Five Hours For Eden

Eden, Australia

That’s right, the header image is of three purple shells. And there’s no filter involved. You’ll find that on the Instagram.

Let’s go local, shall we? And when I mean local I’m talking about Eden, this little town on the Sapphire Coast in New South Wales, which I am currently quite taken with.

For those who will recall I recently completed my Diploma in Travel and Tourism and said course included a five day cruise up along the coast to wrap things up. Apparently we were all entitled to enjoy the perks the cruise ship had to offer but, and I’m typing this whilst convinced the floor is made of water, I’m quite certain that the cruising life is not for me.

However, we were treated to a maximum of one day in Eden, a solid ROAD TRIP (those capitals a wisely placed) destination, which I am very much grateful for. Sadly I was only able to spend about five hours in the coastal town (hence the post’s title) but they were worth it.

If you’re in need of a beach side escape or are making the road journey from Melbourne to Sydney, I recommend one or two days to see what’s going on.

Starting on a warm December morning, my classmate Jenny and I got into a tender (a small vessel that ferries passengers from the ship to land) and effectively made our way to land. We were under strict instruction to be back before 5:00 in the evening or else we’d be left behind (a part of me wanted to disobey said instruction).

Anyway, we’re in the tender, moving across the water and a dolphin pops out of the water. That fin breaking the surface indicates a promising start kiddies. We eventually dock with the jetty, among many fishing vessels, and we’re greeted by the locals wanting to show off their little town – one of them has even dressed up all old school.

It’s getting warmer and I’m covered up in more than enough of my Moroccan sunscreen (the bottle has lasted me this long!) and most of that is thanks to my not believing in sleeves on this day – cue selfie!

Ah and there he is!

But enough of that – Jenny and I are here to explore (I have a serious want to walk on dry land again also) and ironically, there’s a complimentary shuttle bus. We climb on and are greeted by Norm behind the wheel, Barb on the mic and other passengers which includes a small army of infectiously enthusiastic Chinese, some of whom are wearing Cup Day hats (it was magical I tell you!).

We’re off, driving through the old whaling town (more on that in paragraphs to come) and determining where we’ll load up on fish and chips later (we decided on this weeks in advance). We make one stop where the majority of passengers get off – see you on the ship Cup Day Chinese – before the good Barb and Norm drive us over to Asling Beach. It doesn’t take us long to decide to hop off here.

Asling Beach is lovely. The waves are small and rolling, the sand is course and grainy – I work in a chlorine swimming pool so dipping my toes in the salty sea amounts to a type of indulgence in paradise… in Eden. I’ll give the non religious a chance to figure that reference out.

For the most part, Jenny and I had a lot of the one kilometre beach to ourselves which suited just fine. I was getting my feet wet, and at one point my shorts, and Jenny was on the hunt for some shells – she does love them. We came up lucky and the header image is evidence enough.

To one end of Asling is a shallow rock pool people can swim in (no going head first now), and I must admit a few interesting colours appeared in the natural surroundings. If you have an appreciation for colour, take a walk along this beach.

We’re on the move again and we reach the top of the hill were passengers are everywhere – the locals are pretty satisfied with the turn out. We’re hungry and on the look out for some fish and chips, but all of the shops are down by the jetty. Bugger! But Eden is a small Australian town, so that means there’s an alternative…

THE PUB!

The Great Southern Hotel has a good set up, takes in a lot of natural light and cooks up some rather tasty feeds which includes an Asian squid salad with fried noodles and the all important fish and chips. Food porn to come!

I told you.

From that point onward we start making our way back to the jetty. The people are lovely and the town has a lot of classical architecture here and there, and not long after this we come upon Eden’s Killer Whale Museum. It wasn’t for Jenny but I popped in for a little bit.

Eden has a history of whaling, like a lot of coastal towns, and there’s one story that really appealed to me.

In the old days, the early 1800s, the whalers of Eden would hunt the humpbacks and southern right whales because that’s what you did, but what intrigued me the most was the ‘arrangement’ that the whalers of Eden had with a pod of orca whales (I’m not all that big on calling them killer whales), led by one Old Tom.

Old Tom’s pod would force wounded humpbacks and southern rights into the whalers paths and in return the whalers would leave the carcasses of the dead whales for the orcas to feed on – they especially liked eating the tongues. There was a rule about it.

The museum contains the remains of Old Tom, and it’s the only completed orca whale skeleton that you can find in the Southern Hemisphere – in fact, the museum is actually a memorial for Old Tom.

Another interesting fact I picked up on relates to Eden’s Aborigines, the Thaua people of the Yuin Nation. According to Thaua belief, an orca whale is a reincarnated tribesman/woman and this is primarily based around an orca’s black and white colouring – the Thaua were a water based people who wore white paint. I don’t know about you but I find that damn interesting!

After my quick detour into the museum Jenny and I continued down to the jetty where the tender would pick us up. We were running out of things to do with the time we had (I totally would’ve signed up for a whale watching cruise) but there was still the opportunity to take a photo of the ship we’d been sailing on.

I wasn’t so enthused about getting this shot (for reasons which relate to my not liking to be confined – never works out well) so I’m not sharing it, but the pelicans did turn out to make an appearance – I think it was because of the returning fishing vessels.

Now here’s the sad part, and I would like for you to take note.

You know those lovely locals, like Norm and Barb and the fella in the costume, who benefit from all of the cruise passengers coming ashore? The ship is going to cease cruising to Eden in the future so tourism might (hoping I’m wrong) take a hit it doesn’t need. That’s why I mentioned the road trip part above, or making a stop on the way from Melbourne to Sydney.

I can’t recommend this town enough. Five hours walking around weren’t enough, so you can no doubt tell that I want to go back!