5 Great Things to do in Eden

5 Great Things to do in Eden

This page about the 5 Great Things to do in Eden may contain compensated links. For more information read our disclaimer here

 

The Garden of Eden makes me think of Heaven and Paradise. In Hebrew, Eden means ‘delight’; the perfect word to describe this natural paradise town. Eden sits on the shores of Twofold Bay and nestles between three National Parks on NSW’s Far South Coast.

Humpback Highway

Twofold Bay is the third deepest natural harbour in the southern hemisphere. Each Spring, between September and November, thousands of humpbacks stop to give tourists a show. They rest, play and fatten their calves before continuing migration. The plentiful krill in this area sustaining their journey home to Antarctica.

Nutrient Rich Diversity

The tropical waters of the East Australia Current warm Eden’s waters. Nutrient-rich colder waters from the Southern Ocean mingle to create a diverse marine habitat. A beautiful sight not often seen on the Australian coastline.

No wonder the baleen whales love to stop by on their journey!

Sensory Sensation

The Eden Whale Festival, held in late October to early November, celebrates the Spring whale migration.

From the shore and from sea, locals and visitors alike enjoy the spectacular sight. Whales breach; lifting their bodies to expose up to 90% of their body above the water.  The thunderous crash of their enormous bodies reaching the shore.

 

Eden Community Puts on a Show!

This year, just as in previous years, Eden Whale Festival was a spectacular success!

The town bustles with live shows, street theatre, music, art exhibitions, friendly competitions and tours.

The images below represent just some of the fun to be had this year. The Eden community is strong, welcoming and vibrant, much like the festival itself.

For more information, visit: https://edenwhalefestival.com.au/

Missed the migration and the festival this year? There’s still plenty to see in this popular, yet unspoiled holiday resort town all year. Dolphins, seals and penguins are amongst the other popular locals that greet regular tourists.

Eden Killer Whale Museum

 

The Eden Killer Whale Museum, situated off Middle Head, blends Eden’s whaling past with its whale watching present.

Amongst the ever-changing exhibitions and guided tours, the centrepiece attraction at the museum is ‘Old Tom’. Old Tom is a complete orca skeleton; there are no others on public display in the southern hemisphere.

Old Tom was the last killer whale to have worked alongside human whalers of the Yuin nation. The Yuin’s hunted baleen whales from the early 1800s, having connected with the orcas. The orcas would lure the whales into the bay. The Yuin nation would then share the catch with their cohorts.

Photos with kind permission from Eden Killer Whale Museum

 

On his natural demise in 1930, locals prepared to bury Old Tom’s corpse on the beach.  One of the locals then suggested that people might want to pay to view this magnificent creature’s skeleton.  From this, the Eden Killer Whale Museum was built by the community in 1931 before settling in its current location in 1939.

For more information, visit: http://killerwhalemuseum.com.au/

Ship Ahoy at Snug Cove!

A quick ramble from the museum down Warren’s Walk takes you to Snug Cove. Altogether, three wharves unite in this busy, working port.

First known as Weecoon by the Thawa people of the Yuin nation, it was renamed Snug Cove by explorer George Bass in 1798. He declared it to be ‘a snug and safe anchorage for any ship during a blow’.

In 1828, Thomas Raine set up the first shore based whaling station here. This was the first on mainland Australia. In 1860, the first wharf for shipping begun operations, with further growth of the port commencing in 1862.

A major expansion began in 1987 to satisfy demand of overseas and domestic visitors via sea. Today, the Eden Breakwater Wharf Extension Project will enhance access for larger cruise ships over the coming years.

  

Apart from the daily fleet of fishing trawlers, there are plenty of visiting yachts, cruise liners and tugboats to see. Enjoy watching local fishermen unloading and preparing their catches for the Sydney and Melbourne markets. This is also the perfect spot to indulge in local seafood at one of the eateries around the cove.

 

Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre

While down at the wharf building, you can learn more on the temperate marine environment of the Sapphire Coast. Take a visit to the Marine Discovery Centre; a ‘hot spot’ for the study of impacts into climate change.

Here, a touch-tank experience gets you up close and personal with the marine creatures from the local rocky shores.  Eager to learn more about our oceans and coasts? There are marine education programs to try. Choose from the guided Snorkel Tour, Rocky Shore Ramble or Dune Tour.

