Ben Boyd National Park is a national park in the Sapphire Coast region of New South Wales, Australia and is the southern most park in NSW. The park contains two separate sections, the Pambula-Haycock area and the Green Cape area.
The park was established in 1971 covering 8,900 hectares and was named after Benjamin Boyd but has since been expanded to cover 10,486 hectares. Boyd was a wealthy pastoralist and businessman in the 1840s, with interests in shipping (including whaling), based in the South Coast. At the time, the area was part of the District of Port Phillip and Boyd was elected to the NSW Legislative Council for the electoral district of Port Phillip.
Boyd was the first in Australia to engage in blackbirding, a practice akin to slavery, when a ship he had commissioned brought 65 Melanesian labourers to Boyd Town in 1847. In the wake of the George Floyd protests around the world and in Australia and the Black Lives Matter movement gaining pace in May-June 2020, calls for the park to be renamed were it renewed. Matt Kean, the NSW Environment Minister, commented that "national parks are about connecting people, not dividing them", and promised to seek a briefing about renaming the park and then to consult with local elders and the community.
Boyd commissioned the construction of a sandstone tower overlooking the entrance to the harbour of Twofold Bay to alert whaling crews of the approach of their prey. The tower was never completed.
The park is fairly flat, with none of the northern section exceeding 100 metres in elevation, and the southern section not much higher, with the tallest peak being Haycock Hill at 252 metres. Regardless, the park is very windy and cold.
Flora and fauna
There have been 12 species of birds which have been recorded in the park, with the heathlands being home to the eastern ground parrot and endangered eastern bristlebird. The little tern breeds in the sand dunes and beaches but they are threatened by recreational four-wheel driving. The park forms part of the Ulladulla to Merimbula Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for swift parrots.
Fifty species of mammal have been recorded. Pests recorded include cats and foxes, both which have covered the park, occasional feral dogs, and rabbits in previously cleared areas and picnic areas. Bitou bush is a problem weed north of the Pambula River.
The climate of Ben Boyd National Park is very similar to that of Melbourne, and is cold almost all year around. It's never warm here, as it rarely goes above 25° in Ben Boyd National Park, but it also never goes to the negatives as well.
Like most national parks in New South Wales, Ben Boyd National Park can only be accessed via car. Since the northern and southern sections are not connected, they have different entry points. To the northern section it's a 6 hour drive via the A1 Princes Highway and Haycock Road from Sydney, from Melbourne, it's a 7 hour drive via the A1 and Haycock Road, and a 3 hour drive from Canberra via the M23, A23, B23, B72, A1 and Haycock Road.
To the southern section, it's a:
- 7 hour drive from Sydney via the A1 Princes Highway and Edrom Road
- 6 hour drive from Melbourne via the A1 Princes Highway and Edrom Road
- 4 hour drive from Canberra via the M23, A23, B23, B72, A1 and Edrom Road
To make things more complicated, parts of the northern section, north of the Pambula River, can only be accessed by the town Pambula Beach, however, access here is very easy, and much much easier than the rest of the park.
Fees and permits
The northern section (Pambula-Haycock) is free to access, however, the southern section (Green Cape) has a fee of $8 per vehicle.
There are two sections to this park and these are not connected. The only convenient way of getting between these sections is via car, which takes approx 30 minutes between the two sections.
Getting within the same section, generally, it's best to take the car out here, as walking will take you a long time, although do be aware that the roads in the northern section are not paved. In the southern section, only Edrom Road is paved, with all the other roads being unpaved.
Pambula-Haycock area (northern section)
- 1 Barmouth Beach, Barmouth Beach Rd, Eden. This beach is not only popular for swimming, but it's also more popular for whale watching too. Barmouth Beach is also where George Bass first landed in December 18 1797. Picnic areas nearby. Parking available at Barmouth Beach Carpark.
- 2 Severs Beach, Severs Beach Track, Eden. Another untouched typical Sapphire Coast beach, also popular for the typical whale watching, but this beach also holds Aboriginal shell middens which have been carbon dated to 3,500 years old.
- 3 Terrace Beach and Lennards Island. This beach is only accessible via a 4WD. However, this means that it's much less crowded, and as far away as you can get from the city by the beach. Scuba diving spots nearby.
Green Cape area (southern section)
- 4 Green Cape Lighthouse, Green Cape Lighthouse Rd, Green Cape, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 7AM-7PM. This lighthouse is the southern most lighthouse anywhere in New South Wales. Bookings required, and you will need a 4WD getting here after rain. You can also learn about some disasters and survivals here, such as the passenger ship Ly-ee-Moon, which unusually wrecked below the lighthouse in 1886.
- 5 Bittangabee Bay ruins, Light to Light Walk, Green Cape. These ruins are mainly some unfinished stone works originally built in the 1840s giving you a look at European history in the park.
- 6 Disaster Bay lookout, Green Cape Lighthouse Rd, Green Cape. If you're into nature and wildlife, there can never be a comparable lookout to this one. From this lookout, the first thing you'll notice from looking down, is the pristine white sand, on beaches that get about no more than 10 visitors a day during normal seasons (it may be slightly higher during holiday season) of Disaster Bay and the Pacific Ocean. And then not to forget there's the lush green forest you'll be seeing. Bring your binoculars here as there's lot's of birdwatching opportunities here, and if you happen to come here during whale migration season (May to November), there's a good high chance you'll see a whale here.
