Booderee National Park and Bherwerre Beach

Booderee National Park

One of the parks around Jervis Bay is the Booderee National Park. We have been there a few times on previous visits to the area but this time we went to parts of the park we had not previously seen.

We went for a two hour hike ending at Brook’s Lookout. Unfortunately we could not gain access to one of the beaches I wanted to see due to repair work on the pathways. But it is always worth reaching an ocean view in these parts.

Along the way I nearly stepped on this snake – and yes, I almost shit myself when I realised what it was.

A diamond backed python?

This was the first snake we had seen in all out walks in national parks. It turns out that it is not one of many venomous varieties that live in Australia. This one is a diamond backed python. At least I think so. If anyone knows differently then please let me know…

Hiking through Booderee National Park
Looking south from Brook’s Lookout
…and looking north

Bherwerre Beach

After the hike we headed to the western side of the park towards Cave beach. It was over 2 years ago that we visited Cave Beach in the Booderee National Park (see details on that visit in the post here). This time we went to check out another much longer beach just around the headland. Bherwerre Beach.

Pronounced Berwerry, this beach lies at the end of a 600 metre track that runs from the camp site at the western end of Cave beach. The path takes you past Ryans swamp before leading onto the enormous 7 km long Bherwerre Beach.

Maybe it’s because this beach is so long or maybe it is down to there being so many other great beaches in the area; but you can easily find that you have the whole beach to yourself/yourselves. We did!

The 7km long Bherwerre Beach

Ryans swamp

There was an odd mix of objects washed up by the Pacific Ocean. Among the usual seaweeds and shells were dead birds and coconuts. We walked about half the length of the beach and I spotted at least six dead birds dotted along the high tide mark.  Here are a couple of examples of the dead birds.

Dead birds along the Bherwerre Beach

These birds looked like cormorants but it was hard to tell as they were slightly decomposed. Does anyone know what type of birds these are? And why are there so many dead along the high tide line?

I have two theories:
The first one is that this area has white bellied sea eagles and they may be attacking other birds to protect their nesting/hunting grounds. Is this plausible?
The second theory is that these birds are attacked from the water where they become too injured to fly off and are simply washed ashore by the tide. Possibly by sharks or dolphins. Some may be eaten but not all. Does anyone know?

One thing I do know for sure is that we haven’t seen so many dead birds on a beach before.

Are Coconuts Native to Australia?

That’s a question I can’t find a definitive answer to but I think not. My guess is the ones we saw here were carried by the ocean from, well, who knows where? Anyway, Dani decided to pick up one of the more complete coconuts to take it home. He carried it for  few kilometres and stuck to the task.

Dani carried this coconut for over 2 miles

We got it back to our accommodation and I set about cutting out the centre so Dani could look inside. Not an easy task with simple kitchen knives. At least not for me. I finally got to the central “nut” and pierced a hole and poured out the “milk”. What a stench! The stuff was putrid. The actual layer of white coconut had long since dissolved leaving only a stinking slimy substance. Well, I suppose that’s what happens when it has been floating across the sea (from wherever) for many weeks or months…

And Finally…

I realise these things don’t come out too well on a mobile phone camera but the moon the other day, over the bay. It seemed unreal. Almost like something out of The Truman Show, a false light in the studio sky.


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