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Things to know about Kurnell
Captain Cook and Kurnell
Kurnell is known as Captain Cooks’s Landing spot, the birthplace of modern Australia. Kurnell is the place where Captain James Cook first came in contact with The Gwiyagal people, Aboriginals who are traditional custodians of this area of Sydney.
Inscription Point is where he claimed this land for Great Britain on 29 April 1770. Captain Cook and his crew on the Endeavour stayed at Kurnell for eight days to collect specimens and make contact with the local people. Before heading off to Batavia (which is now known as Jakarta).
Captain Cook’s landing spot is an integral part of Australian history. Although he only stayed for eight days, he reported back to Great Britain that this area would be suitable for agriculture. Hence, Captain Arthur Phillip arrived on 18 January 1788 ahead of the first fleet.
Captain Phillip and his crew began to clear land on the other side of Botany Bay (La Perouse); however, he decided to move on and settle in Sydney Cove one week later.
Kurnell Visitor centre
Within Kamay Kurnell Botany Bay National Park, you will find the Visitors centre at 21 Cape Solander Drive, Kurnell, NSW, 2231. The centre is open Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 3.30 pm. However, the visitor centre is open from 9.30 am to 4 pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
Parking fees apply in the National Park, but there is free parking on the street. The visitor centre also has a cafe, art gallery, theatre and some shops, along with information about the park and its surroundings.
Where is Kurnell NSW?
Kurnell is in The Sutherland Shire, New South Wales, approximately 40kms from Sydney’s CBD, which means if you travel to Kurnell by car, it is under one hour drive.
Public transport – You must catch a train to Cronulla from Town Hall or Central (or anywhere else on the Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line). Make sure that your train will stop at Cronulla (not just Sutherland); the other option is to alight at Sutherland Station and catch the Cronulla train. Click here for the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra train timetable.
You will need to catch the 987 bus from Cronulla to Kurnell from Cronulla Railway Station. Kurnell bus line will pick you up from Cronulla St, opposite the train station.
Click here for the Kurnell bus timetable that will take you to the end of Captain Cook Drive Kurnell. You will also find the Kurnell to Cronulla bus timetable on the same website for your return journey.
Things to do in Kurnell with kids
Kamay Botany Bay National Park
Most people refer to the National Park as Kurnell National Park, where you can do much more than experience whale watching.
There are great things to do with kids at Botany Bay National Park. If the weather permits, grab a picnic blanket and some snacks, and bring along some outdoor games, making it an ideal area for a picnic. There are a few picnic tables, so if you are lucky, you can grab one.
I have been coming to this National Park since I was a little kid, and I have many fond memories of laying down a picnic blanket and spending the day at Kurnell. This park is an ideal place for the children to play, nothing quite like the outdoors to keep the children entertained.
Greenhills skate park
Greenhills Skate Park is perfect if you have bigger kids, and a skatepark is precisely what the doctor ordered. It is easy to find as entry to the park is via Lindum Road, and ample parking is right by the skatepark.
There’s a shaded area for you to sit and watch while the kids do their thing.
There are plenty of walking trails in the Kamay Botany Bay National Park for all ages and fitness levels. For the little ones, explore the Burrawang walk, where there are many important historical sites. Start at Captain Cook Landing place, head over to sir Joseph Banks’s monument, and see the latest bronze sculptures.
You will also pass many other significant historical sites, so keep your eyes posted on the many signs along the way. Here you will go back in time and learn where history took place.
This entire walk is accessible with a pram, so the little ones will enjoy it too. The loop is 1.2km, so not too far for tiny legs.
If you listen carefully, you can hear a soundscape featuring the Aboriginal language and children laughing. This historical path is a fun and educational walk for adults and children, so enjoy it!
Whale watching Kurnell
During winter, the kids will love Kurnell Whale Watching! You can either go on a tour of Botany Bay by boat or visit Cape Solander yourself. If you are choosing to book a trip, you have two times to choose from, morning or lunchtime slots.
June and July are the best times to see humpback whales in Botany Bay, especially in Cape Solander. Cape Solander is a fantastic lookout during whale watching season.
Things to remember – bring your binoculars if you have some; although you can see them from the shoreline, they may be too far to see more than a dot. It can be cold on the boat or the shore, so remember to dress appropriately. If you want to park yourself down for a while, take a couple of camping chairs, a blanket and a thermos full of hot drinks (you can thank me later).