For more information, visit: http://www.sapphirecoastdiscovery.com.au/

 

Photos with kind permission from Sapphire Coastal Marine Discovery Centre

 

 

Wander to Rotary Park

After taking in the sights and wonderful seafood by the water, ramble up to Lookout Point. Here you get a larger view of Twofold Bay headland which formed around 380 million years ago. Notice how the headland juts out into the bay, separating into two ‘folds’, hence the name ‘Twofold’.

In this area, you can visit the Seamen’s Memorial Wall. This memorial commemorates all seamen who perished at sea after sailing from the Port of Eden. Erected by the Eden Community following the loss of the fishing trawler ‘Shiralee’ and its crew in 1978.

The plaque on the front of the Shiralee Memorial reads:

 

Following The Loss Of the Trawler “Shiralee”

With All Hands On The 10th August 1978,

The People Of Eden Had This Wall Constructed

To Serve As A Memorial To All Seamen Who

Have Sailed From This Port, Were Lost At Sea,

And Have Never Returned.

 

 

There is so much more to see and do in and around Eden. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our favourite five in Eden itself.

Rob and I are planning to head back to Eden around January 2020. We’re looking forward to being able to discover more about this beautiful place. We will take some great images and video to share with you.

Rob and I would like to thank the organisers of the Eden Whale Festival, Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre and the Eden Killer Whale Museum for their kind permission to use their images throughout this article.

 

Have you ever visited Eden? What were your favourite finds?

Muogamarra Nature Reserve in Early Spring

Muogamarra Nature Reserve in Early Spring

This page about the Muogamarra Nature Reserve may contain compensated links. For more information read our disclaimer here

Muogamarra Nature Reserve in Early Spring

For just 6 weekends each year, Muogamarra Nature Reserve opens its gates to allow the public to enjoy a brilliant display of colour when wildflowers come into bloom. This Aboriginal cultural heritage site helps protect the fragile ecosystem of the Hawkesbury Sandstone environment. Situated in the northern edge of Sydney between the suburb of Cowan to the South and the Hawkesbury River to the North, just 30 minutes from Gosford. While there, you can enjoy scenic views of Milson and Spectacle islands, Hawkesbury River, Bar and Berowra Creek.

How to get there

Coming in via the Pacific Highway approximately 3.2 kilometres north of Cowan on the left of the northbound dual carriageway, slow your vehicle down a little or you may miss the sign outside announcing the entrance gate to the reserve. Be prepared for a narrow slow-going 3-kilometre-long gravel road with only a few places here and there to allow traffic past from the opposite direction.

On arrival, volunteers will guide your vehicle to an available car spot just outside the main entrance where an entry fee of $25 per person is taken. There is a small grassy area with picnic tables available at this point, along with ramp access to toilets.

Accessibility

Rob and I enjoyed a wonderful day here on the second weekend of opening in 2019 and decided to walk the Point Loop which is a short, flat 2 kilometre walk from the visitor centre/main entrance. This was an easy ramble for us with only a little bit of navigation over uneven ground and rocks, and gentle ascent to be had when we got to the optional viewpoint off-track overlooking Peats Crater and the Hawkesbury River.

If you are a little unsteady on your feet then you can skip this point and continue on the loop path and, while there is still a few areas to be careful on the trail at that point, I think most people with some mobility issues would manage as would fat wheeled electric wheelchairs with a little assistance. Having not had to use a wheelchair though, it may be better to contact the reserve beforehand to assess whether they think this is viable according to the current conditions or the J D Tipper Loop may be more appropriate.

Choose Your Ramble

There are a few other rambles to be had in the reserve which all start from the main information centre, these being:

  • J D Tipper Loop – A short mostly flat 1-kilometre walk to the lookout named after the founder of Muogamarra Nature Reserve.
  • Lloyd Trig – A generally flat 4-kilometre walk on an old road built by convicts to Lloyd Trig Point, with views overlooking the Hawkesbury River area.
  • Deerubbin Lookover – A 6-kilometre walk with a 110-metre descent and a similar ascent along the old Peats Ferry convict road to a rock shelter which provides amazing views over the Hawkesbury River.
  • Peats Crater – A 10-kilometre walk with a 200-metre descent and matching ascent which follows a convict road to the site of George Peat’s farm at Peats Crater.
  • Bird Gully Swamp – A trail around the edge of a ‘hanging swamp’ containing unique plant habitat. Continue the ramble up to the top of a lovely waterfall and occupation sites of aboriginal Gu-ring-gai people.

