Ben Boyd National Park
Ragged wave-worn cliffs, salt-pruned heath and banksia woodlands, beautiful beaches, historic buildings and a fascinating whaling heritage make Ben Boyd National Park a wonderful holiday destination. Located on the state’s south coast, in two sections, north and south of Twofold Bay, with the township of Eden in between, the northern part of the park is notable for its rocky coastline, while the southern part has historic sites to explore.
From Pambula, just south of Merimbula, via Pambula Beach Rd or south on Princes Hwy then Haycock Rd (northern section); from Eden via Princes Hwy then Edrom Rd (southern section)
Spring to autumn
470 km south of Sydney; 20 km south of Merimbula and 8 km north of Eden (northern section); 33 km south of Eden (southern section)
- NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
- NPWS Far South Coast region (02) 6495 5000
10 485 ha
Eden (02) 6496 1953
Merimbula (02) 6495 1129, 1800 150 457
Featured Activities in the National Park
Watch for migrating southern right whales
Gaze at Boyds Tower and survey the park and Pacific Ocean from the nearby cliff-top lookout
Canoe on the calm waters of Pambula River
Walk to the intriguing ancient rock formation of the Pinnacles
- Ben Boyd National Park, Kayaking, Kayaking
A look at the past
Whaling was a huge industry along this coast, beginning in 1828 and lasting for a century. Davidson Whaling Station, on Twofold Bay, was the longest operating shore-based whaling station in Australia and vestiges of the station remain. Farming also flourished in the district in the 1800s and cattle were shipped from Twofold Bay. Colourful entrepreneur Benjamin Boyd – landowner, grazier, and whaling-station owner – built the tower that still bears his name. When his business went bust in the 1840s, he headed for the Californian goldfields.
The northern part of the park is distinguished by its craggy coastline and in particular the Pinnacles, a formation dating back 60 million years, where layers of white sand are capped with crumbling red clay. Follow the Pinnacles walking track for the best view.
Open forest and woodland cover the park, with tall red bloodwood and blackbutt in the north and silvertop ash in the south, and occasional small fragments of rainforest surviving in moist gullies. On the windswept headlands, salt-pruned heath and scrub form a tough, low covering.
Keep your eyes peeled early in the morning or as dusk sets in for eastern grey kangaroos, and at night watch as ringtail possums scurry along the branches and the ground in search of sustenance. In all, 50 mammal species have been recorded, but most are shy and nocturnal. Near the coast, waterbirds and seabirds nest and feed – red-capped plovers, Australian shelducks, great cormorants and white-fronted terns are among the 200-plus bird species sighted here. And offshore there is also plenty of wildlife – migrating humpback and southern right whales cruise along the coast from June to November, pods of dolphins are regularly seen cavorting in the water and seals swim by.
Green Cape, Disaster Bay, Haycock Point and the lookout near Boyds Tower are all excellent vantage points for panoramic views and photographs. Pambula River and Saltwater Creek are ideal for stillwater canoeing, and sea-kayaking along the coast is also popular. There are a number of picnic spots with barbecues. For those with limited time, most of the park’s attractions can easily be reached by car.
The mild climate, terrain and historic sites make Ben Boyd excellent walking territory. Light to Light (30 km one way, 3 days, easy) is a trek from Boyds Tower to Green Cape Lighthouse, with Aboriginal and historic sites, splendid views and, in season, the chance to spot whales breaching offshore. There are numerous shorter walks: to Boyds Tower, the colourful Pinnacles and along the Pambula River. Pick up a list of walks from the NPWS Far South Coast (Merimbula) office.
The district is renowned for its first-class beach, bay and river fishing. Pambula River is known for bream and flathead, with salmon or tailor the likely catches on the northern beaches. Netting, spearfishing and collecting crustaceans and marine animals from the rocks is prohibited.
Historic sites and tours
History buffs will find much of interest in this area – Boyds Tower, built in 1847 as a lighthouse but never used (there is no access), the remains of the old Davidson Whaling Station and historic Green Cape Lighthouse, erected in 1883. Ask at NPWS Far South Coast (Merimbula) about guided tours.
Swimming and surfing
The quiet Pambula River estuary and beaches at Bittangabee and Saltwater Creek are favourite venues for swimming, and there are some great surfing breaks.
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