Captain Cook’s Landing Place
In the wake of James Cook
The place where Captain Cook first went ashore, on the southern Cape of the bay, is now marked as 'Captain Cook's Landing Place'. There is a monument in the form of a stone needle and the visitor centre displays various exhibits that provide more information on the history of Botany Bay. The arrival of Cook had a significant impact on Australia’s original inhabitants, the Aborigines, who were eventually driven out of the area or killed.
The first fleet
January 1788 marked the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain, 18 years after the arrival of Captain Cook. Eleven ships with over a thousand settlers, including convicts, arrived on the shores to set up the first British colony. Two days later, Captain Arthur Phillip planted the British flag in Sydney Cove claiming the country on behalf of the United Kingdom: every year, on 26 January, the country celebrates the event with Australia Day. The day is a national holiday and there are festivities throughout the country, including in Sydney. The programme is different each year, but the day always concludes with a spectacular fireworks display.
Spectacular fireworks over Sydney
The misfortune of La Perouse
Another explorer who set foot in Botany Bay – also in January 1788 – was Jean-François de Galaup, the Count of La Perouse. He was able to offer vital supplies to the settlers. However, during one of his many trips La Perouse’s ships sunk in mysterious circumstances: the wrecks were only discovered many years later in the Solomon Islands. At the North Cape of Botany Bay is the La Perouse Museum and Visitors Centre which is mostly dedicated to the French explorer and his fleet. The museum displays a large collection of maps, navigation instruments and relics salvaged from the shipwrecks of the La Perouse expedition.
Birds and fish
The combination of history and nature makes Botany Bay an attractive destination. The beautiful National Park is the habitat of unique native plants, dozens of bird species and a rich underwater world. It is also a popular dive site. There are great walking trails and miles of white sandy beach. Visit the viewing platform at Quibray Bay, an excellent spot for bird watching.