Ben Boyd National Park

Landscape and Geology

How the park's landscape formed

The landform of the park rises gradually from the coast to a ridgeline along the western boundary. Most of the southern section of the park is less than 160 m above sea level and the northern section less than 100 m above sea level. There are steep slopes in a few places, particularly east of Haycock Hill and along the descent into Disaster Bay.

The park divides quite neatly into two geological zones:

  • sedimentary basement rock in the north
  • much older metamorphic rock in the south.

The unique geological features of both areas make this a coastline with great conservation value.

The Devonian period ran from 410 million years ago to 345 million years ago. During that time, sediments similar to those in the northern section of the park were laid down in estuaries. Later these were compressed, heated, folded and twisted into arches and curves. The soft sediments hardened and formed new types of rock, for example:

  • red, brown and green shales
  • sandstones
  • siltstones
  • conglomerates
  • quartzites.

Most of the park lies on these rock types. They are exposed along the cliffs and headlands of the coast as far north as Terrace Beach, and from Haycock Point westwards along the Pambula River estuary. The folded, Devonian strata are an important landscape feature of the coastline.

The southern section has some of the oldest rocks on the NSW coast. More than 80% of the Upper Devonian rocks exposed along the coast of south-east Australia are found in Ben Boyd National Park.

Interesting features in the park

Superimposed on the Devonian strata are much younger and softer Tertiary sands, gravels, clays, ironstones and quartzites of the Long Beach formation and Quondolo formation. These cover much of the northern section of the park and have formed the long sand ridges of Long Beach. Relatively small areas of Tertiary deposits are scattered along the coastline of the southern section of the park.

The Pinnacles were formed by erosion of the finely mottled well lateritised Pinnacles Lens of the Quondolo formation. This formation consists of cliffs of soft white sand capped with a layer of red, gravelly clay. The Pinnacles form the side of a steep gorge that contains features typical of areas of high drainage density.

At Red Point, just below Boyds Tower, you can see an excellent example of a heavily folded metamorphic bed. The rock platform on the southern side of Saltwater Bay also has one.

The new addition north of Pambula Beach is part of the southern extent of the Merimbula Bay barrier dunes which began accumulating 7000-8000 years ago and stabilised in their present form about 5000 years ago. This regionally significant dune system is one of only four major stationary barriers in southern NSW, and is an excellent example of this type of formation.

Where to see some of the park's landscapes and features

Barmouth Beach

George Bass first landed at Barmouth Beach on 18 December 1797, seeking shelter from a gale. He travelled up Pambula River and marvelled at the beauty of the place. Since then, thousands of visitors have been inspired by the scenic views, whale watching and birdwatching around picturesque Merimbula Bay, on the spectacular NSW Far South Coast.

Located at the river mouth of Pambula, this family-friendly picnic spot is perfect for a leisurely lunch, with great swimming for the little ones. It’s also ideal for beach fishing, with salmon and tailor in the surf, and bream further up the river. The still water offers great canoeing opportunities and sea kayakers are often seen around the area.

Wildlife abounds in this area, so look for sea eagles, oystercatchers, whales and dolphins. From here, step out along the moderate walking track to Haycock Point.

Activities: walking, motor vehicle use, picnics and barbecues, snorkelling, paddling, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, whale watching

Getting there: Barmouth Beach is in the Haycock Road precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Follow Princes Highway south of Pambula
  • Turn left at Haycock Point Road
  • Turn left at the Barmouth Beach access road; you’ll see a sign.
  • A short path with steps takes you from the carpark down to the beach

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: carpark, trackhead/access point

Bittangabee Bay

A rocky enclosed bay with a small, scenic beach, Bittangabee Bay is an appealing spot to kick back and soak up spectacular coastline views. Remote without being inaccessible, it offers secluded swimming and fishing in a pristine natural environment. Bring a picnic lunch and a pair of binoculars for a spot of birdwatching and whale watching during the migration season.

Bittangabee Bay is easily accessible from Bittangabee campground, and walkers will want to try Bittangabee Bay to Green Cape walk, part of the iconic Light to Light walk. There are even nearby ruins for history buffs, and an abundance of local wildlife for the naturalists. Long-nosed bandicoots, wombats, brush-tailed possums, and lace monitors all live in the area.

For a real adventure, visit Bittangabee Bay as part of Light to Light walk, or carry in a sea kayak and paddle the clear waters.