What to See

If you choose to join in one of the volunteer guided discovery tours, you will get the chance to see Aboriginal rock engravings and learn about the area’s Aboriginal significance but, if like Rob and I, you choose to go at your own pace, then there is still a lot to take in and learn on your own.

Here are just a few captures of the brilliant displays of colour that greeted us on the day and if you look carefully, a few photographs show how healthy this reserve is with very busy bees enjoying pesticide free native wildflowers such as waratahs, angophoras, old-man banksias, pink boronias and orchids.

We Will Be Back Next Year!

The air was filled with fragrance and birdsong (birdwatchers may glimpse a lyrebird or wedge-tail eagle) and I felt really blessed to be able to enjoy our time. We will be back next year to try out the other trails but will aim to get there much earlier in the day…. If you live with a photographer, you soon learn to take any ramble at a snail’s pace!

Dates for 2019 general visits run from 10th August – 15th September 2019

7 Best Things to Do and See in Adelaide

7 Best Things to Do and See in Adelaide

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Adelaide is a vibrant and culturally diverse city nestled between the stunning Adelaide Hills on one side and the wonderful and unique body of water of Gulf St Vincent on the other. At any time of the year, it is home to a wonderful array of festivals, award winning restaurants, trendy bars and boutique watering holes.

But, when you are not eating, drinking and being thoroughly entertained what are the best places to go in Adelaide on a day trip out? Here is a list of the 7 best things to see and do in Adelaide that we’ve found so far!

Parks and Wildlife

Adelaide is both surrounded and filled with beautiful green spaces such as Adelaide Botanic Garden; 50 hectares of pristine gardens and breath-taking architecture. Green also abound at Botanic Park and Elder Park. There are a number of other National Parks close by including Cleland Wildlife Park where you can hold a koala and Belair National Park.

Cultural Precinct

Walking the length of Adelaide’s cultural precinct with all of its impressive political, cultural and educational institutions would take a mere 5 minutes or so through the heart of the city but the truth is, this nineteenth century boulevard deserves time to experience. Just some of the buildings to be enjoyed is the Adelaide Festival Centre, the State Library of South Australia, the Migration Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.

Adelaide Gaol

As one of Australia’s longest continuously operated prisons, Adelaide Gaol housed some of the state’s most notorious and dangerous criminals from 1841 to 1988.  You can now take a tour through the hallways and cells, the hanging tower, yards and prisoner graves to get a unique glimpse of prison life.

National Wine Centre of Australia

Adelaide produces some of the best wines in the world, so what better place to enjoy the diversity of Australia’s 65 wine regions than the National Wine Centre of Australia. You can learn to blend your own wine and tune in your tastebuds to the characteristics of the key wine varieties grown in Aussie. Afterwards, you can take an appreciation Master Class in the Wined Bar with a wine sommelier.

Haigh’s Chocolates – Free Guided Viewing Tour

Just like wine grapes, cocoa bean varieties each have their own characteristics and what better place to find out more about the art of chocolate than a tour of the Haigh’s Chocolates Factory. In this free guided viewing tour, you can see Haigh’s team of confectioners creating and hand finishing their range of chocolates and get to taste some of their creations along the way. There are a few steps to navigate on the tour so those who are in wheelchairs or are mobility challenged will miss a little of the tour unfortunately.

Adelaide Ghost Tour

“The scariest and most real experience you will find in South Australia”. Recommended by paranormal TV celebrities, each ghost tour lasts around 2 hours. You can visit sites such as the Adelaide Gaol mentioned earlier, Adelaide Arcade and the National Railway Museum, Z Ward Asylum and the scariest of them all, Old Tailem Town. You can also choose to extend your experience with a paranormal or special event all night investigation.

Opal Mine

Who doesn’t love the beauty of opals? In the heart of Adelaide, you can visit a simulated underground opal mine and see the veins of real opal as they would naturally occur in the rock of Australian opal fields. You can even see a 100 million year old opalized dinosaur plesiosaur on display, one of only eight ever discovered.

There is so much to see and do around Adelaide that you will be spoiled for choice. I would love to know about your favourite things to do in Adelaide in the comments below. If you love our series on favourite things to do in Australia’s beautiful cities and towns, you can read more here.

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Cootamundra – It’s Not Just Cricket!

Cootamundra – It’s Not Just Cricket!

