Kurnell is a place of historical significance tucked away and kept fairly remote from the rest of Sydney due to it’s peninsula and the national parks and reserves surrounding it.
It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney, spend the day in the sun by the beach and you honestly feel like you’ve stepped into a small town once you arrive.
While Kurnell may seem like a sleepy little town there is actually A LOT to do in Kurnell both for adults and kids. There are a variety of beautiful spots to visit and Kurnell features everything from cafes to kids playgrounds to beaches and some of the most amazing national park walks. There’s even whale watching if you go at the right time of year.
If you’re heading to Kurnell for the day here are some of the wonderful things you can do whilst you’re there.
How To Get To Kurnell
The best way to get to Kurnell is to drive. Kurnell is approximately a 10 minute drive from Cronulla along a single road.
If you don’t have a car you should consider hiring one for the day.
Hire a car
You can get to Kurnell via public transport. However, it’s fairly cumbersome.
First catch the train to Cronulla and then you can catch the 987 bus from Cronulla station to Kurnell. The bus ride takes around 11-15 minutes. See bus details
1. Silver Beach/Kurnell Foreshore
If the sun is shining and it’s a warm day when you’re heading to Kurnell then the expansive Silver Beach, along the Kurnell Foreshore, is where you’ll likely want to spend most of your day.
The beach faces north, meaning you capture the sun all day (so bring your sunscreen) and the beach is also extremely calm without waves making it perfect for families with young children or elderly people who don’t want to brave the waves at Cronulla.
Free street parking exists all along the beach, making it much easier to park here than at Cronulla. Even when the foreshore parking is full (which is rarely is) there is street parking just slightly back from the beach so you shouldn’t have to walk far.
Kurnell Beach has multiple rock groynes sticking out to help retain the sand. There is one netted area in the middle of the beach that has a shark net and is the safest place to swim. Though people tend to swim all up and down the beach.
There was a shark attack across the bay in 2022 where a man died so I do suggest swimming in the netted area if possible.
Spend the day sunbaking, swimming, sea shell collecting or even fishing off the rock groynes.
There’s also a dog beach where dogs are allowed 24/7! meaning you can spend the entire day at the beach with your dog. Click here to learn more about the dog beach in Kurnell and where exactly it is or go to point #6 for more details.
2. The Whale Sculptures
Along the east end of the foreshore into the Kamay Botany Bay National Park is a nice talk that passes multiple sculptures and landmarks symbolising the first encounter between Aboriginal Australians and the crew of the HMB Endeavor.
There are large ribs out of the rocks you can access a low tide, nuwi canoe sculptures as well as a monument to Captain Cook and a memorial to Sir Joseph Banks.
The walk ends in a magnificent large whale sculpture featuring a mother whale and her baby as well as a bronze fishing net.
Kids love climbing on the whale and it’s an easy walk that is paved most of the way and grassy in the areas where it’s not paved.
3. Bonna Point Reserve (Best For Kids)
Built in 2020 this $1.2 million playground is a great place to take kids and is perfect for families with young children under about 10-12 years old.
The park features a variety of great play equipment for children including:
- 4 swings
- 2 flying foxes
- A climbing area and “sky-pods” playground
- 2 slides
- A smaller toddler play section
- A small freestyle skate park
The play area is surrounded by sand (not those painful bark chips in other playgrounds) and there are shade wings and grassy areas to sit for adults as well as some seating and tables. There are also toilets right next to the playground.
Parking gets extremely busy on weekends and public holidays so you’ll want to get there early. There is street parking further away so you can always find something it might just involve a bit of a walk.
NOTE: Make sure you don’t park in the trailer parking at the end unless you have a trailer or you will get booked.
4. Cape Solander Whale Watching Lookout
Cape Solander is absolutely stunning and one of the best places in Sydney to go whale watching.
June and July are the best times to go whale watching as the humpback whales migrate north with their young seeking warmer waters. However, whales can be seen between May-October if you’re lucky.
You can also seek seals, birds and a variety of other wildlife.
It’s a beautiful location and the view of the cliffs and the ocean is just amazing.
If you’re up for it you can walk to Cape Bailey lighthouse or just do a little walk along the cliffs. Well worth a visit.
5. Greenhills Skate Park
Halfway towards Kurnell is the Greenhills Skate Park which is a large skate park with around 1,600 m2 of skateable area.
It has some low slanting ramps for smaller children and less experiences skaters as well as a bowl area, street zone and a snake run area.
The skate park is really fun and it gets busy all throughout the year with little kids on scooters and older kids and adults who are much more skilled skaters.
Everyone seems to work around each other and most people there are really nice.
If your kids are into skating or have a scooter this is a great place for them to left off some steam. There are bathrooms right near the skate park as well.
6. Dog Off-Leash Beach (All Day Access)
A lot of people don’t realise that there is actually a 24 hour dog beach at Kurnell where you can hang out with your dog off leash any time of the day, any day of the week.
While Greenhills at Cronulla and Boat Harbour do have some off leash times these are usually outside of peak hours and so Kurnell is the perfect spot to play at the beach with your pooch any time of the day.
The dog beach is located at the west end of Silver beach and is just one section of beach between 2 groynes. It is located directly opposite the Bonna Point Reserve.
It’s a small section and isn’t the whole beach but it’s still nice to have space for your dog to run, play and swim in the water.
There are clearly marked signs as to where you can and can’t have your dog off leash and their are toilets conveniently located at the playground at Bonna Point Reserve.
7. Cape Bailey Lighthouse Track
The Cape Bailey Lighthouse Track starts at Cape Solander Lookout and is about 3.2 km out to the lighthouse (and then 3.2 km back).
The walk along the cliffs is gorgeous and the view out over the ocean always blows me away.
