In Booderee National Park
We didn’t take the time to see all of the national park, but we did spend two days have a reasonably good look around. (This was due to the $11 / 48 hour entry fee.) Booderee is owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and is a very significant place for Koori people.
We visited the Booderee Botanic Gardens, where we lazily strolled around Lake McKenzie (pictured above) and enjoyed the serenity of being (almost) the only people in the gardens at the time.
From there we drove a little further down the road to Cave Beach and easily found the cave the beach is named for and, although I wasn’t wanting to step inside it, Dean did.
We enjoyed a walk along the beach and then moved onto another area of the park, where the waves were bigger and certainly rideable. If only Dean didn’t have me with him I’m sure he would have gotten in.
Our last stop was the Cape St George Lighthouse. Because it is unusual to find a lighthouse in ruins, I had to let my fingers do the walking and find out why:
The lighthouse was erected amid much controversy, and without consulting the Pilots Board, the controlling authority, the lighthouse was commissioned in 1860 and subsequently built 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) north of the intended site making the light itself not visible from the northern approach, and barely visible from the southern approach.
As a result, direct or otherwise, twenty-three ships were wrecked on the South Coast of New South Wales in the vicinity of Jervis Bay between 1864 to 1893. The light was eventually replaced in 1899 by Point Perpendicular Lighthouse (we’ll visit this lighthouse another day) and, to remove the confusion of two light towers in such close proximity to each other, the lighthouse tower at Cape St George was then used for target practice by the Royal Australian Navy from 1917 to 1922, and consequently, and rather unceremoniously, destroyed. It is now listed on the National Heritage List.
Residents of the lighthouse (it seems) were also caught up in its ill-fated and tragic history. You can read more about that here.
The lighthouse site is now a perfect place for watching migrating whales. At the moment they are making their journey north to their playground in Harvey Bay. This was certainly something we didn’t expect to see, but are very glad we did. In three months they’ll be heading in the opposite direction providing another opportunity to watch them playing in the waters just outside Jervis Bay.
They were a considerable distance from where we were standing, and difficult to photograph, so I eventually gave up and simply enjoyed watching them.
The following day we drove out along Jervis Bay Road and went bushwalking along the Munyunga Waraga Dhugan Trail, a 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) self-guided tour of the park’s natural and cultural heritage and history. Although ‘Munyunga Waraga Dhugan’ means ‘white bellied Sea Eagles home camp’ in the Aboriginal Dhurga language, we didn’t see any Sea Eagles, nor did we spot any nests.
The trail is a loop that starts and ends at Murray’s Beach. Initially we were walking below a canopy, but this soon disappeared and we were then walking along a broad (little used) vehicle track past tall grasses that at times obscured the ocean view to the east, but at least there were a couple of areas where the road rose above the growth and we could enjoy the view.
We were lucky enough though to be treated to a cacophony of bird calls, however spotting and photographing them proved much harder. I did eventually catch up with this little New Holland Honeyeater.
There were so many of these birds darting around amid the trees and along and across the pathway.
We intended to enjoyed the beaches in the area before leaving and saying goodbye to the park, but surprise, surprise, it started raining. As we were both feeling a little tired from all the walking we’d done the day before, heading home wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
I’m not sure we’ll visit the park again, but we won’t rule it out completely just yet.
I’ve added some photos to the Photography page, so take a minute to pop over there and see what else we found while enjoying the Booderee National Park.