Activities: walking, paddling, scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, whale watching, picnics and barbecues

Getting there: Bittangabee Bay is in the southern precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Travel south of Eden for 18km along Princes Highway
  • Turn left on Edrom Road and follow it for 6km
  • Turn right onto the unsealed Green Cape Road, and follow it for 15km until you reach Bittangabee Access Road.
  • Turn left and follow the road for about 3km, to the end.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: non-flush toilets, picnic tables, gas/electric barbecues (free), fire rings (bring your own firewood), carpark, trackhead/access point

Bittangabee campground

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area

  • Mostly unsealed surface; there is a large shelter with a concrete floor

Make the most of your beachside surroundings at Bittangabee campground and spend your days fishing, swimming, snorkelling and diving. You can also paddle on the little beach.

You can drive in to the campground for the weekend or a week; it’s suitable for motorhomes and there are sites for camper trailers. Once you’ve set up camp, you can explore the historic ruins of a storehouse once used to service Green Cape Lightstation or take a walk along the coast. At the end of the day, you can relax with a barbecue dinner while enjoying a colourful evening sunset.

Don’t forget your camera – superb lyrebirds are frequently seen displaying their tails and there’s often a lovely vista of yachts anchored in the bay.

Bittangabee campground is one of the stops on the renowned multi-day Light to Light walk, so you might see some weary walkers resting for the night.

Audio tour: you can download an audio tour of the Light to Light Walk to your mp3 player or phone. Sections 2 and 3 provide information about Bittangabee campground and the surrounding area.

Activities: walking, paddling, snorkelling, swimming, fishing, picnicking, playing and socialising

Location:  shown on Boyds Tower to Green Cape map

Getting there: Bittangabee campground is in the southern section of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Travel south from Eden on the Princes Highway for 18km
  • Turn off at Edrom Road and follow it for 6km
  • Turn right onto Green Cape Road and follow it for 15km
  • Turn left to Bittangabee Bay and follow the signs to the end of the road

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: picnic tables, wood barbecues (bring your own firewood), gas/electric barbecues, non-flush toilets, carpark, trackhead/access point

Water supply: There are rainwater tanks here.

Vehicle entry fee: $7 per vehicle per day. Please note vehicle entrance fees are not included in your accommodation or camping fees. Purchase at the local office or buy an annual pass online.

Camping fees: All campsites – site fee: $20 per night (2-person inclusive). $10 per night per additional adult (16 years+), $5 per night per additional child (5-15 years), infants free (0-4 years).

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively, please contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Merimbula, Phone: 02 6495 5000

Davidson Whaling Station historic site

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area

  • A gently sloping paved path and boardwalk run down to the historic house
  • The try-works site and beach are not wheelchair-accessible

Discover a lifestyle from the past at Davidson Whaling Station historic site, located at Kiah Inlet on the shores of Twofold Bay, just a short drive from Ben Boyd National Park.

Plan a trip in the summer or easter holidays or during the Eden Whale Festival and take a guided tour to see the fascinating 1890s weatherboard homestead. See where the Davidson family took to the seas, assisted by a pack of killer whales. The skeleton of the pack’s leader, ‘Old Tom’, is today displayed at the Eden Killer Whale Museum.

Check out the historic try-works, where blubber was processed, and learn all about the whaling operation. Walk a few steps to the beach to enjoy a picnic, swim, or just feel the sand between your toes.

Activities: birdwatching

Location:  shown on Boyds Tower to Green Cape map

Getting there: Davidson Whaling Station Historic Site is approximately 10 minutes' drive south from Ben Boyd National Park.

To get there:

  • Travel south from Eden on the Princes Highway for 18km
  • Turn off at Edrom Road and drive for 11km
  • Turn left into Boyd Road
  • Drive for 4km to the station’s carpark

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles. Dry weather only.

Opening hours: Entry to Davidson Whaling Station Historic Site is available at any time without a guide. Tours operate during the Eden Whale Festival. Please contact the park office to arrange a tour.

Facilities: non-flush toilets, amenities block, picnic tables

Disaster Bay lookout

Wheelchair access: medium

  • Assistance may be required to access this area

Disaster Bay lookout is the perfect spot to enjoy birdwatching and nature photography while taking in the unspoilt coastline of the NSW Far South Coast region. It’s a perfect stop on a driving tour, taking in the coastal delights of Ben Boyd National Park.

Looking out to sea, soak in the amazing views and natural beauty of Disaster Bay and Pacific Ocean. Behind you, the magnificent Nadgee-Howe Wilderness Area runs all the way to the Victorian border.