- 7 Green Cape lookout, 2086 Green Cape Lighthouse Road, Green Cape. Similar to Disaster Bay lookout, this lookout is also plentiful when it comes to wildlife watching opportunities. Not only is this lookout popular for birdwatching or even whale watching, you can even see a resident population of fur seals, dolphins, albatross, gannets and sea eagles. If you're lucky enough to go here in October, then you may also see the muttonbird migration as well.
- 8 Boyd's Tower, Boyd's Tower Track, Edrom. This tower was built by Ben Boyd, although it was never commissioned as a lighthouse.
Davidson Whaling Station Historical Reserve
This section is not actually part of the Ben Boyd National Park, however, since park fees for the southern section of Ben Boyd National Park apply to go to Davidson Whaling Station Historical Reserve, for merely practical purposes, it has been included in this page.
- 9 Davidson Whaling Station, 447 Boyd Road, Edrom. This whaling section explains how killer whales had helped the Davidson family. The ones that owned this whaling station. Apart from that, it is a historical site as well. Free.
Pambula-Haycock area (northern section)
- 1 Pinnacles loop walking track. 20-40 min trail, and is rated a Grade 3 by the AWGTS. 1.1 km (0.68 mi) loop. This walking track gives you some stunning views of the ocean, and not to forget the Pinnacles with views south to Lennards Island. When using this walk, there's also two lookouts along the way. Bring your binoculars if you'd like to go birdwatching along the way, and if you go here between May to November, you might see a whale or two.
- 2 Pambula River walking track. This trail is only a 1 km (0.62 mi) return trail and takes about 20 to 40 minutes to do, but its rated as a Grade 4 trail by the AWGTS. This track is more for those who'd want to do a short walk by the unspoiled beaches. There are also chances you might see whales during the winter months, so bring some binoculars.
- 3 Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach walking track. This 3 km (1.9 mi) trail one way takes about 1.5 to 2.5 hours to do. Starting from the Pambula River estuary, this trail goes all the way down to Barmouth Beach, passing Haycock Point, and some other unspoiled beaches.
Green Cape area (southern section)
- 4 Light to Light walk. A 30 km (19 mi) walk, and should take about two to three days to do. Rated a Grade 4 by the AWGTS. The walk starts at the Boyd's Tower, and ends at Green Cape Lighthouse between two towers as the name of the walk suggests. It mostly goes beside the coast, so there's always a beach nearby if you want to go for a swim (although the waters are really cold).
- 5 Boyds Tower walking track. This is a short 0.8 km (0.50 mi) walk which only takes about 15 minutes to 45 minutes to do. The walk includes a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk which continues behind Boyd's tower to a lookout over Twofold Bay with typical Sapphire Coast views – unimaginable.
- 6 Bittangabee Bay to Green Cape walking track. This is a 7 km (4.3 mi) trail, one-way and takes about 2-3 hours to do. This trail is a bit hard to do though, and prior hiking experience is needed before doing this trail.
- 7 Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track. This is a 13.2 km (8.2 mi) trail, one way, and takes about 4.5 to 5.5 hours to do. The trail is quite difficult for beginners, and prior hiking experience is needed.
Ben Boyd National Park is quite known for its dive sites, and particularly for its shipwrecks nearby. Some notable shipwrecks include the 135 m Empire Gladstone which got wrecked in the 1950s at Haycock Point. Twofold Bay also has some diving spots as well, which is more focused on the local fauna that live in the nearby waters. There's also nearby caves as well. Other shipwrecks include he Tasman Hauler and the Henry Bolte near Eden.
The only guided diving tours can be found with DiveEden. Bookings required.
Nothing to buy here.
So, since there's no places to buy, nor eat, so its quite obvious that there's no places to drink as well. And... yep, no places to drink.
The only places where you can rest your head is on the south side of the park. The north does not have any.
- 1 Telegraph Station bunkhouse, 2086 Green Cape Lighthouse Road, Green Cape, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. 1 bedroom, max four guests allowed. But Telegraph Station bunkhouse was basically a former 19th century telegraph station which was later converted into accommodation.
- 2 Green Cape Lightstation Keepers' Cottages, 2086 Green Cape Lighthouse Road, Green Cape, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. These heritage cottages provide stunning views of the ocean, and something that one can get never tired of. On top of that, guests that choose to rest their head here get a free tour of the lighthouse.
- 3 Saltwater Creek campground, Light to Light Walk, Green Cape. Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. 14 campsites. Bookings required on ☏ . This campsite is far from any crowds, so for those who like the quietness, this is the place.
- 4 Bittangabee campground, Bittangabee Road, Green Cape. Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. The waters here are basically surrounded by recreation activities such as swimming, snorkelling and diving. If you're an avid photographer, there's some photographing opportunities here to take photos of birds.
There aren't any backcountry camping sites in Ben Boyd National Park.
Wildlife is generally not a concern, and crime is non existant in Ben Boyd National Park, but do be aware though that driving in the northern section after the rainy months of February to March may be difficult, so much, that it may be harder to go faster than 25 km/h (16 mph).
Only Telstra has coverage in Ben Boyd National Park and its quite sketchy in the northern areas. The southern areas are worse than the northern areas, and large parts of the southern section don't have coverage at all. Optus and Vodafone don't have coverage at all outside of Eden and Pambula.