La perouse Walk, Sydney, Australia

A walk to Sydney's Birthplace - 12 km, 3 hrs

The wild coastline south of Little BayTHE LA PEROUSE WALK is one of Sydney's Historic walks along the southern coastline. At 12 km long, it packs in a lot of visual and historic features. The walk around Cape Banks and Henry Head is a varied to wild track with a some rock-hopping. The 12 km walk takes you around to Cape Banks and then to La Perouse, the landing point by the French, two days after the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay in 1788.

HISTORY: When the French expedition headed by La Perouse arrived in Botany Bay, they were glad of some European company (the First Fleet). La Perouse and his men had just removed themselves from the attacks in Tonga and made their way here. One of their priests - Pere Receveur had sustained an eye injury and died here and was buried. His grave is still able to be seen. While the French were getting themselves sorted out, Arthur Phillip had sailed north to find a more suitable site for a settlement. Phillip returned and the ships of the First Fleet sailed north to Port Jackson where the settlement of Sydney Cove was founded. The French sailed out of Botany Bay and disappeared.

The old Trans Tasman Cable Station is now a top class Museum detailing the maritime expeditions of the South Pacific

Crowning a circular promontory is the Macquarie Watchtower built between 1820-1822, a solid sandstone fortification constructed to withstand the onslaughts of man and nature. Macquarie ordered it built to quell lawlessness and prevent smuggling by escaped convicts. It originally housed a corporal and three privates who reported on ships entering and leaving Botany Bay.

LA PEROUSE, PERE RECEVEUR MEMORIALS The La Pérouse Memorial was designed by George Cookney and erected in 1825 at the instigation of Baron de Bougainville as a memorial to the tragic last expedition of Admiral de La Pérouse and his party. A large sandstone tomb marks the grave of one of the party, a French priest, Pere le Receveur, a Franciscan scientist with La Perouse expedition who died here in 1788. He was the Chaplain and naturalist with the La Perouse expedition. He was speared in Samoa and died on reaching Australia. He was the first known Frenchman to be buried in the colony of New South Wales. The tomb was also probably designed by Cookney in 1825.

Map of walking Route on the La Perouse Walk

ITINERARY for La Perouse Walk - 12 km

  • WHERE TO START: From Jennifer St, close to the Little Bay Bus stop.
  • HOW TO GET THERE: By car or bus to Jennifer St, Little Bay. Bus return to Sydney from la Perouse bus station.
  • WHEN TO GO: his is a walk that can be done year round, winter being the most exposed to rough weather.
  • FACILITIES:The closest facilities are at the golf course and then at La Perouse. There are regular bus services between the city and La Perouse.
  • FOOD & WATER: Take at least one litre per person and some snacks in case you get hungry.
  • WALKING GEAR: Weather: can change at anytime, so pack appropriate wet weather gear, sun hat and glasses.
  • THE WALK: 12 kms of varied walk along Sydney's wild coastline.
  • Half Day. Bus to Jennifer St. and follow the map around the coastline. Stop for a sense of history at Cape Banks. At La Perouse get some fish and chips or ice cream. We catch the bus back to Sydney.
Our Take:
Be sure to visit the la Perouse Museum which houses a fascinating selection of early European and Pacific Island exhibits and mementoes. Macquarie’s presence is here in the form of his watchtower, built to prevent southern smuggling and convict escapes. You can also visit the fort on Bare island. This is a great walk which will transport you back to the earliest times of European exploration and settlement in the colony. Some great views to be had.