Duration: Three Days
Transport: Public and private
Highlights: Aboriginal Rock Carvings, Captain Cook’s Landing Place, Como Heritage Trail, Hazelhurst Arts Centre
The Sutherland Shire is the traditional land of the Dharawal speaking people. It is unique in Australia's history, as Kamay Botany Bay is the location of the first recorded contact on the east coast of Australia between our First Nations people and Europeans.
The Shire is also home to a fascinating bushland and beachside history.
Discover it all on this 3 day itinerary - from rock engravings and middens near Jibbon Beach to Captain James Cook’s Landing Place at Kurnell, to the Bundeena Maianbar Arts Trail and the Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve.
Escape to the Shire, just 40 minutes south of Sydney CBD – for a list of accommodation options go to https://www.visitsutherlandshire.com.au/stay
Wander down to South Cronulla Beach for your first taste of our heritage, beginning with a walk along the Cronulla Beach Walk, originally built in 1921. Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club was established in 1907 and was one of the first surf clubs in Australia. While the original clubhouse was an old tram carriage, the beautiful art deco Cronulla clubhouse and pavilion was built in 1940. It sits just below the Cronulla RSL Memorial Club, established in 1942 - rooms were rented across the park in the Cecil apartments, and infamous weekend parties were held – before it moved into its current premises in 1953.
Catch the train or Drive to Hazelhurst Arts Centre at Gymea. The Hazelhurst estate was bequeathed to the Sutherland Shire by Ben and Hazel Broadhurst,
who purchased the land in 1945. The gallery hosts many exhibitions and offers a range of art classes for adults and children (bookings recommended). After enjoying the artworks and the gardens, relax for lunch in the beautiful Hazelhurst Café.
If you happen to be in the Sutherland Shire on a Sunday, drop into the Sydney Tramway Museum at Loftus and take a ride on a vintage tram.
In the afternoon, make your way west to Como by train or car and follow the 4.2km Como Heritage and Environment Trail around the peninsula. You’ll walk past the Como Hotel, the Como Pleasure Grounds, and Como Rail Bridge. Signs along the way share Como’s history, Aboriginal stories and reveal why famous Australian poet Henry Lawson spent time here. Download the detailed map to help navigate, you can also see the heritage report and take a virtual tour that explains each of the points of interest.
Have dinner at one of the Shire’s oldest buildings, the beautiful Como Hotel overlooking the Georges River. Built in 1878 for German railway workers, the hotel is a much-loved part of the Shire’s heritage. Unfortunately, the hotel that saw two world wars come and go, and could not withstand the fire on Sunday 3 November 1996. Affectionately known as the Como Hilton, the Hotel was re-built 5 years later keeping the original brickwork and retained the burnt door which was salvaged from the fire in the hotel’s restaurant. The beautiful Como Hotel has a touch of elegance standing in the quiet backwaters of the Georges River. With remarkable views and shady verandas.Settle in for dinner as you look out over the Como Pleasure Grounds and Georges River. You can feel the serenity.
The Dharawal speaking people were the original inhabitants of the Sutherland Shire. Their connection to the land here dates back more than 8,500 years, and there is evidence throughout the Shire of their culture and traditions including middens and rock carvings at Jibbon (near Bundeena) and extensive middens on the Kurnell peninsula.
The Gweagal clan of Dharawal speaking people are the traditional custodians of the land on the southern shore of Kamay Botany Bay.
In 1770, when the Endeavour sailed into Kamay Botany Bay and landed at Kurnell, the Gweagal watched from the shore and interacted several times with the Endeavour crew over the eight days that the ship was anchored just offshore.
Head into Kamay Botany Bay National Park. The Visitor Centre has historical information on the landing of the first explorers, the impact of colonisation on the local Aboriginal people, the local environment and wetlands, and maps and exhibitions. Walk down to Captain Cook's Landing Place near the obelisk erected in 1870 to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Endeavour. The year 2020 is the 250th anniversary of the first contact between the crew of HMB Endeavour and the Gweagal on the shores of Kamay Botany Bay. Three commemorative bronze sculptures, designed by Aboriginal artists, have been erected to mark the anniversary.
There are many excellent walks through the Kamay Botany Bay National Park, including the 5.5 kilometre return Cape Baily Coast Walk to the solar powered Cape Baily Lighthouse, built in 1950.
June and July are the best months to watch the humpback whale migration from the viewing platform at Cape Solander, named after the Swedish botanist who accompanied Joseph Banks on the Endeavour voyage.
After leaving Kurnell, if you have time take a stroll (or a bike ride) along Woolooware Bay Shared Pathway. Opened in April 2018 this award winning pathway is a safe, accessible transport link and recreational space. The foreshore is also habitat for a community of shorebirds, both migratory and resident, of which one is critically endangered, three are endangered and ten are vulnerable. The dilapidated heritage listed oyster processing jetty was sensitively restored and a new sand island constructed to be used by shorebirds including the endangered pied oystercatcher and the bar-tailed godwit, who make an annual migration as far as the Arctic Circle.
Tonight you could see a live music performance at The Brass Monkey. There is an intimate atmosphere with some of the big names in Australian and International music, including jazz, blues, roots, funk, pop and world music. Located in Cronulla Mall.
Head to Cronulla beach for breakfast before wandering down to the Tonkin Street Public Wharf to catch a beautiful green and gold wooden ferry across the Port Hacking River to Bundeena. Or firstly take one of the Cronulla and National Park Ferry Cruises up Port Hacking to see views of the Royal National Park, learn about early explorers of the area and historical settlements. *Please note due to COVID-19 restrictions on the ferry's capacity and there may be longer wait times.
Over in Bundeena explore the local art scene including pottery classes at Something At Marys and follow the Bundeena & Maianbar Art Trail on the first Sunday of the month for a glimpse inside the studios of renowned local artists.
The Bundeena Saltwater Market is also held on the first Sunday of the month with stalls from local artisans, live music and fresh produce. Have a browse, sit on the grass and gaze out over the beach as you relax in this little piece of paradise on the edge of the Royal National Park.
While you’re here make sure to walk the Jibbon Loop Track and discover Aboriginal rock engravings and middens. If it’s good weather bring your cossies and towel for a swim at Horderns Beach or any of Bundeena’s white sandy bays.
Choose a café along Brighton Street, Bundeena for lunch before taking the ferry back to Cronulla and walk to Hungry Point Reserve on the southern end of the Cronulla Peninsula (it is approx. 2.5kms from the train station). Bring a snack with you - there are no shops or facilities, and enjoy the lovely views back over Gunnamatta Bay, down the Port Hacking and over Salmon Haul Bay to the east. The Port Hacking area here provided food and shelter for the Dharawal people and there are middens along the entire foreshore.
If you have any spare time in the afternoon head to the Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve at Kareela. The reserve is 2.2 hectares of landscaped gardens devoted entirely to native plants. The gardens, established by council in 1969, are lined with four kilometres of paths and a picnic area with bbqs and seating. The reserve is named after botanist Sir Joseph Banks who with Daniel Solander and their assistants made specimens of 132 plant species in the eight days the Endeavour spent at Kamay Botany Bay in 1770. Many plants here are labelled and a section is devoted to Aboriginal food and medicinal plants. Bring a picnic and explore the paths before returning home.
Thank you for spending your weekend with us, and we hope to see you again soon!
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