From here, you might see migrating whales from late May to early December, with the best sightings around September through November. Bring your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for local seabirds such as the Australasian gannet, oystercatchers and the white-bellied sea eagle.

Activities: sightseeing, birdwatching, whale watching

Location:  shown on Boyds Tower to Green Cape map

Getting there: Disaster Bay is in the southern precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Travel 18km south of Eden along Princes Highway, then turn left on Edrom Road and follow for 6km.
  • Turn right onto unsealed Green Cape Road.  After 15km, look for the lookout on the right-hand side.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: carpark, lookout

Green Cape Lightstation Keeper's Cottage (2 bedrooms, up to 6 people)

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area

Greencape Lightstation, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: M. van Ewijk/DECC)Enjoy an unforgettable weekend getaway at Green Cape Lightstation Keeper's Cottage in Ben Boyd National Park.

Perched on the edge of a peninsula, there are two beautifully-restored keepers' cottages available, each offering 3.5-star heritage accommodation with open fireplaces and charming nautical decor.

Along with a fully-equipped kitchen and dining and lounge rooms, each cottage offers a comfortable verandah, ideal for enjoying the sea air and whale watching. You can take a guided tour of the lightstation and walk part of the Light to Light walk.

You’ll find a paved path to the lookout at the tip of Green Cape. Stop to look for whales during season and for breathtaking views across Disaster Bay, the site of many shipwrecks. And keep an eye out for bandicoots, they’re often seen nearby.

Things to do: Experience the peaceful, misty mornings and relentless pounding seas from the comfortable isolation of the lightstation. Use it as a base to enjoy and explore the area in and around Ben Boyd National Park, returning to the cosy cottages and a warm fire during the winter months. The coastal walking track is nearby, along with beaches and great spots to fish. Whales can be seen on their migratory route between late May and December, along with seals and a number of seabirds. A free tour of the lighthouse is also available to guests.

Audio tour: you can download an audio tour of the Light to Light Walk to your mp3 player or phone. Section 3 provides information about Green Cape Lightstation and the surrounding area.

Activities: walking, fishing, whale watching

Location:  shown on Boyds Tower to Green Cape map

Getting there: Green Cape Lighthouse is in the southern section of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Travel south from Eden on the Princes Highway for 18km
  • Turn off at Edrom Road and follow it for 6km
  • Turn right onto Green Cape Road and follow it for 21km

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles. Dry weather only.

Bookings: Please email Auswide Services or phone (02) 6495 5555.

On the verandah of Greencape Lighthouse Keepers cottages, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Living room of Cottage 2, Lighthouse Keepers Cottages, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: Michael Van Ewijk/OEH)Bedroom in Greencape Lighthouse Keepers cottages, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Bathroom in Cottage 2, Lighthouse Keepers Cottages, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: Michael Van Ewijk/OEH)Dining area inside Greencape Lighthouse Keepers cottages, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Kitchen area in Greencape Lighthouse Keepers cottages, Ben Boyd National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)

Green Cape lookout

Wheelchair access: medium

  • Assistance may be required to access this area

For one of the best whale watching spots along the NSW coast, you can’t go past Green Cape lookout. With vast ocean views from this rocky peninsula, it’s also a popular spot for birdwatching and wildlife-spotting - a perfect pit stop on a car tour of the wild and remote NSW Far South Coast.

Just a short, easy walk from the carpark, the imposing Green Cape Lightstation dominates the landscape. You can even take a tour or if you choose to extend your visit, Green Cape Lightstation Keeper's Cottage. Take in thefresh ocean breezes as you gaze up and down the coast, looking for whales and dolphins.
 
There’s plenty of other wildlife to look out for too, including a resident population of fur seals, dolphins, albatross, gannets and sea eagles. During October, hundreds of muttonbirds can frequently be seen during their annual migration.

Activities: whale watching, birdwatching

Getting there: Green Cape lookout is in the southern precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Travel 18km south of Eden along Princes Highway, then turn left on Edrom Road for 6km.
  • Turn right onto unsealed Green Cape Road and follow the road to the end.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: non-flush toilets, picnic tables, carpark, trackhead/access point, lookout

Saltwater Creek campground

Wheelchair access: hard

  • Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty
  • No toilet facilities to this standard and soft, sandy surfaces

If you love remote and intimate camping, far from the crowds, you’ll love the dramatic coastal setting of Saltwater Creek campground in Ben Boyd National Park, on the far south coast. Not far from Eden, it’s the perfect getaway for nature-loving campers keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

Once you’ve set up the tent among the rough barked apple gums, head to the pristine beach for a swim, a surf, or try your hand at fishing. There are several shallow lagoons perfect for the little ones or a spot of paddling. The campsite is a stopover on the famous Light to Light walk so take your hiking boots if you want to explore on foot.

