Botany Bay is the forgotten cousin of the world famous Sydney Harbour. Anyone who has flown into the city will have seen Botany Bay as the airport runway sticks out into the middle of it!
That is the last that most see of this area until they leave again.
But, this part of the city has a lot to offer. Some parts of the bay offer stunning views, others carry massive historical significance for Australia.
We can also see it from our balcony – so we decided to check out all of the best spots and share them with you here.
The 7 Best Beaches and Sights around Botany Bay
Starting from the north-eastern corner of the bay – which is closest to Sydney’s CBD – we make our way in a counter clockwise direction to each site. So the order does not reflect our top recommendations.
Each destination offers a different mix of activities so read on to find out where you should head for your day out.
1. La Perouse
This is probably the most picturesque parts of the bay and offers some easy walking tracks, and historical sites. On arrival, you will be greeted by the Macquarie Watchtower which looks like an out of place column from a castle.
This sits a top the open green spaces that lead to down to the water in every direction.
The rocky coast from Frenchmans Beach, all the way around to the Bare Island Fort.
The fort is a heritage listed island structure that has spent time as a hidden fortification in the 1800s, a war veterans home in the 1900s, and more recently a museum.
Guided tours are available from National Parks NSW but you will have to book in advance.
If you wanted to something a bit more full on, there is a 12km (miles) walking track that will take you all the way to the northern headland of Botany Bay.
If you are able to visit on a Sunday then there is a free snake show in the early afternoons.
This gives you the chance to get up close to some of Australia’s most venomous snakes and watch a snake handler do his thing.
2. Yarra Bay Beach
If you are looking for something less busy you can head one beach over from La Perouse to Yarra Bay.
This is the last beach before a long stretch of shipyards and industrial complexes.
So it is not the nicest view, but does offer a nice stretch of sand and parklands that is popular amongst runners. There are also some rocky places to explore at either end of the beach, but limited compared to La Perouse.
You will also find the Yarra Bay Sailing club here.
3. Molineaux Point Lookout
Jammed in between the huge industrial ports, and Yarra Bay is a long stretch of road that hugs a big coastal wall. The road is publicly accessible – but looks like it is not due to some massive gates that are open – but you can continue on when these are open.
At the end of this stretch of road is a small parkland and a walkway that follows the tip of Molineaux Point.
Despite the industrial backdrop, this is the one spot when you can see everything else on this list clearly. It pokes right into the middle of Botany Bay and gives a great view of the opening of the bay in between La Perouse in the north, and Kurnell in the south.
4. Brighton Le Sands
This is the most popular spot with crowds on the beach and surrounding areas every day. There is a Novotel Hotel here and the main shopping strip right next to the beach which offers plenty of decent places to eat, and shop.
The waterfront itself has volleyball nets setup, and some netted off areas for swimming.
It is also the best view of the Sydney Skyline that you will find around Botany Bay. But it is also the closest spot to the airport runway.
I am always interested to see planes land and take off so it never bothers me, but it can get loud sometimes. So if you want a peaceful day on the beach probably check out other places on the list.
5. Ramsgate Beach
This is part of the same stretch of sand that links up with Brighton Le Sands, and offers the same views of the bay and the city skyline.
We found it to be a bit quieter than the northern part of the beach and really enjoyed some coffee and scones from the La Promenade Pattisserie just across the road from the waterfront.
Not sure what I enjoyed more… The view, or the scones.
6. Dolls Point Beach
Dolls point is the entry point for the Georges River, and a hub for watersports. The George River Sailing club is located right on the water and is a great place for a lunch stop.
There is a cafe and restaurant that offers tasty seafood and decent coffee to take away. We had a seafood basket for lunch which was tasty, but probably a bit small for the $30 price tag.
The beach and surrounding parkland offer plenty of nice spots to have an outdoor lunch picnic.
This is a more family oriented area and the playgrounds and sand can also get very busy on the weekends.
7. Kurnell beach
This is the start of a long stretch of sand that covers the whole southern edge of Botany Bay, all the way out to the headland.
Kurnell Beach is right at the western tip of this land mass.
The surrounding area is mostly used as a dog beach, so probably not the best for swimming as it can get a bit crowded. But it is a nice walk to head all the way around to the hidden stretch of sand at the tip that is usually deserted.
8. Captain Cook’s Landing Place
This is the place where the first British explorers stepped foot on Australian soil. Eventually leading to colonisation of the country by the British Empire.
On one hand, this is the birthplace of Australia as we know it today. On the other, it is the site of the first encroachment on Aboriginal land by the white fella.
The story is told in some detail in the surrounding areas – and it is far from glorified. So take the time to read the story in full if you can.
There are a handful of landmarks scattered along the coast line. If you venture out onto the rocks towards the headland you will get a nice view all the way back to La Perouse where we first set out, and out to the Tasman Sea.
Botany Bay FAQs
Where is Botany Bay Located?
Botany Bay is located 15kms from the Sydney CBD at it’s closest point in La Perouse. The Bay is directly south of the city and eastern suburbs regions.
There are bus links out to La Perouse.
What is Botany Bay Famous for?
The bay is most famous for being where Captain Cook discovered Australia. The site is at Kurnell as mentioned above and is worth visiting to learn more about this event.
Many of the sites around the bay are named after both Captain Cook, and the Endeavour (the name of his ship).
While this event is celebrated in this area, it is not looked at favourably by the Aboriginal people – and understandably so. Some sensitivity around the issue may be required if you ever do strike up a conversation with someone on this topic.
Can you Swim in Botany Bay?
Yes you can, but most beaches will have a fenced off area that is safest for swimming. The bay does have stingrays and blue ringed octopus in the water which can be a hazard if you step on one.
Botany Bay will always be a secondary attraction compared to all the city has to offers, and the more famous beaches.
But plenty of the spots offer a nice day out while taking in the water views, and some cultural history while you are at it.