Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay walking track

Green Cape area in Ben Boyd National Park

Overview

The walk from Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay in Ben Boyd National Park takes in backpack camping, fishing spots, birdwatching and whale watching.

Where
Green Cape area in Ben Boyd National Park
Distance
9km one-way
Time suggested
3 - 4hrs
Grade
Grade 3
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.

Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Hat, drinking water, sunscreen
Please note
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go whale watching
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park

The walk from Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay is a gently undulating section of the iconic Light to Light walk in Ben Boyd National Park on the NSW Far South Coast. It passes through lovely sections of coastal forest, heath and rock platforms. There’s also great opportunities for birdwatching and whale watching during migration season.

If you’re looking to stay overnight, pitch your tent at either Saltwater Creek campground or Bittangabee Bay, at either end of the walk. For somewhere a bit more remote to rest your head, try remote camping at Hegartys Bay, in the southern section of the park. 

Late May to early December, and particularly throughout September, is an ideal time for whale watching along this track, as you’re likely to spot whales migrating along the coast. If you’re keen on birdwatching, be sure to keep your eyes open too for endangered ground parrots or rare striated field wrens.

Take a virtual tour of Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay 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/saltwater-creek-to-bittangabee-bay-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

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

    3 - 4hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    9km one-way

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee Bay are in the southern precinct of Ben Boyd National Park. To get there:

  • Travel 18km south of Eden along Princes Highway, then turn left on Edrom Road for 6km.
  • Turn Right onto unsealed Green Cape Road and follow the signs to Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee Bay

Parking

Parking is available at Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee Bay.

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

Gathering firewood

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 (5 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 (18 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 (14 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

Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay 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

Saltwater Creek to Bittangabee Bay walking track, Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: John Spencer