Exploring Our Backyard: Green Cape
It must be summer…
It’s that time of year when the sea breezes start drifting in over the Great Dividing Range, filling the nostrils with salty air and memories of summers gone by. The mind turns from the receding snow drifts to sun-drenched sandy beaches and there’s a mad clambering for the fins and fishing rods
The far south coast of NSW is a somewhat forgotten nugget of green bush and golden coves. The former whaling town of Eden was once favoured as a site for the new capital of Australia being an equal distance from Sydney and Melbourne. These days that means it’s as far from the maddening crowds as possible with vast tracts of secluded untouched wilderness like Green Cape. And luckily for us, it’s just 3hrs drive from the Capital of today -the perfect micro-adventure.
Eddie Would Go
We’d hatched a plan with our mates at We Are Explorers, Sea to Summit and Bear Rentals to welcome in summer hiking the iconic Light-to-Light track. The 30km cliff-top-hugging trail takes you through heathland, tea tree groves and banksia woodlands from NSW's southernmost lighthouse at Green Cape to the historic Boyd Tower standing sentry over Twofold Bay and Eden. We’d hike, swim in the ocean and bathe in the sunshine.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans!
A week out the forecast wasn’t looking like summer at all with temps in the single digits and 45mm of rain in a single day. Two days out, it had improved to 8mm for day one on the trail. We sucked air through our teeth and made the call: Eddie would go! It’s just water. Meals were prepped. Eskies fully loaded.
We descended on the brewery the next morning and checked the updated forecast. To our horror, in just 12hours it’d blown out to a whopping 60mm for the day. Too late now. We were committed. Like Eddie paddling onto a Sunset screamer.
Into the Storm
The sweet Bear Rentals rig cut through the Brown Mountain fog and lapped up the puddles, closely followed by the Capital Van and its precious cargo. We emerged at Green Cape Lighthouse with waves and lightning crashing. At this point, the notion of walking through the rain, along the clifftops and higher than the heath with the thunder cracking was not appealing!
Luckily for us the Light-To-Light walk is adorned with several drive-in campsites. The plan was for Dan, our very own camp fairy, to hop ahead of the hikers, set up camp, put the beers on ice, prep gourmet campfire meals and then we’d stroll in for the royal treatment. Day one we rolled not strolled. Nonetheless, vibes were strong, the rain soon stopped and we sucked back not-so-well-earned coldies round the fire until the stars came out.
A New Day
Dawn broke on day two and through the trees we spotted the first of many humpback whales frolicking just offshore. With coffees in hand, we watched mothers bring their calves close to shore to protect them from the Orcas who once helped humans hunt them down.
The sun was shining and we were excited to finally hit the trail. No more than a kilometer into the hike came the first challenge: the swollen Bittangabee Creek had spectacularly burst her banks. Shoes off, packs above heads, we helped each other across the tannin filled torrent.
From then on it was smooth sailing to Saltwater Creek. The spectacular scenery changed at every turn. One minute we were walking through tunnels of tee tree, then wide open heath the next. We’d watch lyrebirds dart through thick undergrowth, then pop out onto clifftops with whales breaching only 50m offshore.
After a day on the trail, Camp fairy Dan was a welcome sight on the beach with a freshly caught wild Australian Salmon and an esky full of beer. We threw the frisbee, downed brews, wet lines and paddled kayaks as the sun set on Saltwater Creek. This was more like the summer adventure we’d initially envisaged!
All good things…
The photographers in the group were up early the next morning, seemingly immune to the quantities of brews consumed the night before! Their reward was a stunning sunrise with Saltwater Creek spilling over a long-closed sandbar.
The most spectacular section of track lay ahead of us winding over beaches, and headlands, through heath and woodland. Then onto boulder-strewn coves and along clifftops before breaking out onto sandy beaches where we’d stop for lunch, a swim and more brews.
All the while we’d catch glimpses of the eccentric Ben Boyd’s giant sandstone tower through the trees, getting closer and closer until finally, we were upon it, pondering life as a whaler in the 1850s.
With weary legs, and happy heads we convoyed back over the Brown and across the Monaro for a date with the Brewery. This time the beers and Brodburgers were well and truly earnt and we basked in the glory of making the right decision. One we’re sure Eddie would’ve approved of. We got the sun. We got the sand. And so much more with good mates and good brews.
Roll on Summer!
Endnote: This trip was made possible and totally awesome by:
- We Are Explorers – Australia’s leading online inclusive community of adventurers and best damn dudes to have your back on the trail.
- Sea To Summit – WA based, award-winning global adventure equipment company who kept us high, dry and comfy with their top-notch kit!
- Bear Rentals – Taking the hassle out of adventure with their 4WD Land Rover Defenders complete with fridge, stove, awning, pots, pans and highly fought-after rooftop tent!