Ben Boyd National Park, Eden

After being holed up for two days, Lib and I were both a little adventure hungry. It’s funny how quickly one can adapt to situations.
At the beginning of the trip, I was getting quite anxious and controlling at the end of each day; my anxiety exacerbated by the increased amount of things I couldn’t control. Conversely, Lib adapted almost straight away to nomadic life and doesn’t worry because “you can’t control anything.” So yesterday, as we were leisurely walking beside a beach, when Lib mentioned to me “You’ve been a lot nicer lately,” I realised I had finally (nearly two weeks in) allowed this nomadic life to become my norm. Who knows what will happen when we return home !

Anyway, so we left Merimbula on a pilgrimage to find some red rocks in Ben Boyd National Park. Now, ever since I met Lib (and I recall so clearly her talking about this a few months into our relationship), she has had a hankering to go back to Ben Boyd National Park. She visited for a one night stop over, where she woke up camping there on her 23rd birthday. Fifteen years ago, Ben Boyd carved a way into her heart, after just one night, and she wanted to show it to me. Being a little hazy on the specifics as to which part of the park, we headed in the general direction waiting for her recollection to kick in. 

Heading out of Merimbula, we stopped at the wharf to look for whales and inadvertently found ourselves on the first stop of the whale trail! (Although we saw no live whales.) We also saw the start of the vibrant red rock Lib was always talking about – a good sign!

Next, on our way through Pambula, we decided to duck down and check out the water. The beach was unremarkable; beautiful, quiet and cold like all South Coast beaches. 

Just passed the beach entry, the road continued down and suddenly, coming over a hill top, we saw the most beautiful sight. 

We had driven to the mouth of Pambula River, surrounded on both sides by Ben Boyd National Park. We walked down the river side, marvelling at the clear blue waters and the contrasting red rocks and pale sand. 

Already, Ben Boyd was proving to be different from any bush/beach combo I had seen further north, so it would seem we were on the right track for Lib’s pilgrimage. 

Returning to the little beach here, we followed a 150m bush track up to a northern lookout. We were greeted by a beautiful eastern yellow robin and a little jacky lizard, and the view was quite nice. 

We had decided to stop in at our campsite in Eden on the way to the southern Ben Boyd National Park, to make sure we could book a site and have something settled. When we pulled into one “beachside” park, we found it overrun with cabins and permanent structures. It would have been like we were simply parking outside someone’s house for the night to camp. Neither of us got a good vibe, so unsettled and now plan-less, we continued into Ben Boyd. 

The drive into Ben Boyd National Park is originally tarred, before becoming nearly 30km of dirt road. We were making our way out to Green Cape Lighthouse first – the furtherest point in – to stop in at the campsites on the way back. We saw a large echnida moving on the side of the road (it looked Lib right in the eye when we pulled over) and massive eagles flying ahead. After quite some time surrounded by bush, we were happy to reach the open heathland just before the lighthouse (as pictured above). 

The Lighthouse really felt like it was at the complete edge of the earth. It stands tall and beautiful amongst the natural landscape. 

We walked out past the lighthouse to a lookout that stood basically at the very tip of Green Cape. From here we saw many a whale pass by, plus a group of seals lolling just off shore in deep waters. The mulletbird were also putting on a show, forcefully pelting at the water to go under and spring up with a fish. 

We ate our lunch under the lighthouse and found it hard to take our eyes away from the horizon, endlessly admiring the whales. 

Although very windy and cold, it is totally worth the drive in to look around and marvel at the natural wonders (and the built wonders) of Green Cape Lighthouse. 

As we headed back to the car, a beautiful brush tailed wallaby popped up for a chat. Her face was devine !

Our next stop in Ben Boyd National Park was Bittangabee Bay – a campsite and possible location for Lib’s stopover many years ago. 

The Bittangabee Bay campsite was mostly empty, but looked to be a beautiful tree-filled site with easy access to amenities and the beach. A picnic area led down to a water catchment and the bay, which was clear and calm. 

Lib intently examined the landscape. She could recall sitting on large red rocks overlooking the ocean, but these rocks appeared to be everywhere. This was not her campsite. 

We did happen to sit just on the edge of the cliff here and see an amazing cluster of whales playing. As the bay was calm and clear, it was easier to see them off Green Cape. 

With the afternoon light fading, we headed onto Saltwater Creek campgrounds. 

Again the camp site was tree filled and quiet. Of the two, Bittangabee Bay appeared nicer (mostly tent sites). We walked out of the site and onto the beach. Already, this was looking more like Lib’s memory; a surf beach with a red rocky border. Sure enough, as we climbed onto the rocks, Lib’s pilgrimage came to a close. We had found her once-stopover location. 

With craggy red rocks and crashing waves, Saltwater Creek displayed all the epic hallmarks of the South Coast. 

We left the site happy, passing some of our favourite Australians on the way out. 

We had decided to head back to Eden for the night, driving to a caravan park on Aislings Beach that had good reviews for a heated shower block. Upon arrival, we were offered three nights for the price of two, and advised to take a non powered site to be able to appreciate the view. 

We did just that, set up and had tinned Irish Stew for dinner, and enjoyed the most luxurious showers so far. There were heaters in the shower block, and the shower heads were large and gushing. 

Over the next few days, we will explore Eden before leaving the coast to go inland to Bombala. 

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