There are big plans for the Light 2 Light Walk; it has been allocated $8 million with a promise of turning it into one of Australia’s “Great Walks” such as the Larapinta Walk or Margaret River’s Cape to Cape Walk.
This may change the nature of the walk but for the moment this 30km walk offers a chance to walk a track through wooded areas, across heathland and along rocky outcrops.
For much of the journey there are spectacular views over the ocean with opportunities to scramble over rocks to a natural lookout or descend to one of the many delightful bays.
There are several ways to do the walk from the simple ‘do it all in one go approach’ to camping for one or two nights along the way. However Light 2 Light Coastal Walks, run by Tim Shepherd and Paul Pincini is the only way that includes two overnight stays at the Green Cape lighthouse keeper’s cottage as part of the itinerary.
Day one starts at Ben Boyd Tower after being driven there by Mr Pincini in the 4WD bus, and armed with plenty of water, and lunch in our backpacks a group of seven of us including Mr Shepherd, our guide, explored the tower before taking off for the 13km section to Saltwater Creek.
The walk offers some fantastic views over the coast line as well as undulating areas through tea tree groves and banksia woodlands. At a stop along the way at Leatherjacket Bay we were shown a three-metre snake skin only recently found.
At Saltwater Creek we were picked up by the bus and taken to Green Cape where Liz Pincini had local oysters, cheeses and wines waiting for us on the verandah prior to dinner. As an added bonus we watched a whale and calf breaching offshore.
Day two offered a variety of scenic walking from the red rocks that dominate much of the coast to heathland and woodlands with streams punctuating the 9km walk. There was a stop at the very pretty Hegartys Bay before arriving at Bittangabee Bay for our own guided tour of the lighthouse.
For the final day we walked the 8km from Green Cape to Bittangabee, passing the Lye-e-Moon cemetery. A long section of heathland finally gave way to a delightful forest populated by masses of lilac patersonia, or native iris, giving the whole area a Monet-like quality.
One of the walkers commented that it was a great way of enjoying the environment without feeling you were on a route march. “You’re bush walking, not hiking,” she said. “You could spend the same money going to a day spa but this is so much better, leaving you mentally and physically refreshed,” another walker said.
Plans for the development of the Light 2 Light Walk are moving ahead with NPWS saying it is in the planning and development phase which will include an environmental and cultural heritage assessment.
“The masterplan will go out on public exhibition in 2019 for stakeholders and community input into the project,” an NPWS spokeswoman said.
Visit https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/light-to-light-great-walk to receive regular updates on the project.
A walk that’s going places
Tim Shepard and Paul Pincini started Light 2 Light Coastal Walks in September 2017 and recently have been looking at tapping into the cruise market with an accent on international passengers for whom the unspoilt views and adventure tourism would provide serious bragging rights.
In particular they are looking at offering a two-hour walk from Boyds Tower to Leatherjacket Bay for this market.
“They will see real nature within a 10 minute drive and in 30 minutes I can have them on a bush walk,” Mr Pincini said but acknowledged that while they had received good feedback from the ground handlers in the cruise industry, it was a two-year cycle to break in to the market.
When the international small cruise ship Caledonia Sky came into Eden in October 30 people went on tours to Davidson Whaling Station and the Ben Boyd Tower.
Mr Shepherd said the response had been very positive.
“I think half day walks for international tourists area possibility,” he said.
But he also encourages locals to enjoy the walk so that they can spread the word, tell their friends and visitors.
A walk that most can enjoy
The NPWS classification of grade 4 for the Light 2 Light Walk suggests that bushwalking experience is recommended as tracks may be “long, rough and very steep” but as someone who is active but not a regular bushwalker I didn’t find the walk difficult.
The group at the start of the final section from Green Cape to Bittangabee on the third day.
Signage is limited though for anyone thinking of doing it without a guide.
Good shoes - preferably walking/hiking shoes/boots - are a must as there are long lengths of the track covered in tree roots and also for climbing over rocky areas or boulder-covered beaches. We all sprayed hats, ankles, trouser bottoms and shoulders and only one person was bitten by a tick. Our visit was in mid November.
Denise Dion was hosted by Light 2 Light Coastal Walks.