La Perouse is an important part of Sydney’s history. It’s where Captain Arthur Phillip’s First Fleet initially landed in 1788 before deciding on Sydney Cove. The area is named after a French explorer who missed the First Fleet by days. The Aboriginal connection to this land dates back thousands of years and is an important part of its story.
History and heritage
La Perouse Museum is on the northern headland. Here you’ll find exhibits from the voyage of Comte de la Perouse, who arrived just days after the First Fleet. In heritage-listed Cable Station, the museum houses the complete Atlas of the Voyage of La Perouse as well as local Aboriginal stories.
Nearby is the 1880s-built Bare Island Fort, featured in the Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible 2. Once a quarter on Bare Island you can experience Blak Markets, a wonderful day of traditional Aboriginal dance performances, indigenous arts and craft stalls as well as tasty bush tucker.
Indigenous-led Kadoo Tours offers fascinating insights into the area. Go walkabout with Tim Ella of the Dharawal–Yuin people in Kamay Botany Bay National Park as he shares some of his personal history and the stories of the local indigenous population. It’s also a chance to try bush tucker and experience a ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony.
Things to do
The water around Bare Island is a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. Up on the headland is the Henry Head walking track, a 4km return trail to Endeavour Lighthouse and World War II battlements. Walk a little farther to Cape Banks for even more breathtaking bay and ocean views.
Frenchmans Bay opens into Botany Bay at its eastern end. Congwong Bay Beach is found within the Botany Bay National Park, the calm bay faces Botany Bay and is accessible from the La Perouse Loop Road. Little Congwong Beach, also in the National Park, isn’t officially a nudist beach but people have been known to bare all there.
Three splendid golf courses - St Michael’s Golf Club, The Coast Golf Club and Randwick Golf – are perfectly positioned on the mesmerising coastline north of Cape Banks to take in spectacular water views. You don’t have to play golf to enjoy them, all three clubs have enticing restaurants.
Eat and drink
Being by the water, it’s a given that you’re going to get great seafood. The Boatshed is a casual beachside restaurant which also offers take away fish and chips and Danny’s Seafood is another popular local gem. Driftwood on the Bay specialises in hearty café fare and an impressive cake counter.
Getting to La Perouse in Sydney’s southeast is easy by public transport, with direct buses from the city centre. The route from the CBD will take you through inner city Surry Hills, through Randwick and Kingsford before getting to beachside Maroubra, Malabar and Little Bay.