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

 

 

Ben Boyd National Park : Part 2 : Photo Essay

Last week, I finished with a brief description of the Light-to-Light walk and while we have still to do the whole walk over 3 days, we have visited all the spots we can access by car, so I thought a photo essay with a few brief notes about each spot would give you an idea of this magical spot! The photo below is of the National Park board of the northern and middle section of the park:BlogBenBoydNP75%ReszdIMG_2423Northern End : Pambula River and Bar Beach

Pambula River mouth, extending up the river;

National Parks and Wildlife lookout;

Walking trail up the side of the river and an amazing swing !;

Interesting rock formations and lots of quartz veining;

Popular with daytrippers, holiday makers, artists and fishermen.

Always lorikeets in the trees beside the picnic area.

Bird hide and walks at Panboola Wetland Conservation Area, Pambula.

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Start of the walk up the river

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Panboola, Pambula

Middle Section :

Severs Beach

500m walk through old farming property to a beach and massive 4000 year old aboriginal middens near the mouth of Pambula Lake, 1km inland up the Pambula River;

Shifting sandbars, so the river landscape is constantly changing.BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2457BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2458BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2462BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2469BlogBenBoydNP50%ReszdIMG_2468BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.52.41Barmouth Beach

Can be accessed by road through tall open coastal forest or a track from Haycock Point.

Sheltered north- facing beach, overlooking Pambula River mouth and beach.

George Bass, who was in an open whale boat with 6 crew members, sheltered from a gale here in 1797. He named the river ‘Barmouth Creek’, after the large sandbars at the mouth of the river, but it is now known as ‘Pambula River’.

Beach is protected by a tall headland on the ocean side.

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Pambula River Mouth from the northern side of river; Barmouth Beach far right across river
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Barmouth Beach across Pambula River from Bar Beach

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 17.58.14OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 18.20.45Haycock Point and Haycock Beach (North Long Beach)

Ten minute walk through old farmland with regenerating coastal wattle and the odd feral lily to Haystack Rock and purple red rock platforms and rock pools.

Ocean beach is 3 km long and can also be accessed via the North Long Beach road (Red Bloodwoods and Banksia forest).

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Long Beach, Haycocks Point looking south
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Cliffline Haycocks Point

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Northern end Long Beach, Haycocks Point
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Rock platforms at northern end Long Beach, Haycocks Point looking north to Haystack Rock
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Haycocks Point
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Haystack Rock, Haycocks Point

BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2016-06-26 17.15.06Long Beach and Quandolo Point

Wide isolated 1km long beach with colourful rock ledges.

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Looking north from Quondolo Beach to Long Beach and Haycocks Point
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Quandolo Beach
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Quandolo Point looking north
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Quondolo Point, looking south to Terrace Beach and Lennards Island
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Lennards Island from Quondolo Point
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Red rock platforms, Quondolo Point
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Quondolo Point

The Pinnacles

Also known as the Quoraburagun Pinnacles.

Eroded gully at northern end of Pinnacles Beach with colourful rock layers of sand, clay and sediment.

White pipe clay used by local aborigines for white ochre, an important trade commodity.

Feral pine trees.

Pinnacles Beach is 3km long and leads into Terrace Beach at the southern end.

Thick coastal scrub and steep colourful cliffs.

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Track through heath land, The Pinnacles
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Pinnacle Beach heading south to Terrace Beach and Lennards Island
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The Pinnacles are still actively eroding
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Lennards Island from the Pinnacles
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Feral pines at the Pinnacles
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Pinnacles Beach from Terrace Beach Car Park, looking north

The Terraces

One of our favourite spots. We spent New Years Day 2016 here and there were only four other people.

It is fun exploring the rocks at the end, and if you walk the other way, you will reach the Pinnacles.

The Terraces, Lennards Island and North Point are all accessed by the road to the Eden Tip, off the main highway.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 14.29.20BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.03.01BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.24.20BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-09-25 14.25.03BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 14.58.40BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 15.08.29BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 15.48.29

Lennards Island

Can be accessed at low tide, but becomes an island at high tide.

We saw an a echidna on the beach and a pair of peregrine falcons last time we were here.

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Lennards Island from the Pinnacles
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Lennards Island from Quondolo Point

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Lennards Island

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Lennards Island
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Lennards Island

North Head (Warong Point)

My daughter loves this place for its wonderful geology and myriad of small shells.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-12-28 16.57.17

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North Head from Aslings Beach, Eden
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Fisherman on rock platform, North Head
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Heavily folded layers, North Head

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Sleeping Dragon, North Head
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Hidden beach, North Head
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Narrow ridge to south of beach, North Head

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Rocks to north of hidden beach
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North Head
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View south from North Head towards Asling Beach in background

North Point looks across to Aslings Beach and the town of Eden, which separate the middle and lower sections of Ben Boyd National Park, so, even though they are not National Park, I have added a few photos in.

Aslings Beach (2km long)

Stretching round Calle Calle Bay and enclosing Curalo Lagoon and the main surf beach for Eden. Large sea pool at southern end. One day, we saw a dolphin pod catching the waves in.

