A small group of six of us decided to hike the Light to Light Coastal walk during whale migration staying at Green Cape lighthouse. This iconic 30km hike is located about an hour south of Eden in the far south coast of NSW within Ben Boyd National Park. The walk links Boyd Tower to Green Cape lighthouse and is a very manageable walk over two days. The area is not called the Sapphire Coast for nothing – the sea does seem truly more brilliant blue in its many hues.
It’s a very long drive from Sydney but staying in a lighthouse is pretty exciting at the best of times and Green Cape lighthouse did not disappoint. What an awesome view even with the blight of the new lighthouse structure. Before watching the sunset from our verandah, we wander around the point (wearing multiple layers – it’s pretty windy), congratulate ourselves that we are finally here and, as a bonus, have the entire place to ourselves. Greg, the park ranger, lends us his binoculars, and we can see our first whales frolicking offshore. Closer by there is a bob of seals – apparently all bachelors – who like to swim in the waves. Bizarrely they all have their fins raised in unison. There’s even a fat, healthy looking wombat meandering around. The wombat clearly isn’t feeling the cold winds and seems unperturbed by our fascination in him.
Day 1: Saltwater Creek to Green Cape Lighthouse, via Pulpit Rock
Our first day of walking starts at the midpoint of the Light to Light Walk where we park two cars to pick up tomorrow.
Beginning on the beach in front of Saltwater Creek, we walk towards Green Cape lighthouse. The red rocks are as amazing as the views and the winter weather is warm and sunny. We stop on a rock platform for morning tea which is sheltered from the wind with a vista of pure ocean. Whale spotting is easy.
We continue along the cliff edge and into the eerie tree forests which creak in the wind. At Hegartys Bay, we hop over the rocks for fun and wonder why the police boat is spoiling our view. From Bittangabee Bay campground, we continue to our lunch spot at Pulpit Rock – a short detour off the main track which is worth the visit. Here a pod of whales put on a showcase of breaching, waving and splashing – continuously delighting us with their antics in the water. How lucky are we?
We don’t really want to leave Pulpit Rock (and the whales) but it is starting to get late, and we have been promised a private tour of the lighthouse, so we stretch our legs and head back to base. We take another short detour recommended by Greg – again glorious views but the real bonus is the shy echidna on the trail.
The history of the lighthouse is as fascinating as the views are incredible. Greg brings it alive, and we marvel how the families managed to live as lighthouse keepers.
Day 2: Boyd Tower to Saltwater Creek
The still morning allows us to eat breakfast outside whilst enjoying the calm seas and warm early sunshine. The bachelor seals are still in the water off the point – do they ever move?
Today, we drive to the start of the walk at Boyd’s Tower and walk to our cars at Saltwater Creek. Boyd’s Tower seems to be a magnificent folly. It was built with enormous blocks of Sydney sandstone (transported an extraordinarily long way). Originally conceived as a private lighthouse it was never commissioned. It ended up being used for whale spotting to assist the thriving whale industry in the nearby town of Eden.
It’s a slower pace today and less than 14kms to cover – no one really wants our adventure to end. The rocks and views are even more fantastic – if that is at all possible. The sea glimmers with all the colours of blue interspersed with whale spray and splashes. Large pebbles dashed with rust, quartzite and lichen are much admired. No wonder they call this the Sapphire Coast.
Morning tea finds us on another stunning rock platform. For lunch, we cross Mowarry beach to the rocks which prove comfortable enough to snooze on in the winter’s sunshine. Wildlife includes black cockatoos, lyrebird, wombats, wallabies and kangaroos. We finish back at Saltwater Creek and our cars.
Light to Light Coastal Walk Logistics
We drove to Green Cape lighthouse from Sydney in three cars. As long as you have a high clearance 2WD, it is fine to drive on the main gravel roads around Ben Boyd National Park and access this walk.
As this is a point-to-point walk, track transport can sometimes be an issue. We found a way around this but there are other options. There are a few local operators who guide walks, and they may be able to help with transport. This includes Light 2 Light Coastal Walks and Light to Light Camps. We contacted the latter before realising we didn’t really need assistance – they were very helpful though! The park ranger may also be able to help with trail transfers.
It’s a 600 km drive from Sydney and some of us drove inland via Cooma and some of us via Kiama on the coast road. We left at the same time and arrived at the same time so clearly either route works just fine! Was the drive worth the walk? Absolutely – I suspect the Light to Light coastal walk will remain one of my favourite walks for a long time.
We booked the lighthouse cottages for 3 nights and couldn’t have been more happy with our decision. The campgrounds looked good but in winter we loved the idea of a warm cottage and hot shower to return to each evening. It is an hour from Eden so you need to bring all food/alcohol with you. The main bonus was not having a full pack to walk with – worth it in our opinion. However, there were some fabulous spots on the walk – away from the main campgrounds – where you could have pitched a tent and woken up to amazing views.
National Parks have given the Light to Light coastal walk a grade 4, but we feel it is closer to grade 3 if walked with a day pack. The route is signposted well and has no inclines/ascents of note. Anyone of reasonable fitness should be able to do this walk.
Interestingly this walk has been awarded NSW government funding to be upgraded into a 4-day walk with eco-friendly accommodation. We were keen to complete this walk before any work commences and it becomes popular. This is a fantastic walk, but we really enjoyed being the only hikers on the entire trail.
We used the All Trails GPX map whilst walking but it was rather inaccurate. It consistently took the inland path when there was always a far more interesting one closer to the water.