Thursday, October 24, 2013

La Perouse

The last time I went out on a weekend photography coastal walk was probably some time last year. Since I managed to hand in one of my chapters, I gave myself a weekend off and chose to venture to La Perouse, a place popular with wedding photographers and divers.

Located 14km south-east of Sydney, La Perouse is one of the few French-named suburbs in Sydney. It is notable for its military outpost at Bare Island and the Botany Bay National Park.

To me, the most notable characteristic of La Perouse would be the footbridge that connects Bare Island to the headland.

Speaking of divers, coincidentally, there was a group there. Apparently, during summer weekends, there can be as many as 200 divers here, as it is a common diver training location and also very popular for snorkeling. The island has numerous dive sites, some of which extend to over 19 metres in depth.

The reefs that stretch around the island and out to the south and west are home to some of Australia's most colourful marine animals. I saw children snorkeling and wondered if they saw any of the sea life that has been spotted by other snorkelers and divers, such as big belly sea horses, sea dragons, pygmy pipehorses and red Indianfish. Other sightings include seals and grey nurse sharks.

As for the fort on Bare Island, the public is allowed entry by guided tour only on Sundays and tickets are available for purchase at the La Perouse Museum and Visitor Centre up the road. Part of the traditional land of the Gweagal and Kameygal Aboriginal tribes, the fort was built to protect the back door of Sydney. The island was also featured in the movies Mission: Impossible II and East West 101.

The island is made up of impressive rock formations, as I found out...

And judging by the crowd present there, the island seemed like a popular fishing spot, not just for the birds but also for the fishing enthusiasts.

During sunset, a silhouette of the containers and cranes of Port Botany, Australia's 2nd busiest container port can be seen.

On the headland, there is the Barrack Tower, also known as the Watch Tower situated just up the green from the car park. This round stone tower was the first building to be built in the area. Constructed in 1820-1822, it functioned as accommodation for a small guard of soldiers who were stationed there to prevent smuggling.

On the other side of the carpark, there was a little pathway leading to a coastal walk along Little Congwong Beach Trail. The trail gave views of the island from afar.

Little did we realise that Little Congwong Beach was in fact, a nudist beach until we saw an uncle there doing star jumps totally naked (accept for a fisherman's hat and shoes).

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