Along the walk you’ll see where people used to live in shacks build into the cliffs (which have since been pulled down) and there are some wildlife and flowers along the way too.
Cape Bailey Lighthouse itself is lacklustre and honestly one of the most boring lighthouses you can visit. Up at the lighthouse you don’t even get any panoramic views as the shrubbery covers everything.
But the walk there and back is what the enjoyment is and you can even continue on to Potters Point and Boat Harbour if you’ve got it in you.
8. The Secret Skylight Cave
Hidden away on the lower cliffs of Cape Solander is the secret skylight cave.
This little cave has a natural skylight and is a great spot to take some jaw dropping photos for your social media profile.
The cave looks better in photos and is extremely small in real life. It’s only worth going to if you want the photos otherwise it’s very underwhelming.
The cave in located in a dangerous section of the lower cliffs and is right near the cliffs edge. If you go here you do so at your own risk and I do not advise you take children to this spot.
Getting here isn’t too difficult but you need to know where you’re going and you need to be super safe so you don’t hurt yourself.
9. Boat Harbour
If you’ve got a 4WD then there is no better spot in Kurnell that you can go than Boat Harbour.
It’s the only beach in Sydney where you can set up a barbeque on the beach right next to your car. Dogs are allowed off lead at all times from May-September and allowed on lead between 5pm-9am in October-March.
Accessible through Boat Harbour 4WD Park (entrance near Greenhills Skate Park) it’s open everyday except Chirstmas Day.
On weekends and public holidays between October and Easter the park is only accessible to season pass holders and especially busy days they do a ballot system for entry.
So don’t just expect to rock up and get in on Boxing Day if you’ve never been before.
You can also access Boat Harbour by parking near Greenhills Skatepark and walking or parking at Voodoo Point and walking to Boat Harbour.
Some people also walk all the way from Cronulla along the beach.
10. Commemoration Flat Picnic Area
Commemoration Flat Picnic Area is (in my humble opinion) the best picnic area in all of Kurnell.
It doesn’t have a playground like Bonna Point Reserve but it has lots of picnic tables, a huge flat grassy area great for playing ball games and lots of trees that create ample shady on those hot sunny days.
There are public barbeques, toilets and even a water bottle refill station and cold shower.
It’s extremely close to the Kurnell Whale Sculptures and just overall a great place to spend the day with friends and family having lunch or having a picnic.
11. Yena Flat Picnic Area
12. The Steps
The steps is a location not too far past the Kurnell Whale Sculpture where a giant rock formation juts out over a walkway.
It’s a stunning sight to see and a nice walk along the rocks.
You can park directly at The Steps or walk there from the Whale Sculpture.
13. Towra Point Nature Reserve
Many people don’t know this but Kurnell is home to protected wetlands in the Towra Point Nature Reserve.
I’ve been here on school excursions but it also offers swimming, boating, kayaking and canoeing activities (though you’ll need to bring your own gear).
Towra Beach is a great place to escape the crowds as not many people go there. It’s only accessible by boat or paddling and there are no facilities there so pack your own gear.
If you want to go somewhere quiet and unique then this is a great spot.
14. Quibray Bay Viewing Platform
I’m embarrassed to say that as a local to this area I only recently became aware of the Quibray Viewing Platform.
It’s located on the left of Captain Cook Drive as you head towards Kurnell, just before the skatepark.
It offers amazing views of the surrounding ecosystem and bay area and is a good spot for birdwatching and nature photography (of which I am not skilled at).
15. Cook On Kurnell (Cafe With Playground For Kids)
Cook on Kurnell deserves a spot on this list as I feel like it’s a destination cafe.
The cafe is mostly outdoors and not undercover so it’s best to visit on sunny days but it has a playground for small kids which can make it the perfect place for families to relax and get some food or a coffee while the kids have something to do.
They sometimes have live music and have a variety of food options.
Visit the beach or Bonna Point Reserve with the kids and then stop off at Cook on Kurnell for lunch or an early dinner.
It’s a great spot but for better quality coffee check out some of the other cafe’s below.
Other Great Spots To Eat In Kurnell
Despite being a pretty small suburb Kurnell has a variety of great places to go to eat and drink.
I can’t list all of them as I haven’t been to all of them but here are some of the places I have been to and enjoyed.
Located across the road from the netted swimming area on the Kurnell Foreshore this cafe is a good spot to stop and grab some hot chips, a burger and maybe an ice cream or some lollies.
Surprisingly their coffee isn’t half bad either which I did not expect.
I regularly go here with my kids and they never dissappoint.
One of the nicer cafes in Kurnell 1770 does pretty good coffee and if they have any of their while chocolate and raspberry or strawberry muffins I can’t recommend them enough. They are to die for!
I suggest getting them warmed up too.
They also do a variety of breakfast options so you can sit down relax and have a coffee and some breaky before heading out on your next adventure.
Milkhouse Kurnell (Great Coffee)
I love the coffee from Milkhouse and their coffee is pretty good and the vibe in the cafe is friendly and nice.
It feels like a modern cafe where they care about the quality of their coffee.
I wouldn’t rate it up there with Melbourne coffee but if I could only go to one place for coffee in Kurnell it would be here (or maybe 1770).
If you’re craving a burger and some hot chips and you’re on a budget then you can’t go wrong with Hot Chix.
The staff are friendly, the food is what you’d expect and it doesn’t take too long for them to make it. Though they do get busy at times.
They are conveniently located next to the local IGA as well if you want to grab any extra snacks.
SIDE NOTE: You pay for your food when it’s ready not when you first order it. This confused me at first and might confuse some other people.
There are even more great cafes and restaurants to visit in Kurnell but the ones above are all the ones I have personally been to and enjoy.
If you have any other recommendations please let us know in the comments section down below.