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Aslings Beach looking north with North Head in background
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Aslings Beach looking south to Eden and Middle Head
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Northern end of Aslings Beach- note entrance to Curalo Lagoon on far left of photo

Eden

Home of the Killer Whale Museum (http://killerwhalemuseum.com.au/) and the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre (http://www.sapphirecoastdiscovery.com.au/).

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Middle Head, Eden from North Head
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View from Rotary Lookout, Middle Head over Twofold Bay, Red Point and Boyds Tower

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Rotary Lookout, Middle Head, Eden
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Rotary Park, Middle Head and Eden township from Boyds Tower
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Wharf, Eden

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Navy vessel, Twofold Bay

Southern End:

Quarantine Bay

Not in National Park, but worth a visit en route; Just south of Eden and Rixon’s Beach.

Lots of pelicans, seagulls, rays and even a friendly seal;

Boat launching ramp and fish cleaning tables.

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Rixons Beach, looking north to Eden and wharf
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Quarantine Bay
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Quarantine Bay with Mt Imlay in background

Boydtown Beach– 2km long- adjacent to site of Boydtown and historic Seahorse Inn.

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Boydtown Beach, looking north
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Seahorse Inn, Boydtown

Here is a National Parks map of the southern end of Ben Boyd National Park, encompassing the Light-to-Light Walk from Boyds Tower to Green Cape Light Station:BlogBenBoydNP40%ReszdIMG_5595Whale Beach and Davidson Whaling Station

Long isolated 2 km long beach protecting mouth of Towamba River and Kiah Inlet.

Once the site for onshore whaling operations at historic Davidson Whaling Station on Brierley Point.

This is a photo of an information board at the Killer Whale Museum.BlogBenBoydNP25%Reszd2015-05-15 11.17.08BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 10.36.42BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 11.20.31

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Large midden on the headland

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See post last week on Ben Boyd National Park for its history.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5607BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5609BlogBenBoydNP75%ReszdIMG_5615BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5618BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5617Leatherjacket Bay

Isolated rock and pebble beach;

Granite boulders covered in bright orange lichen.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5682BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5683BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5685BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5687BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5689

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Leatherjacket Bay
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Leatherjacket Bay

Saltwater Creek

500 m long beach bordered by 2 creeks and small lagoons

A lovely spot with an estuarine lagoons with reeds and rushes, melaleuca thickets, forest (rough barked apple and old-growth tall trees, full of hollows) and coastal foredunes, providing a variety of habitats for native flora and fauna and a veritable feast for the local aborigines, as evidenced by their middens.BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5768BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5781BlogBenBoydNP20%ReszdIMG_5785

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Southern end of Saltwater Creek
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Southern end Saltwater Creek

Hegarty’s Bay

Shrubby heath provides a habitat for the Ground Parrot, Pezoporus wallicus. We have yet to visit this bay, as it can only be accessed on the walk.

Bittangabee Bay

Aboriginal middens;

Old ruins of the Imlay’s ‘Bittangabee House’. The Imlays based their whaling operations here. Boats launched from Bittangabee Bay and Mowarra Point could attack northward migrating whales before the crews at Twofold Bay, giving the Imlays a commercial advantage. However, with their financial demise, the Imlays had to cancel the work on the house, and in 1848, Boyd took over the site on their departure.

Shed used to store supplies for Green Cape Light Station from 1880-1927. There was a horse-drawn tramway to the light station, 7km away.

The rocks provide homes for with limpets, chitons, snails, crabs and seaweeds. Sand Hoppers and Weedy Sea Dragons, Phyllopteryx taenolatus, live in the kelp beds.

Small white sand beach, backed by thick eucalypt forest.

Healthy Superb Lyrebird population.BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.33.50BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 13.35.01

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Bittangabee Bay with old storehouse ruins
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Swamp Wallaby, Bittangabee Bay
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Bittangabee Beach
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Storehouse ruins Bittangabee Bay

Pulpit Rock

Land-based game fishing, as it is very close to the continental shelf.

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Pulpit Rock
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Pulpit Rock
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Pulpit Rock

Green Cape

Deep water immediately offshore and sheltered sites in most wind conditions, making this a popular site for snorkelling and scuba diving.

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Looking towards Green Cape from Bay Cliff
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From the rock platform at light house, looking north to Lennards Island
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Rock platform at the end of Green Cape

Disaster Bay

From the road to Green Cape, there is a spectacular view over Disaster Bay, so named because Matthew Flinders lost 8 sailors, when they went ashore for water and were killed by aborigines in 1802. Nine ships were also lost in the area between 1862 and 1917.

Disaster Bay is a cove between Bay Cliff and Green Cape. Bay Cliff is a 350 Million year old rock formed by waves and it was an island 10,000 years ago. Since then, ocean currents have deposited sand to form parallel dunes and beaches.

Wonboyn River flows into Disaster Bay, just north of Bay Cliff.

Both are accessed by a road from the highway, further south of Ben Boyd National Park, and it is well worth spending a whole day there. It is one of the most stunningly scenic spots I have ever seen and warrants its own post later on in the year!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 15.07.55BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 15.08.02