Bittangabee Bay ruins

Ben Boyd National Park

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
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

Park info

  • in Ben Boyd National Park in the South Coast region
  • Ben Boyd National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day applies in the southern section of the park (south of Eden). There is no park entry fee for the northern section of the park (north of Eden). The park uses a self-registration fee collection system. Please bring correct change.

    Buy a pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
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

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)
  • Fire rings (bring your own firewood)

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 Ben Boyd National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Aboriginal history

Bittangabee Bay, Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The Traditional Owners and Custodians of Ben Boyd National Park, the Yuin people, have lived in the area for thousands of years. On the Pambula River Walk you can see ancient Aboriginal sites — one midden has been proven to be over 3,000 years old. At Twofold Bay, the Yuin people had a? special relationship with the killer whales. The killer whales drove humpback whales into shore, the people used spears to kill them and killer whales and people shared the meat. The Aboriginal people later taught European settlers to work with the killer whales in the shore based whaling days of Twofold Bay. Find out more about this fascinating history at Davidson Whaling Station Historic Site.

  • Severs Beach Severs Beach, in Ben Boyd National Park in the whale watching town of Eden on NSW’s Sapphire Coast, offers Aboriginal heritage, fishing, beach walks and more.

Fascinating coastal heritage

Bittangabee Bay ruins, Ben Boyd National Park

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. The Green Cape Lighthouse commenced 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.

Meet the locals

Wild flower, Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Several threatened species take refuge here. North of Pambula River there's an important population of yellow-bellied gliders, listen carefully for their trademark crackles and shrieks. This area is also great for birdwatching. Along the coast look out for seabirds, especially the beautiful white bellied sea eagles.

  • Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach walking track The walk from Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach in Ben Boyd National Park takes in whale watching, scenic coastal views, wildlife and birdwatching opportunities.
  • 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.

Rugged flora

Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The park's vegetation reflects its location in the driest, windiest part of the state's coastline. You'll see stretches of coastal heath beside sea cliffs and scrub shaped by salty with patches of tall coastal forest and wet forest gullies. Some parts of the park reach less than 100m above sea level.

  • Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach walking track The walk from Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach in Ben Boyd National Park takes in whale watching, scenic coastal views, wildlife and birdwatching opportunities.
  • 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.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • 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.

  • 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.

Plants

  •  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.

  •  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.

  • 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 park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (1)

Aerial view of surfer in the ocean near Saltwater Creek campground. Photo: J Spencer/OEH