Last updated: October 1, 2021
Known as one of the best whale watching spots in Sydney, Cape Solander in Kurnell’s Kamay Botany Bay National Park offers panoramic ocean views from high sea cliffs.
Cape Solander is also a great starting point for several coastal and bush walking tracks in this beautiful area just south of Sydney.
How to Get There
Cape Solander is located in Kamay Botany Bay National Park in Kurnell. Follow Captain Cook Drive around the Cronulla Sand Dunes.
Once in Kurnell, head into the National Park via Cape Solander Drive that leads to the lookout (map location).
Before heading to the lookout, you can schedule in a quick stop at the Kurnell Visitor Centre at 21 Cape Solander Drive to pick up a map and learn more about the history of the National Park.
Entrance to the park is $8 per vehicle which allows you to park your car in the national park the whole day.
About Kamay Botany Bay National Park
Still somewhat unknown in the Greater Sydney area, Kamay Botany Bay National Park consists of two major headlands:
- The northern headland at La Perouse
- The southern headland at Kurnell
The northern headland is home to several walking tracks and fire trails, family friendly beaches, historic sites (such as Bare Island), great diving spots and lots of cafes and restaurants.
Included in the National Heritage List in 2004, the southern headland, otherwise known as the Kurnell Peninsula, is where James Cook first arrived in Australia in the year 1770.
Perhaps the most popular attraction in the southern section of the Kamay Botany Bay National Park is of course the Cape Solander lookout.
About Cape Solander
Every year during the whale migration season from May to November, many Sydney-siders visit Cape Solander to try and spot migrating whales.
It’s for good reason that Cape Solander is regarded as a prime location to spot whales while they migrate to warmer waters. The whales often come as close as 200m to the high cliffs of the lookout point.
The popular vantage point is named after Daniel Solander, a Swedish botanist who travelled aboard the Endeavour with fellow botanist Joseph Banks and James Cook to Australia in 1768.
This also explains the name Botany Bay, which was originally called Botanist Bay, inspired by Solander and Banks.
The viewing platform with useful information boards at Cape Solander is well built, albeit a bit small.
It’s best to go and explore the surrounding area, as there are many other spots where you can settle in and perhaps spot some whales.
In June and July there may also be volunteers available at the site who can give you great tips on where best to see humpback whales.
Especially on windy days, when the water is choppy, it’s not that easy to spot the whales with all the occurring whitewash.
While there are lots of parking bays available at Cape Solander, it can get a bit crowded in weekends during the whale watching season.
Walking Tracks Nearby
The Kurnell Peninsula is a great destination for hiking enthusiasts, with several coastal and bush walking tracks to choose from.
Doing one or more of these tracks is the best way to discover the beauty of the southern headland.
1. Cape Baily Track
One of the most popular walking tracks in the National Park is the scenic Cape Baily Track.
Starting at the Cape Solander Lookout, this 6km return coastal trail meanders through a beautiful landscape of sandstone cliff tops and sand dunes to the Cape Baily Lighthouse.
The Cape Baily Light, as it’s officially called, is an active lighthouse that helps north-bound ships to stay close to the coast and avoid the strong currents further away in the ocean.
It was built in 1950 and has a rather unusual shape, which makes the effort to undertake this scenic track even more worthwhile.
2. Muru and Yena Tracks
The Muru and Yena walking tracks connect the visitor centre with the Yena picnic area just north of Cape Solander.
The two tracks run parrallel and can easily be combined as a 3km circuit walk, with start and finish at the Kurnell Visitor Centre.