Congwong Beach at La Perouse can make a wonderful escape from the pressures of Sydney life for families. Escape to this secluded and delightful beach and while away the hours.
This is an extract from a gorgeous new book Places We Swim Sydney by Caroline Clements & Dillon Seitchik-Reardon (Hardie Grant Publishing $39.99). Buy the Book from Amazon Australia here.
Congwong Beach at La Perouse
Clear blue water meets a golden beach and its nudist sibling.
Type of swim Beach
Distance from CBD 19km/40 min drive
Address 1532R Anzac Pde, La Perouse
Cost of entry Free
Kid friendly Yes
Dog friendly No
Ideal tide Mid to high tide
Open hours 24 hours
Facilities Toilets, parking
Public transport From the city catch L94 to Anzac Pde, La Perouse, then walk 250m down to the beach.
Congwong Beach is a pristine 150-metre-stretch of sand at the tip of La Perouse, in a small section of northern Kamay Botany Bay National Park. It’s an idyllic setting, known for abundant fish and shellfish. Bound by Henry Head in the east and historic Bare Island to the west, this far-flung suburb is more significant than most people realise. In 1984, La Perouse became the state’s first Aboriginal community to be transferred freehold title to part of its own lands under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.
The region carries the distinction of being a place where Kameygal people have maintained unbroken connection to their land since before British colonisation. Some families in the area can trace their roots back over many thousands of years, which completely trumps the parochial surfers’ notion of what it means to be a ‘local’. There are no waves here, however, just still, clear water and golden sand.
Congwong is an ideal place for families with children, snorkellers and divers. In fact, this is one of Sydney’s featured scubadiving locations. You can dive straight off the beach to access an array of marine life (seahorses, anglerfish and Pygmy pipefish) and depths of up to 19 metres. For those of us more partial to swimming on the surface with the sandy bottom still in sight – there is plenty of that too.
Beachgoers stretch out on towels and hide from the sun under bright tents. Some take up private spots on large, cappuccino-coloured sandstone bluffs. We love the swirling dusty reds and mustards on the rocky stretch between Congwong and its provocative neighbour, Little Congwong.
Access to Little Congwong is via a trail at the eastern end of the beach, or a more scenic route taking the reef along the water, skipping past splayed, naked sunbakers. It’s not officially recognised as a nude beach, but Little Congwong attracts a large contingent of older naturalists, so you’re likely to see more bare bums than seashells on the sand. Though Little Congwong is arguably the prettier of the two – a small, serene bay surrounded by densely vegetated slopes – Congwong is the versatile, family-friendly option, and our pick.
For its natural beauty and history, La Perouse is truly a significant spot for life past, present and future. Visiting Congwong Beach may just be a glimpse into this area, but it gives you a sense of why this place is so special.
Bare Island Fort rears its head out from La Perouse – a heritage-listed military site built in 1885 in response to the potential threat of invasion by Russia. The islet fort with a 130-year-old wooden footbridge entry, has since unveiled an illustrious history filled with stories of scandal and deception, and a brief moment as a backdrop in Mission Impossible II.
The Boatshed La Perouse
1609 Anzac Pde, La Perouse
A drink and a piece of fish after a day at the beach is a winning combo. A few minutes walk from Congwong Beach is this blue and white seafood diner in an old restored boat shed set out over the water, with a menu written by Sardinian chef, Giovanni Pilu. Dine in at large communal tables on the wooden deck, or takeaway to eat calamari and chips in the adjacent park. Open for breakfast through to dinner.
458 Bunnerong Rd, Matraville
If you’d prefer to cook your own fish, pick some up here on your way home. This Matraville shop is the wholesale base to one of Sydney’s largest oyster distributors. The same south coast oysters served at restaurants Quay and Aria are sold here, as well as a small but excellent range of fish and prawns.
La Perouse to Little Bay
This 10 kilometre beach-to-beach walk is a coastal gem, and an ideal day’s adventure filled with cliff-side views, sightseeing and swimming. The walk starts at Congwong Beach, and takes you past neighbouring Little Congwong via the Henry Head track. You then weave around the water to Henry Head, Cruwee Cove Beach and over to Little Bay Beach, where you deserve another swim.
Congwong Beach Map
This is an edited extract from Places We Swim Sydney by Caroline Clements & Dillon Seitchik-Reardon (Hardie Grant Publishing $39.99). Buy the Book from Amazon Australia here.
Read about Paradise Pool at Linden in the Blue Mountains on this article, another extract from Places We Swim Sydney. It’s just one of the things we recommend doing in the Blue Mountains with kids.
You can find our full list of wonderful Sydney for kids beaches here.