Path to Eden: South Coast NSW’s surprise packet
Looking for an alluring South Coast NSW destination? We ventured to this fascinating coastal town and encountered plenty of surprises.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Try these strips of sand for great swimming…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Isn't it time you explored South Coast NSW? Book your Eden escape now.