Cronulla is in the picturesque Sutherland Shire. It is home to many lovely beaches, and the Hacking River. People who live here say it is ‘God’s own country’.
Cronulla and National Park Cruises
Cruising the Royal National Park and the Hacking River
Dining cruises include:
Lunch $55 Wednesday and Friday 12pm for 2.5 hours
Other options include sunset cruise, champagne breakfast. Check website for times and note bookings are essential.
Cruise without meals
Summer Cruises: September to May
Departing Daily: 10.30am returning 1.30pm
Departing Sunday: 10.30am returning 1.30pm & departing 2pm returning 5pm
Family: (2 Adults up to 4 children) $70
Phone and bookings: (02) 9523 2990
Web site: www.cronullaferries.com.au
Departs: Public Wharf, Tonkin Street, Cronulla – a short stroll behind the train station. Parking available: Signage quite visible.
Other Ferries Servicing Port Hacking
Day trip to Bundeena
Bundeena is a pretty seaside village, just across the Port Hacking River from Cronulla, Sydney’s southernmost beach. Bundeena is surrounded by water – the Port Hacking River and beaches such as wide-open Jibbon or broad sand flats at nearby Maianbar, and the ideal spot for a day trip.
There is a commuter ferry working to a regular timetable servicing resident and day trippers between Cronulla and Bundeena costing $6.10 Adults, $3.05 Children/ concession , $20 family (2 Adults & up to 4 children) one way.
Top Free Things To Do Around Sutherland Shire
The list below has all sorts of activities, adventures and things to do, there is something for everyone.
1. Sutherland Shire Historical Society & Museum
When: Every Saturday: 9am-1pm
Where: School of Arts, East Parade, Sutherland, on western side of Sutherland railway station.
Details: The aim is to preserve history of the Sutherland Shire. There is plenty to see and experience with interactive displays, walk through replicas and viewing exhibits are just some of the things to do here.
2. Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre
When: Gallery 10am – 5pm daily, Cafe 9am – 4pm daily
Where: 782 Kingsway, Gymea, a 5 minute walk from Gymea train station.
Details: Free admission to gallery. This exciting Gallery & Arts Centre is worth a visit, with the combination of a major public gallery and community gallery with a complete arts centre, state-of-the art theatrette, there is plenty to do here. It is home to over 15 national and international travelling exhibitions, 7 studios including a New Media studio, print workshop & ceramics studio, and workshops.
3. Cronulla Esplanade Trail
When: All year round.
Where: Short stroll from Cronulla Plaza, Cronulla.
Details: This 1.5 hour easy walk certainly does offer spectacular views of beaches and coastline. The trail is paved and takes you around the peninsula. Walk along the many restaurants and cafes. The trail is 7km overall.
4. E.G. Waterhouse National Camilla Gardens
When: Open Monday- Sunday. Weekdays: 9am-4pm & Weekends: 9:30am-5pm
Where: President Ave, Caringbah – need a car to visit here
Details: These Gardens began as a project under the 1970 Captain Cook Bicentenary program, with first plantings in 1969. The gardens today are a tranquil oasis filled with camellias and other plant life. A wishing well and several playgrounds are also features at these gardens.
5. Como Park & Saltwater Pool
When: All year round
Where: Verona Range (off Cremona Rd), Como, not far from Como railway station.
Details: This is perfect for the whole family including babies, toddlers and young kids! There is an amazing climbing structure for the kids, bike and walking tracks, an easy rock climb. You can walk across the bridge to Oatley at the Georges River Walk or explore the saltwater pool in summer only.
6. Cronulla Beach
When: All year round
Where: 20/38 Gerrale St, Cronulla
Details: This beach is the perfect free activity to enjoy in the Sutherland Shire. This is patrolled all year round including in winter. There are playgrounds, cafes & restaurants nearby and also free wheelchair access service to the beach.
7. Sutherland Shire Centenary Park
When: All year round – Gates open at 6:30am & locked at 6pm during winter and 9pm in summer.
Where: 66-74 Karimbla Rd, Miranda
Details: This Park features a playground, BBQ areas, toilet facilities and walking tracks. This is perfect for families, romantic picnics or just to simply relax.
8. Shelly Beach & Park
When: All year round
Where: 70-110 Ewos Pde, Cronulla
Details: Shelly Beach has a large park and is located near ocean baths. This is the perfect beach for swimming for the whole family and it has a rocky shoreline. The park includes a kiosk, restaurant, playground, walkways.
9. Cronulla Surf Museum
Where: Cronulla Central Arcade, Cronulla Street Cronulla
Details: For anyone who is interested in surfing history and beach culture, this amazing surf gallery is tucked away in Cronulla Central. Both walls of the 30 metre long walkway to the library are dedicated to 100 years of Australian surfing history with an emphasis on Cronulla.
Find more at the Visit the Shire website.
Where: Beautiful Sydney Harbour
Details: Located in the middle of Sydney Harbour Taronga Zoo provides an opporunity to get up close and personal with animals from Australia and around the world. Located just 12 minutes from the city by ferry the zoo provides breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and free shows and keeper talks throughout the day.
(Travel by train to city centre then ferry to zoo).
Getting to the park is easy with ferries from both Circular Quay (get off train at Circular Quay station) and the nearby precinct Darling Harbour. Alternatively, bus it on route 247 from Wynyard Station or Town Hall (near QVB – Queen Victoria Building). There is car parking onsite but it comes at a cost of $17 for the day.
More information is available at the Taronga Zoo website.
NOTE: Travel by train, bus and ferry requires an Opal card. Buy at Opal retailers. Look for Opal sign. The train line for Cronulla is the Eastern Suburbs / Illawarra line.
Where: 7/11 Lawrence Hargrave Drive Hellensburgh
Details: A smaller, accessible zoo south of Sydney where you can get up close to animals like koalas and kangaroos. (About 35-40 minutes by car from Cronulla). Close to the Royal National Park and the beautiful drive along the Seacliff Bridge at Coalcliff.
Open daily 9.30am – 5pm
More information available at the Symbio Zoo website.
Sutherland Shire Aboriginal History
Prior to European settlement the region was home to an Aboriginal community, the Gweagal people, a Dharawal speaking clan. Evidence from Curracurrang, an area in the Royal National Park, shows occupation dates from about 8,200 years before present, making it one of the oldest coastal sites in the Sydney region. The Gewagal people lived mainly by the salt water bays and estuaries of Port Hacking, they also used the fresh water resources of the upper Hacking River, Heathcote Creek and the Woronora River. The Gweagal people were said to be the guardians of the sacred white clay pits on their territorial land, now known as the Kurnell Peninsula. They used the clay to make body paint, medicine and when mixed with local berries it was also used as a dietary supplement. The tribe also looked out for whales from the Kurnell Peninsula. The whale was the dreaming figure for the Dharawal and an integral part of their community and beliefs. The connection appears to be the role the whale played in hunting activities, as ‘bringers of vast foods’. Carvings of their totem still exist on the plateaus where the elders once looked out for the whales to arrive. Dharawal rock paintings, engravings, stencils, grinding grooves, shell middens and rock shelters are present throughout the Shire.
To learn more about Dharawal culture you can join a Discovery tour in the Royal National Park. You can also arrange a guided tour of the rock engravings at Jibbon Point, near Bundeena. For more information phone the discovery coordinator on 02 9542 0649.