From whale slaughter to whale watching, Eden is now home to a large whale watching industry. Each Spring, from late September through to November, the rare Southern Right and Humpback Whales pause to feed offshore on their way south to cooler Antarctic waters.
Whilst the whaling industry was abandoned in the early 1900’s, Eden’s Killer Whale Museum provides a fascinating history of the industry and the Killer Whales (Orcas) that helped the whalers catch their prey.
The Killer Whale Museum
Take a step back in time at the volunteer-run Eden Killer Whale Museum, which has been in operation for over 80 years. Relive history through a comprehensive record of whaling and whalers, including a skeleton of Tom, the last Killer Whale of Eden. Tom, along with other pods of Orcas, assisted the hunters of Twofold Bay in herding migrating whales and keeping them on the surface for an easy kill.
Whale watching is one of the most popular past-times from October to November. It can be enjoyed from a vantage point on the mainland or from a boat. Many local operators provide whale watching cruises. Two that operate from Eden wharf are Freedom Charters and Cat-Balou Cruises.
Historically, Snug Cove was a safe haven for sailors and boatmen. Today it still protects boats from the unpredictable Tasman swell and makes Eden a popular fishing and sailing haven. The first shore-based whaling station in Australia was located in Snug Cove into the 1920’s. Later it was home to timber export fleets, and, between 1855 and 1866, was an inbound port for miners heading to Kiandra. Today the main industry is fishing.
Davidson Whaling Station historic site can be found at the southern side of Twofold Bay at Kiah Inlet. Boydtown, built in 1843 during the height of whaling in Twofold Bay, and Boyd’s Tower, a massive sandstone tower accessible from Edrom Road, were built as part of the Boyd empire. The tower still stands, a lookout from which whalers could spot their passing catch.
Ruins of a number of other historic buildings are also visible in the area, including an incomplete church. Other historic buildings and landmarks include the Great Southern Inn, the Surveyor’s Office, Hotel Australia and St George’s Uniting Church.
Today Eden’s delight is as a seaside township. The cafés, art and craft shops that dot its main street make it perfect for a weekend stroll. Panoramic views can be found from Lookout Point, Rotary Park and the Seamen’s Memorial Wall over Twofold Bay and across to Mount Imlay. Safe swimming beaches include Boydtown, Aslings, Corcora and Snug Cove and rock pools. BBQ and picnic facilities make Eden the perfect family location. Take day trips to Pambula and Merimbula, on the Sapphire Coast to the north, and experience their coastal offerings.
Eden is a fish person’s paradise. If fishing is not your thing, then watching the pelicans arrive en-masse when the fishing boats come in is a spectacle in itself, and you can always buy your catch from the fish co-op at the wharf.
Today the fishing industry is more high-tech than in earlier days, with purpose-built fishing vessels carrying thousands of dollars of equipment, including sonic fish-finders, depth probes, winches and refrigeration systems and, of course, state-of-the-art radio and safety equipment. Where feeding one’s own family was the priority in 1915, today fishing is a commercial operation.
Daily fishing trips are available on charter, or diving trips are available between Merimbula and Green Cape. There are historic discovery cruises in Twofold Bay which double as dolphin, seal and whale spotting opportunities. Alternatively beach, rock and surf fishing are available as land-based activities. There are popular scuba diving and snorkeling spots in and around the wrecks that litter the coast.
Flanking Eden to the north and south, lies Ben Boyd National Park, offering a wealth of outstanding scenery and bushwalking. There are many popular bushwalking tracks including the Light to Light walk from Boyd’s Tower to Green Cape lighthouse.
What sort of holiday options are there?
Eden is a great adventure traveller’s base, which, coupled with the historical angle, has something for everyone, the fisher person, sailor, diver or beach goer. The plethora of accommodation makes Eden perfect for a romantic escape.
When to go?
Eden is suitable for most seasons, with Summer having the added benefit of suitable beach weather. September, October and November are the best times for whale watching, while the hinterlands and coastline can be explored in the cooler Autumn months.
How to get there?
Eden is the last town on the NSW coast before you enter Victoria. Eden is a ‘halfway’ point between Sydney and Melbourne along the coast road, being almost 500 kilometres south of Sydney and just over 550 kilometres north of Melbourne. If you don’t have 5 or 6 hours to spare, or driving is not your thing, Regional Express flies into Merimbula daily from both Sydney and Melbourne. Rental cars are available from Merimbula to Eden, the drive taking approximately half an hour. Arriving by boat might be more pleasant, and there’s no need to time your run across dangerous tidal bars, as Eden has the third deepest natural harbour in the world.
How long to stay?
Once you’ve made it to Eden, you won’t want to leave without having the chance to explore its waterways and history. There is plenty to do in Eden and the surrounding area for 5 or 7 nights or more; longer if you’re there for a lazy summer holiday.
Where to stay?
There is a full range of holiday accommodation in Eden: from self catering to fully catered; from places for couples to take-your-dog; or, in the spirit of Eden, with an historical heritage.
- Whales are reguarly seen breaching near Eden
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