success to make contact with the Aboriginal inhabitants.
The land was officially claimed by Great Britain on 22 August 1770.
Captain Arthur Philip, commanding the famous First Fleet, then established the first penal colony in Sydney Cove in 1788.
Captain Cooks Landing Place is located in Kamay Bay National Park. Today the site is a historical monument and tourist site. To recognise the importance of the area, it was included on the National Heritage List in 2004.
As Cooks Landing Place is located in a National Park (Kamay Bay National Park), there are great facilities around including a Visitors Centre, bathrooms, picnic areas and walking trails. There are also some significant monuments to Australia’s First People.
It’s a great spot for both Australian and visitors to explore, so read on to find out what a day at Captain Cook’s Landing Place includes.
Stop by The Visitors Centre
One of the six guns from the Endeavour
The Kamay Bay National Park Visitors Centre is a good place to start your day.
Here you will find a small museum that contains details on the Endeavor voyage, the Life of Captain Cook and also details on the original inhabitants of the area, the Tharawal and Eora Aboriginal peoples.
There is also a small shop here that sells some basic supplies and gifts and you can grab a brochure or a map to help you around.
How to find Cooks Landing Place
The Burrawang Walk Loop is a fairly easy, level walk
Captain Cooks Landing Place is very easy to find and is accessible for almost everyone. There are two options for finding the landing place.
The first option is to take the Burrawang Walk Loop. This easy walk starts to the left of the Visitors Centre.
It is an easy 1.2km walk (although not it is not paved) that travels around the outskirts of the picnic area and eventually leads you to Captain Cooks Landing Place. The walk is relatively easy with some small inclines and some slightly rocky paths.
Along the walk you will pass the Welcome Wall (which details some great historical information), Cook’s Landing Place and a few other historic sites.
Make sure to stop by the Welcome Wall and Meeting Place
The second option, if you aren’t up for a walk through the bushland, is to just head down to the watersedge. Here you will find an excellent paved path that will take you along the water and to Captain Cooks Landing Place.
The paved walk along the waters edge is excellent
Captain James Cook Landing Place
Captain Cooks Obelisk
Along the paved path that runs along the waters edge (or at the end of the Burrawang Loop Trail) you will find the Captain Cook Obelisk.
The obelisk was erected in 1870 to mark the 100 year anniversary of the landing. Make sure to take some time to read the Obelisk – it is inscribed with various inscriptions including one from Captain Cooks journal which reads as follows:
Left Side Inscription
Extract From Captain Cook`s Journal
Saturday 28th April, A.D.1770.
At daybreak we discovered a bay,
and anchored under the south shore,
about two miles within the entrance in
sixth fathom water: the south point bearing
S.E, and the north point East.
Latitude 34ºS Longitude 208º.37 W
However, even more important than the obelisk is a rock that stand in the water. Look closely and you will see a small monument that shows where Captain Cook is first believed to have landed with his crew.
The day was incredibly grey when I was there so it is hard to spot in this photo, but you can still see it sitting on the rock ledge.
Look closely to see the monument on the rock
Lots of lovely spots to enjoy a picnic
After spending some time at Captain Cooks Landing Place you can now enjoy some of the great facilities the area has to offer.
Commemoration Flat is the main picnic area and is a great spot to wind down – enjoy a picnic, BBQ and views. It’s a great spot for the kids to kick a football and for parents and visitors to relax and enjoy the serenity.
While you are here….
Enjoy the splendour of Cape Solander
If you have a car with you, make sure to take a drive up to Cape Solander which is just a bit further up the hill – you won’t be disappointed.
For the most up to date access points and transport options, check the National Parks website.
Freedays Summary of Captain Cooks Landing Place
- Entry: Free
- Toilets: Yes
- Wheelchair friendly: Yes
- Free carparking: No, car parking is $8.00, per car per day. Or you can park on the road and walk in
- Free BBQ facilities: Yes
- Time to spend here: 1 hour to all day
- Food available: Snacks and drinks
- Address: 21 Cape Solander Drive, Kurnell NSW 2231
- Further details: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/captain-cooks-landing-place