Bittangabee Bay ruins

Green Cape area in Ben Boyd National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Bittangabee Bay ruins, in Ben Boyd National Park, is an unfinished stone building dating from the 1840s, giving visitors a glimpse of early European history in the national park.

Type
Historic buildings/places
Where
Green Cape area in Ben Boyd National Park
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching
  • There is limited/no mobile reception in this park
  • For more information on the ruins, download the Light to Light walk audio tour, which offers plenty of information about the history and landscape of Ben Boyd National Park. Please note, it’s best to download the audio tour before arriving at the park.

After just a short stroll from Bittangabee Bay carpark, you’ll arrive at a site of curious ruins, left untouched since the 1840s. A stone building on the shore of Bittangabee Bay, the structure was never completed, and it is thought to have been the work of the Imlay brothers at a time when they were well-known pastoralists in the area. Financial hardship and the death of two of the three brothers in quick succession ground things to a halt, and it has remained that way for more than 170 years.

This makes for a good side trip from relaxing on the beach at Bittangabee Bay. History buffs will love the remnant of early European history, while others will marvel at the effort once required to build in the rugged Australian bush. For more information on the ruins, an audio tour is available.

Lyrebirds are often glimpsed on the path to the site or heard calling through the trees – bring a camera if birdwatching is of interest.

Take a virtual tour of Bittangabee Bay ruins captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/bittangabee-bay-ruins/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Bittangabee Bay ruins.

Getting there and parking

Bittangabee Bay ruins 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 to the end (about 3km).

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Bittangabee Bay. Please note, there’s a fee to use this park and a valid sticker should be visible on any vehicle inside the park boundaries.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Ben Boyd National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Camp at Bittangabee Beach campground and see lyrebirds performing their characteristic dance and tail display.

Spring

Visit Green Cape Lighthouse or Boyds Tower to spot whales migrating south to their Antarctic feeding grounds - you might even see females with young calves.

Summer

Plan a camping trip to Saltwater Creek - to enjoy the lagoons and beautiful surf beach.

Winter

Take the Light to Light walk when it's nice and cool and the banksias are in bloom.

Facilities

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Eden (19 km)

Eden is a historic whaling town, ideal for a whale-watch tour. It's built around a promontory that juts into Twofold Bay.

www.visitnsw.com

Merimbula (34 km)

The main coastal towns of the Sapphire Coast include Bermagui, Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. This stunning coastline has sparkling beaches and bays, lakes and national parks, all accessible via excellent walking tracks and coastal drives. You'll find beaches just perfect for surfing, swimming and walks.

www.visitnsw.com

Pambula (32 km)

Pambula is a historic river village in majestic rural surroundings. The town is at the mouth of the Pambula River among forests and lakes.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Bittangabee Bay ruins is in Green Cape area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Aboriginal culture

Aerial view of Ben Boyd National Park coastline. Photo: John Spencer/DPIE

The Yuin People are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Ben Boyd National Park and they have a long and complex relationship with the coastal environment. At Twofold Bay, the Yuin People had a special relationship with the orca whales. The orcas drove humpback whales into shore, the people used spears to kill them and the orcas and people shared the meat. Aboriginal people later taught European settlers to work with orca whales during the shore-based whaling days of Twofold Bay.

Giants of the deep

Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Jonas Liebschner/DPIE

Enjoy some of Australia’s best whale watching here between September and November when hundreds of whales and their calves move in to Twofold Bay to frolic and feed before migrating south to Antarctica. You can get a good view of Twofold Bay from the viewing platform at Boyds Tower. At the southern tip of the park, see if you can spot whales near Green Cape Lightstation or Disaster Bay lookout.

  • Green Cape lookout Green Cape lookout in Ben Boyd National Park is one of the best places to enjoy whale watching in NSW.

Rocks tell a story

People whale watching from a rock shelf near Bittangabee Bay. Photo: John Spencer/DPIE

Ben Boyd’s stunning rock formations, inlets and headlands are the result of extensive geological folding. Most of the park lies on red, brown and green shales, sandstones, siltstones and quartzites. They were formed in the Devonian period around 360 million years ago—before dinosaurs roamed the earth. You can see these rock types exposed along the cliffs and headlands. The Devonian period is known as The Age of Fishes and internationally-significant fish fossils have been found in several places along the park’s coastline.

  • Guided 3-day Light to Light walks Join the experienced local guides of Light2Light Coastal Walks and make the most of one of the best treks on the Far South Coast, in Ben Boyd National Park near Eden.  
  • Light to Light walk Begin this multi-day walk at Boyds Tower down the far south coast, and end at Green Cape Lighthouse. Stop for a swim and the opportunity to spot seals, seabirds and whales.

Vulnerable species

An eastern ground parrot blends into grassland. Photo: Lachlan Hall/DPIE

The heathland in the Green Cape area of the park provides significant habitat for vulnerable species like the eastern ground parrot and striated fieldwren. It’s also a stronghold for NSW’s population of the endangered southern brown bandicoot. Around 50 native mammals and nearly 150 species of birds have been recorded in Ben Boyd National Park, including 1 critically endangered bird, 4 endangered animal species and 25 vulnerable species.

  • Guided 3-day Light to Light walks Join the experienced local guides of Light2Light Coastal Walks and make the most of one of the best treks on the Far South Coast, in Ben Boyd National Park near Eden.  
  • Light to Light walk Begin this multi-day walk at Boyds Tower down the far south coast, and end at Green Cape Lighthouse. Stop for a swim and the opportunity to spot seals, seabirds and whales.

Fascinating coastal heritage

Visitors a the Bittangabee Bay ruins. Photo: John Spencer/DPIE

The first shore-based whaling station on mainland Australia was set up at Twofold Bay in 1828. Benjamin Boyd established a competing business and built a private lighthouse, Boyd's Tower, and a township, Boydtown, before being declared bankrupt. The coast was the site of many shipwrecks. Green Cape Lighthstation started operation in 1883 but shipwrecks continued, including the Ly-ee-moon that sank in 1886. You can pay your respects to some of the 76 victims at a graveyard a short walk from the lighthouse. There are also regular guided tours of the lighthouse.

  • Davidson Whaling Station Take a guided tour at historic Davidson Whaling Station – discover how killer whales helped the Davidson family. And when you're done, finish the day with a picnic at the nearby beach.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

  • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

    White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

    White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Lace monitor, Daleys Point walking track, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Lace monitor (Varanus varius)

    One of Australia’s largest lizards, the carnivorous tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, can grow to 2m in length and is found in forests and coastal tablelands across eastern Australia. These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches.

Plants

  •  Black sheoak. Photo: Barry Collier

    Black sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis)

    The black sheoak is one of a number of casuarina species found across the east coast of Australia and nearby tablelands. Growing to a height of 5-15m, these hardy Australian native plants can survive in poor or sandy soils. The barrel-shaped cone of the black sheoak grows to 10-30mm long.

  •  Grey mangrove, Towra Point Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

    Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

  • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

    Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

Environments in this area