The pink and purple coastline that stretches south from Twofold Bay at Eden has long inspired bold and daring feats, and it continues to do so in 2017 with the launch of a new eco-tourism venture.
Light to Light Camps rolls out the red carpet for small groups of hikers, the first party of four ‘mature‘ ladies has just returned beaming about the experience.
Jenny and Arthur Robb have seen the potential this distinctive environment embodies, both from a business perspective as a new tourist attraction and at a personal level for those who lace up their boots and walk the track over two nights and three days.
This 31-kilometre adventure spans the ever-changing coastline of the Ben Boyd National Park on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.
The ‘lights’ that inspire the name are Boyd’s Tower and Green Cape Lighthouse.
Walkers travel between seven and 13-kilometres every day, an ‘intermediate’ walk taking between three and four and half hours after a good breakfast.
The first people of this country have known the track for thousands of years, the Yuin People have a history of hunting for whales from this shoreline and collecting shellfish, one midden in the area dates back 3,000 years.
White man history is perhaps more obvious to hikers and was a highlight for Mary Pearce and her girlfriends, the first to do the walk under Jenny and Arthur’s watch.
“Something I knew about but had never been to, and it was very poignant, was the Ly-ee Moon Cemetery, just a little bit north of Green Cape,” Mary says.
Driven by a screw propeller, the Ly-ee-Moon was sailing from Melbourne to Sydney in what the Captain described as a “moderate sea” on the night of May 30, 1886.
At around 9:30 pm the ship struck the rocky reef at the foot of Green Cape Lighthouse, which had only been in operation for the three years prior.
Seventy-one men, women and children lost their lives, the cemetery Mary points to is the stark reminder of the disaster. Sixteen people were heroically rescued in the darkness by the Lighthouse Keeper and his assistant.
Mary says Arthur and Jenny’s knowledge of the history dotted along the track makes for great campfire conversation at breakfast and dinner.
History is your starting point on day one of the walk under Ben Boyd’s Tower, on the southern edge of Twofold Bay.
Boyd was a Scottish stockbroker and entrepreneur with big ambitions in the new colony that was taking shape far from his London HQ.
The tower was built in 1847, Boyd keen to establish a lighthouse to guide his fleet of steamers and whaling boats home. His big plans failed on all fronts, but his tenacity is dotted around Eden to this day. I’ll leave Arthur and Jenny to tell you more.
While the history you will experience with Light to Light Camps is rich and varied, it’s the environment that is front and centre during this experience.
“It was absolutely so memorable,” Mary says.
“We’re keen birdwatchers, and we were really after a sighting of the Eastern Ground Parrot, which is quite elusive and rare.
“Arthur had us all clued up for it, he also told us we needed to be quiet,” Mary laughs
Two sightings followed on the stretch between Bittangabee Campground and Green Cape.
“Quite beautiful, quite spectacular, and very special,” Mary says.
Idyllic but basic campgrounds managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service at Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee Bay have always offered respite and sanctuary for walkers doing the track, but camping in that traditional sense is not an option for Mary and her girlfriends, who are all aged in their late 50’s, early 60’s.
What Jenny and Arthur offer, makes camping possible for people who otherwise wouldn’t and without a doubt they take it to a new level.
“When we discovered Light to Light Camps, it was a dream come true,” Mary says.
“We had the camping without the pain of camping, Jenny and Arthur took away the pain.”
Click play to hear more about Mary’s adventure with Light to Light Camps…
Mary says the walk itself is not terribly hard and remembers walking into Saltwater at the end of the first leg to be greeted by her hosts.
“We walked into this most gorgeous set up,” Mary recalls
“There were twin tents, beautiful camp stretchers with mattresses and white sheets and white, crisp pillowcases.
“We had a shower with hot water and we had gourmet food and wine, it was just like the Hilton at Saltwater,” Mary says.
The smile on the veteran teacher’s face broadens as she remembers the snacks and treats she nibbled in cool shady gullies along the way, and the fresh salad wraps that were eaten at lunch after a swim in the brilliantly blue waters of a sandy cove.
Hostess, Jenny has lived in the local area since the early 1980’s, Arthur since the mid-1990’s.
They are driven by sharing this unique landscape and it’s wildlife with people and providing a connection and experience not possible without their efforts.
“This place is very special,” Jenny says.
The Light to Light Track follows some of Australia’s most spectacular coastline.
The trail moves beside rocks dating back over 400 million years, a marine environment with incomparable diversity, coastal heath and forests of Banksia and Ti-tree, side by side with ancient Aboriginal culture.
“The stories of Eden’s whaling days are also part of the journey and the incredible and long-lasting relationship between whalers and Killer Whales,” Jenny explains.
“There is a lot to take in, and we invite people to explore it all at their our own pace without the burden of tents, food and extra water.
“We are there at the start and end of every day to spoil you with delicious dinners, a hot shower and a luxurious camp set up – we’ve got you covered,” Jenny beams.
Any new business comes with a good dose of nerves and risk. Being bold and daring is part of the required toolkit.
Mary thinks Jenny and Arthur are on a winner.
“I can see overseas tourists just loving it,” she says.
“It’s a truly Australian experience, it’s not mass-produced and plastic, it’s really as we are, the potential is just amazing.”
Light to Light Camps comes from and is inspired by South East NSW, About Regional is a proud partner and supporter.