Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track

Green Cape area in Ben Boyd National Park

Overview

A section of the 30km Light to Light walk, Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walk covers 13.2km through scenic coast forest, with opportunities for swimming, fishing and birdwatching. 

Where
Green Cape area in Ben Boyd National Park
Distance
13.2km one-way
Time suggested
4hrs 30min - 5hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 4
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

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 or whale watching
  • Firewood is not supplied
  • If you’re bushwalking in this park, it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS.
  • A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters. Please note that netting and spear fishing are not permitted in the park, and you’re not allowed to collect crustaceans and marine animals from the rocks.
  • Be sure to download the Light to Light walk app for iPhone or Android before you set out. The app offers plenty of information about the area’s Aboriginal heritage, plants and animals. You can also download an audio tour and listen to the appropriate sections between Boyds Tower and Saltwater Creek.
  • There is limited/no mobile reception in this park.

For an enticing sample of Light to Light walk, consider tracing a smaller section of its 30km, from Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track.

This invigorating walk undulates south past spectacular coastal forest, sandy beaches, rocky bays, sheltered inlets and ocean platforms. Leather Jacket Bay offers a scenic stretch of red rocks, coloured by iron oxide which cemented the sand particles together some 320 million years ago. And, if you’re after somewhere small and peaceful, Mowarry provides a picturesque sandy beach where you can go fishing or swimming.

There’s plenty of spots along the way to stop for picnics, swimming, fishing, or birdwatching. Flowers bloom in the woollybutt forest during spring. Whales frequent the area from late May to early December, making it a great time for whale watching.

Choose to stay overnight at the remote campsite near Mowarry Point or the popular Saltwater Creek campground. To enhance your visit further, check out the smartphone apps for iPhone or Android to access available audio tours.

Take a virtual tour of Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track 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/walking-tracks/boyds-tower-to-saltwater-creek-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track.

Track grading

Grade 4

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    4hrs 30min - 5hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    13.2km one-way

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track is in the southern precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

    • Travel south of Eden for 18km along Princes Highway, then turn left on Edrom Road and follow it for 15km.
    • Turn right onto the unsealed Boyds Tower Road, and follow it 1km to the carpark.
    • Alternatively, to start at Saltwater Creek, take the unsealed Green Cape Road, which is a right turn on Edrom Road after 6km.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at Boyds Tower and Saltwater Creek. 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.

    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.

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    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 (9 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 (25 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 (22 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

    Boyds Tower to Saltwater Creek walking track 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    Trees reflecting in water at Saltwater Creek. Photo: John Spencer/OEH