SPORT LEISURE AND OTHER ACTIVITIES

Path to Eden: South Coast NSW’s surprise packet

Eden is a paradise-like coastal destination. Credit: Courtesy Sapphire Coast Tourism

With the arrival of BIG4 Eden Beachfront Holiday Park to our network, we ventured to this fascinating coastal town and encountered plenty of surprises.

A visit to the vibrant Port of Eden Precinct is a must. Credit: Julie Fourter

A succession of sparking coastal vistas, abundant fishing opportunities, a thoroughly fascinating past, and maybe even the chance to glimpse a Yowie – welcome to enchanting Eden.

With its somewhat remote location at the bottom of NSW, you could easily overlook this small town. Yet, conversely, those who do venture here will likely find Eden a place that remains entrenched in their minds.

Perched on the shores of glorious Twofold Bay, Eden explodes with appeal, as you’ll soon find out.

One of the best attractions in these parts is the Eden Killer Whale Museum. Credit: Eden Killer Whale Museum

The ideal starting point

The best place to glean the town's rich history and understand its place today is at the Eden Killer Whale Museum.

The upstairs floor of this two-storey complex is devoted to detailing Eden’s extensive whaling heritage, and it’s utterly compelling. In particular, the antics of legendary Tom the Killer Whale – who led a pack of orcas that would alert whalers to their prey – make for astonishing reading.

"..this past is even more sensational when considering that Australia is now a staunch anti-whaling nation."

Of course, this past is even more sensational when considering that Australia is now a staunch anti-whaling nation.

The museum is not just about these marine giants, though. Downstairs you can explore many other local history themes, including the timber industry and indigenous culture.

'Old Tom' was quite the character and his story makes for compelling reading at the Eden Killer Whale Museum.

Credit: Courtesy Australia's Greatest Boat Show

From whale slaughtering to whale watching…

Highlighting the stark contrast between Eden’s past and present is the town’s reputation as one of the best places in Australia for whale watching.

It’s a deserved standing, as ample opportunities exist to gaze up close at humpbacks breaching: Try easy-to-access land-based vantage points, or join a tour where cruise companies promise near-100% sighting success rates in season.

Typically, whales can be spotted in Eden from mid-September until mid-November.

Note: The Killer Whale Museum sounds a siren when whales are in the bay. It helps to know this in advance, so you don’t attempt to flee the area in a state of panic.

Mind-blowing encounters with whales are reliably enjoyed in Eden. Credit: Rosalind Butt

Who the bloody hell is Ben Boyd?

Boyd Tower. Boydtown. East Boyd. Ben Boyd National Park.

As you’ll soon learn, the name Boyd gets plenty of airtime in Eden. So who was he?

In short, Ben Boyd was a colourful character; a Scottish-born entrepreneur and stockbroker with bold plans and grand dreams who unfortunately ran into financial strife and ultimately failed.

Still, Uncle Ben created a legacy, and remnants of this past remain.

Roughly 8km from the centre of Eden is Boydtown, the first settlement in Twofold Bay. Boyd founded the village and envisioned spectacular success for it, but it never eventuated, and little remains here.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for Ben Boyd, but at least Eden and surrounds still has sunshine. And rainbows. Pictured: Boyd Tower.

One notable structure in these parts, though, is the striking Seahorse Inn. This grand building has a remarkable past in itself.

Whether that interests you or not is irrelevant, because what should is that this is a superb dining option with great views that stretch over the bay to Eden.

Great food, excellent views: the Seahorse Inn is the ideal spot to dine. Credit: Courtesy Seahorse Inn

Historical relics combine with glorious natural beauty in Ben Boyd National Park, which comprises a northern and southern section.

In the southern section is Boyd Tower, where more absorbing past tales are revealed, as well as Green Cape Lighthouse. The two points are linked along the iconic 30km-long Light to Light Walk.

Davidson Whaling Station is not to be missed. Interpretive signage provides more intriguing detail about this once important industry.

How's the view? Green Cape Lighthouse. Credit: Courtesy Sapphire Coast Tourism

Other park highlights include several inviting swimming beaches and bays. Saltwater Bay and Bittangabee Bay are two highlights.

In the northern section, it’s a relatively easy walk to the Pinnacles lookout to witness colourful cliffs and coastal views. The best time to visit is late afternoon when the sun shines brightly on the rocks.

Brilliantly beautiful Bittangabee Bay.

Another essential walk…

Elsewhere, it’s worth planting your feet along the Bundian Way Story Trail, a scenic 2km path that follows an ancient Aboriginal walking track along the shores of Twofold Bay. It links Cocora Beach with Quarantine Bay and gifts glittering views.

Coastal walks are an Eden specialty. Credit: Courtesy Sapphire Coast Tourism

Other things to do in Eden

Rotary Park and Eden Lookout: Ideal picnic spot with undercover barbecues. Lookout provides sweeping coastal vistas; vantage point for spotting whales and ships.

Port of Eden Precinct: Busy hub home to three wharfs; departure point for cruises. Has a cluster of cafés and restaurants.

Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre: Features local marine life with various hands-on displays. Great for all ages, particularly kids.

The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre provides plenty of great experiences indoors and outdoors.

Credit: Courtesy Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre

Eden’s best beaches

Try these strips of sand for great swimming…

  • Cocora Beach: Protected beach popular with families.
  • Aslings Beach: Surrounded by Lake Curalo and a natural rock pool. Well suited to walks.
  • Bungo Beach: Dog friendly.
  • Legges Beach: Metres from beachfront cabins at BIG4 Eden.

Aslings Beach is a magical spot, and central too. Credit: Courtesy Sapphire Coast Tourism

Fancy fishing?

Eden is highly revered for its angling and offers plenty of excellent fishing opportunities from game to bay to reef.

Quarantine Bay is a popular departure point with its three-lane boat ramp and other fishing facilities. The best bet is to speak to the in-the-know team at BIG4 Eden for the hot tip on where the fish are biting.

Eden offers excellent access to a variety of fishing experiences. Credit: Courtesy Australia's Greatest Boat Show

Fresh seafood

If fishing is not your thing, or you’re plain out of luck, head to Eden Smokehouse. Fresh, delicious smoked seafood is a specialty at this award-winning outlet.

Tuck into a wide variety of tasty seafood at Eden Smokehouse. Credit: Eden Smokehouse

Where can I spot kangaroos?

The same place you can wander lush fairways with club in hand: Eden Gardens Golf Course. This magnificent 18-hole championship layout is a magnet for roos, but it’s also highly regarded by golfers. Deserved of ‘hidden gem’ status.

Eden Gardens Golf Course is a magnet for roos and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the centre of town.

Credit: Eden Fishermen's Recreation Club

What’s this about Yowies?

Claims of Yowie sightings – also referred to as the ‘gorillas of Eden’ – have a long history in town according to reports from the Magnet newspaper. While clearly fanciful, you could see how such a legend exists here when driving around the outskirts of town on a dark, misty night. It is kind of eerie!

What's that near the tree there?!

One last thing…

Remember that your adventures in these parts should begin with a stay at BIG4 Eden Beachfront Holiday Park. To start with, there are sensational views from the beachside cabins. Book below now.

Stunning: The view from the foreshore of BIG4 Eden.

Have you been to Eden? What are your memories of it? We’d love your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.

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