The nearby bush is alive with wildlife all year round. You could see possums, bandicoots, red-necked wallabies, goannas, pythons and lyrebirds. Dolphins are often seen surfing the waves as whales pass by on their annual migration.

Audio tour: you can download an audio tour of the Light to Light Walk to your mp3 player or phone. Sections 1 and 2 provide information about Saltwater Creek campground and the surrounding area.

Activities: walking, mountain biking, motor vehicle use, paddling, liloing, surfing, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, astronomy and star gazing, whale watching, picnicking, playing and socialising

Location:  shown on Boyds Tower to Green Cape map

Getting there: Saltwater campground is in the central precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Turn off Princes Highway onto Edrom Road, 18km south of Eden.
  • After 6km, turn right into Green Cape Road and drive for approximately 8km.
  • Turn left into Duckhole Road and drive for 4km, then turn right into Saltwater Creek Road for another 4km.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: picnic tables, wood barbecues (bring your own firewood), gas/electric barbecues (free), carpark, non-flush toilets, trackhead/access point

Water supply: There are rainwater tanks here.

Vehicle entry fee: $7 per vehicle per day. Please note vehicle entrance fees are not included in your accommodation or camping fees. Purchase at the local office or buy an annual pass online.

Camping fees: All campsites – site fee: $20 per night (2-person inclusive). $10 per night per additional adult (16 years+), $5 per night per additional child (5-15 years), infants free (0-4 years).

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively, please contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Merimbula, Phone: 02 6495 5000

Severs Beach

Discover the timeless beauty of NSW’s Sapphire Coast at Severs Beach. Located in the fishing and whale watching haven of Eden, this picturesque beach is truly tempting all year round.

Visit in summer to go swimming or paddling, or try your luck game fishing – it’s at its best here between December and May. A beach walk’s just the thing to keep you warm in winter, while a picnic by the water is a real springtime treat. If you’re into birdwatching, keep a lookout for a variety of bird species, including mighty sea eagles soaring overhead or even plunge diving for fish.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Severs Beach, though, is its heritage. Here, you can see Aboriginal shell middens, carbon dated to 3,500 years old. Tread the wooden boardwalk, which transports you across the midden to the beach and offers excellent views. Please be sure to stay to the path and respect the cultural value of this special part of Ben Boyd National Park.

Activities: swimming, paddling, fishing, picnics and barbecues

Location:  shown on Pambula River to North Head map

Getting there: Severs Beach is in Ben Boyd National Park. To get there from Pambula Beach:

  • Drive 10km south along Princes Highway
  • Turn left at Haycock Road, Ben Boyd National Park, and drive 4km to the Severs Beach turn-off.
  • Turn left at Severs Beach Road and drive 1.2km to the carpark
  • It’s then a 300m walk to the beach

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: carpark

Terrace Beach and Lennards Island

Only accessible by 4WD, remote Terrace Beach and Lennards Island is the perfect nature escape from the hustle of city life. Situated in beautiful Ben Boyd National Park, on the NSW Far South Coast near Eden, it’s a perfect spot for ‘off the beaten track’ adventurers. Windswept and wild, this beach offers superb birdwatching, fishing and diving. 

Soak up the sweeping coastal views across Long Beach down to Haycock Point. You might see pied oystercatchers looking for tasty morsels along the beaches, or languid sea eagles cruising on the coastal breezes. It’s a perfect vantage point for whale watching during their annual migration.

A perfect spot for a beach picnic, while away a leisurely afternoon fishing or walking along the golden sands. If you’re keen to explore the underwater world, bring your scuba diving gear.

Activities: walking, scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, whale watching, picnics and barbecues

Location:  shown on Pambula River to North Head map

Getting there: Terrace Beach and Lennards Island is in Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Head south from Pambula towards Eden along Princes Highway
  • At Eden Tip entrance road, turn left, then take a quick right up a dirt track.
  • Drive down the dirt track until you come to a NPWS sign and follow signage to Terrace Beach

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 4WD only.

Facilities: carpark, lookout