Green Cape: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Winter Weather!

The period between Late Winter and Early Spring (August/ September) is one of the best times to visit Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.28.23 While the weather is certainly cold, wild and windy, as seen in the photo above, the wildflowers are starting to come into full bloom and the whales are just starting to return south from their tropical Winter breeding grounds, with babies in tow.BlogGree Cape4017-08-29 15.56.38I have touched on Green Cape in previous posts (See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/16/ben-boyd-national-park-part-1/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/23/ben-boyd-national-park-part-2-photo-essay/).

It is the southernmost point of the Light to Light Walk, as can be seen in these maps from the NPWS interpretive boards.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 13.01.23BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.57Green Cape lies at a latitude of 37 degrees South and longitude of 150 degrees East and because it juts so far out into the Tasman Sea, it is a wonderful spot to see humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) closeup, as they hug the coastline on their journey back home to their southern Summer Antarctic feeding grounds.BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.43.04BlogGree Cape3016-09-07 14.42.58BlogGree Cape2517-08-29 16.02.24The Yellow-Nosed Albatross (Diomedea chlororhynchus) can also be seen in Late Winter/ early Spring off Green Cape, though I have yet to see one, while the Short-Tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) head south in long black clouds from late September to early November on their annual migration from the North Pacific to their breeding burrows on the islands in southern waters.BlogGree Cape3017-09-07 19.07.42BlogGree Cape5015-06-28 15.03.29BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.46.39We have however seen plenty of other birds: Australasian Gannets (first photo above), Ospreys and White-Bellied Sea Eagles (2nd photo above), Nankeen Kestrels (3rd photo above), Cormorants and Pacific Gulls (first photo below), Crested Terns (2nd photo below), and Sooty Oyster Catchers (3rd photo below).BlogGree Cape3015-03-31 14.49.17BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.08.28BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 14.10.17Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) are also often seen, the latter forming bachelor rafts just off the point and lolling about in the surf with the odd Queen’s Wave!BlogGree Cape3015-06-28 13.24.02BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.49.59BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.45.13And on land, there are wombats, usually fast asleep in their burrows during the day, but sometimes surprised grazing on the tough wiry grasses, especially in more remote areas.BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 13.52.05BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.14.07 More commonly seen are the quiet Eastern Grey Kangaroos (first photo) and Swamp Wallabies (2nd photo), which graze near the lighthouse.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.33.39OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the coastal heath, there are Southern Emu Wrens (Stipiturus malachurus) and Grass Parrots. I would love to see the latter, which are best observed on first light.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all the wildflowers of the rugged coastal heath, which is adapted to cope with the salt-laden winds and sandy soils of Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 13.53.02BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 14.25.41 I have organised them into colour ranges and identified them by their genus only:

White: Clockwise from Top Left: Westringia; Hakea; Leucopogon; and Leptospermum;

Yellow: Clockwise from Top Left: Hibbertia; Banksia; Senecio; and Pomaderris;

Reds: Clockwise from Top Left: Kennedia; Correa; Epacris; and Grevillea;

and Pinks: A beautiful Epacris impressa;BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 15.15.11Blues: Clockwise from Top Left: Patersonia; Comesperma; Dampiera; Hovea; Glossodia; and Hybanthus;

and Purples: Tetratheca and Comesperma;

with special sections for wattles (Acacia):

and peas (numerous genera).

Green Cape is a stunningly beautiful area, as the following photos attest.BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.54.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.50.22BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.32 It looks south across Disaster Bay to Baycliff and the mouth of the Wonboyn River, to the tall sand dunes of Cape Howe, the Nadgee Wilderness area and the Victorian border.BlogGree Cape2516-09-09 11.03.45BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.07.52OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then, there is the lighthouse itself- such beautiful architecture with a fascinating history!

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.08 The East Australian Current flows south at 2 knots off Green Cape, which was great for ships sailing south, but difficult for northward-bound vessels, which would hug the coast to avoid the current, exposing them to the risk of being wrecked on reefs and promontories.BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.20.54 It is a very rugged section of the coast, which has claimed over 10 shipwrecks, including the Ly-Ee-Moon 1886, in which 71 people died, 24 of their bodies being buried in the cemetery nearby.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.23.15The decision was made in 1873 to build a lighthouse at Green Cape, the buildings to be designed by the then-colonial architect James Barnett.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 18.58.19BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 16.27.33BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.39 Building supplies, as well as food and later supplies until 1927, were shipped from Eden to the storehouse at Bittangabee Bay, 7 km to the north, then were transported by horse-drawn tramway through the dense coastal heath and across creeks to the headland.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.07BlogGree Cape5017-09-07 17.51.12 The lighthouse complex included the 29 m tall octagonal lighthouse and residences for the Head and Assistant Lightkeepers;BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.18.56 a Flag Locker (for marine and semaphore flags) and Signalling Mast and a Telegraph Station (Morse code from 1892 on); BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.30

and workshops, stables and garages; a tennis court; wells; a helipad and a garden.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 14.11.26BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.01.49The light was first lit in 1883 and was originally powered, along with the resident quarters, by kerosene and coke coal and from 1962 on, diesel oil generators.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.57.50BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.31.12BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.34.01BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.31.14 It operated all night every night with 4 hour shifts for over 100 years till 1992, when the lighthouse and weather station were automated, the power now supplied by solar panels.

BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.44.46BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.57.56BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.20.19We were lucky enough to do a tour of the lighthouse last year. I loved the spiral staircase and colours, as well as the curved verandah railings and the spectacular views from the top! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.54.25OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.18.32BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.19.18  It is also possible to stay in the lightkeepers’ cottages. See: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/green-cape-lightstation-keepers-cottage.

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.50.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.43.13It really is a magical spot, which is the reason that we make our annual pilgrimage every Winter. Next week, I am featuring some of my favourite felting books!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

8 thoughts on “Green Cape: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Winter Weather!

  1. Jane This was an absolute delight to read and so informative. Thank you so much for sharing.  Green Cape on on my Must Visit Destinations 🌻 Cx

    Sent from my Galaxy-Tab A 2017 on the Telstra Mobile Network

    Liked by 1 person

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