Kurnell - Captain Cook's First Landing Place in Australia
Kurnell's Charming Character
It was Captain Cook's side mission that ended up being the most important, when he left Great Britain to observe the passage of Venus in Tahiti, in 1769, while being also told to find a continent in the Southern Hemisphere, called Terra Australis. Captain James Cook's observation of Venus hasn't been as successful as he hoped. He managed though to investigate the mystery continent, named later Australia, landing his ship Endeavour in Kurnell, Sydney's East Coast, in 1770. The area, named Botany Bay was of interest due to many native plants found there and collected. His discovery triggered further research of this area, later deemed to be unsuitable for agriculture because of the dry land.
Kurnell's natural habitats instigated this interest justifiably. It is situated near Cronulla, South of Sydney that has the longest stretch of beach in New South Wales. Kurnell's natural environment is unique, with five diverse habitats, also including Australand sand dunes that are the newest sand dunes in the world. Such sand dunes are also unique to this area featuring also Kurnell Dune Forest and Bay Bearded Greenhood Orchid.
Some rare aspects of this area include littoral rainforest characterised by thick leaves, native trees, and shrubs. It also has swamp sedgelands with important species such as wallum froglet and grass owl. New species are still being discovered there.
Among various unique traits, this site is just near Cape Solander that is known to be one of the best spots for whale watching.
Cook's ship Endeavour later stumbled upon Barrier Reef, where it experienced damage and needed to be repaired. Cook himself was killed in Tahiti during a fight with the locals.