Remember to be patient! It may take a while to see one. The last time I was there, I was lucky to have seen one straight away. But that isn’t always the case. It is the perfect adventure for your day trip to Kurnell.
Horse Riding Kurnell
Kurnell Boarding Stables and Riding School have great holiday programs for the kids. KBS has been part of the Kurnell community for over 60 years, so you know you’re in good hands.
Situated at Lot 2, Captain Cook Drive, open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm. Your little ones can enjoy pony rides with knowledgeable staff. KBS will supply the helmets; you produce the small fee. – No booking necessary.
Bonna Point Reserve
The Bonna Point Reserve is one of the newest additions to Kurnell. The park has a dual flying fox ride, slides and an elevated rope walkway. It is the perfect stop for all ages, as it also has a great little skate park for novice skaters and little kids.
Things to do in Kurnell
Kurnell dog beach
If you are planning to bring your pooch, there is a dog park at the end of Silver Beach. A great place to take your fur baby off the leash and run around.
There are pros and cons to bringing your dog to Kurnell. Although this dog park is an excellent idea for your pet, any National Park in New South Wales prohibits dogs (even on their leash). This means many of the activities won’t be allowed with your dog, and I am sure you wouldn’t want a member of your family staying in the car all day, missing out on all the fun.
Kurnell Walking tracks
There are plenty of walking trails in the Kamay Botany Bay National Park for all ages and fitness levels.
Maru and Yena Loop this walk is 2.5km long (approximately 1 hour to walk the loop). This short loop starts at the visitor’s centre and circles around; it’s a beautiful walk to enjoy the coastline (you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a whale).
The Banks Solander Track is an excellent walk for native plant lovers as along this track; you will discover for yourself the many native plants that Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander documented back in 1770.
This Kurnell walking track should only take you about 30 minutes as it is only a 700m loop.
Cape Baily Lighthouse
If you plan on going Whale Watching this trip, add the Cape Baily Lighthouse to your itinerary. This Kurnell walking track in Kamay Botany Bay National Park starts at Cape Solander.
The Cape Baily Coast Walk should take approximately 2.5 hours (round trip) as it is an 8km walk. Follow the marked signs that will lead you around the shoreline; the clifftops make for some spectacular views. So stop, catch a breath, and take it all in. If you continue onto Cronulla instead of heading back, it becomes the botany Bay coastal walk.
Botany Bay coastal walk-Kurnell to Cronulla
Okay, so if hiking is your thing, you will love this coastal walk, as this 13km coastal walk from Kurnell to Cronulla or Cronulla to Kurnell will take you approximately 4.5 hours however, if you choose to slow down and enjoy the view along the way it will take longer.
This clifftop coastal walk is fantastic! From Kurnell, along Boat Harbour and finally to Cronulla. There is so much to see along this coastline walk that you will wish you hadn’t discovered it before.
Water Activities in Kurnell
If sunrises are your thing (as mine), then waking up early to catch a glimpse of heaven is worth it. Potter Point is the perfect location to sit back with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy what nature does best.
Being an early riser is good for the soul, it might not feel like it in winter when the alarm goes off and you are freezing, but it is 100 per cent worth the effort once you see that sunrise.
Potter point is also a popular spot for surfing and fishing in Kurnell.
Silver beach Kurnell
If you plan a day trip to Kurnell when the weather is warmer, plant yourself somewhere close enough to Silver beach to enjoy a day of picnicking and swimming.
I have been coming to Silver Beach Kurnell for years, and it is a perfect place for little children because of the calm waters you will find along this part of the shore.
Towra Point Nature Reserve
Kurnell has many hidden gems, and this is one of them. Tucked away among Tower Point Nature Reserve, you will find this gorgeous little paradise, Towra Beach.
In summer, Towra Beach is perfect for kayaking and boating. Unfortunately, Towra Point is only accessible by boat, so you must head towards the Bonna Point boat ramp for access.
You will find Quibray Bay viewing platform in Towra Point Nature Reserve. The perfect place for bird watching (if that is your thing), or to be honest; it is a great place to appreciate what is around you.
Boat Harbour Kurnell
Boat harbour Kurnell was once a hidden gem among locals, but not so much. This beach is an excellent spot for swimming around this area. I suggest you arrive early because this is a hot spot in summer!
Bring your 4WD and park it on the sand amongst everybody else. This isolated beach is a beautiful bay perfect for families. Suppose you have no 4WD, no problem. You can walk there from Greenhills Beach (around 4km) or Kurnell. Not great when you are carrying a heap of stuff, though.
Where to stay in Kurnell
Silver Beach Tourist Park
For most, Kurnell is a day trip; however, if you want to spend the night and make Kurnell a weekend of it, then there are a few options in Kurnell itself.
Silver Beach Tourist Park has been around for a long time, but it was formerly under a different name. Here you will find reasonably priced cabins with facilities that are close to Kurnell’s tourist sites.
Cronulla Motor Inn
Other than the Tourist Park, accommodation in Kurnell itself is scarce. Your best option is to head to Cronulla (it is a -10 min drive). There are a few options here, and a great place to explore if you intend to spend the weekend.
Cronulla Motor Inn is centrally located, a short distance from the heart of Cronulla. Here you will find comfortable, clean, affordable rooms that are basic but convenient with cable tv and free wifi.
Rydges Cronulla Beachside
Ideally located right in the middle of Cronulla, the Rydges Cronulla Beachside is the perfect hotel for your weekend getaway. You can see why many choose to stay in this hotel with clean, comfortable rooms and amazing views overlooking Cronulla beaches.
The hotel has all the facilities you expect from a Rydges hotel. However, parking is extra, so check prices before you arrive.
Where to eat in Kurnell
I will be honest; there aren’t as many options to eat in Kurnell as in neighbouring suburbs.
Kurnell 1770 bakery and cafe
I love this bakery; it is small and cosy, the staff are friendly, and the cakes are delicious. Kurnell 1770 bakery and cafe in an ideal location across from the National Park.
Endeavour coffee and icecream
This place is always busy in the morning, serving coffee to the locals. Right on the corner and in an ideal location, with parking across the road. A great spot if you intend to spend the day at Silver Beach.
Silver Beach cafe, post office and newsagency
This little shop has been around since I was a child, Obviously revamped. However, the Silver Beach cafe, post office and newsagency have been servicing the Kurnell community for years.
If you want a pizza, this is the only pizzeria in Kurnell. Talotta’s pizzeria I have ordered from here many times over the years, and I have never been disappointed. Also, if you are staying at the Tourist Park, they deliver (most places will not deliver to Kurnell).
Cook at Kurnell
The Cook at Kurnell is one of the newest on the block. This cool beachy food truck shack is the perfect little lunch stop if you feel like a low-key, relaxing lunch.
Steve and Effie’s Takeaway
Steve and Effie’s Takeaway may not have an internet or social media presence, but they do have a big presence in this little community. They have been around for many years and have been servicing Kurnellians for years. There is ample parking space, and the takeaway restaurant is located at 45 Captain Cook Dr, Kurnell, NSW 2231.
The Milkhouse Kurnell is a little milkbar walking distance from the National Park. Stop by and enjoy a great meal in this warm and inviting milk bar. Although it has that old-fashioned feel, it definitely doesn’t have an old-fashioned menu.
Other things worth mentioning.
Kurnell has a little coastal village feel to it, even though they are less than an hour from Sydney CBD. Since Kurnell’s recent upgrades and refurbishments, it has now been marked as one of Sydney’s hot tourist spots (especially on the weekend).
There are also many community shops worth mentioning here, not as a tourist destination but for the sake of excellent service and a sense of community spirit.
Anna’s Pop-Up Shop
This little boutique is worth browsing while you are in the neighbourhood. Situated between the pizzeria and the milk bar, Anna’s Pop-Up Shop is worth looking at! Anna has been a fashion designer for years, and now her pop-up store allows you to step right into a little piece of heaven.
Diamond Point Hair and Beauty
Why not pop into Diamond Point Hair and Beauty if you plan to spend the weekend? Of course, you can book online to ensure you aren’t disappointed, but the service here will have you returning again. The friendly staff will have you looking beautiful in no time.
Kurnell Sports and Recreation Club
This club has been servicing the community for a lifetime, and if you are staying the weekend in Kurnell, then this is the perfect place to stop. The Reccas is ideal for a little Chinese and sneaky glass of wine.
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