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Cootamundra is a picturesque country town in the Riverina, NSW, Australia. Although set within a natural environment and full of country charm, don’t believe that that means its sleepy and boring; there is certainly plenty to do and the locals are brimming full of warmth and friendliness.

Just a scenic road trip from Sydney or Melbourne and only two hours’ drive northwest of Canberra, it’s the perfect base to explore the Riverina. Its name, it is believed, was derived from the Wiradjuri word guudamang for ‘turtle’, as the town is around a low-lying marshland, the perfect turtle habitat.

Visit the Migurra Reserve in Cootamundra in July and August and you will be greeted with a sunny sea of golden yellow blooms of the Cootamundra Wattles which are native to the region. If that doesn’t satisfy your nature loving taste buds, you can enjoy rambling along one of the birdwatching trails and nature walks, visit Gardiner’s Lookout viewing place and picnic area and take the obelisk loop track at Pioneer Park; a beautiful 30 minute walk full of vegetation and, if you are lucky, you may even see some of the other locals; goannas, wombats and wallabys!

This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Places to Visit in and around Cootamundra

If you’re a cricket fan, then you will be delighted to know that the world’s greatest cricketer was born in Cootamundra in 1908. The cottage where Sir Donald Bradman was born is now a museum containing the batsman’s cricket memorabilia and if you venture to Jubilee Park and take the Captains Walk, you can see 42 bronze sculptures of Australian Test Cricket captains along with Unaarimim, the leading Aboriginal cricketer in the first Australian cricket team tour of England in 1868.


This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Cootamundra is also the former home of another Test Captain, Bill Murdoch. Entry to the museum is $3.00 for adults and children under 16 are free.

Paying tribute to some of the nation’s finest high-quality award-winning wheat crops, Cootamundra is home to beautiful fibre optic lit Milestones Sculptures which were opened in 1997 by the then Governor General William Deane. The sculptures are made from cast concrete and use patterns that represent wheat stalks cut from compressed fibrous cement and painted in a soft wheat colour. They are based in two locations – Mackay Park at Wallendbeen and in Parker Street.

A traditional agricultural show, the ‘Cootamundra Show’ is held every third weekend of October.

If the Milestones Sculptures have whetted your appetite for more heritage, culture and arts, then you are in for a treat.

Image courtesy of VisitNSW

Cootamundra Heritage Centre

Located in the former Railway Barracks and Rest House which were built in 1927, Cootamundra Heritage Centre houses a permanent collection of objects relating to Cootamundra housed in theme rooms on topics such as the history of the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home; Railway Barracks, Horse and Harness; Home and Hearth and displays about Cootamundra’s transport history, the RAAF and aviation. Entry is by gold coin donation.


This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Arts Centre

Thoughtfully restored by volunteers over the last 15 years, the old woolstore has been converted into a state-of-the-art facility for art and culture for the whole community to enjoy. The centre attracts artists in residence on a regular basis and offers workshops, performances and activities across many of the arts including music, theatre, sculpture, painting, pottery and stained glass.

Cootamundra Railway Station

Cootamundra Railway Station was first built, as a temporary structure, in 1877 comprising of a station building, goods shed and Station Master’s Residence, built to meet the rail line which had been extended from Harden. It was rebuilt in 1888 in a grand Victorian Italianate style and is still a working station today. It is considered an excellent and unusual example of a first-class station and demonstrates the importance attributed to this location during the late nineteenth century. Railway enthusiasts will also love the displays at the Cootamundra Heritage Centre as mentioned above.

Eating Out & Getting About

You are spoilt for choice in Cootamundra with plenty of tasty bakeries, cafes, coffee roasters, clubs, pubs and restaurants to choose from.

Cootamundra also has access to all the other necessities you may require with supermarkets, banks and chemists and there is a wide range of accommodation options from hotels, motels and inns to Cootamundra Caravan Park or Wallendbeen Park Farm.


This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

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Essential Packing List For Hiking in Australia

Essential Packing List For Hiking in Australia

This page about the essential packing list for hiking may contain compensated links. For more information read our disclaimer here

I have a confession to make….. I’m a lists person. Whether that’s my every day ‘to-do’ list that I take great pleasure in highlighting through in yellow marker, or the checklist I go through each time I write a post such as this essential packing list for hiking, so I don’t miss any important steps. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to write out a list that can be used each time we decide on a last minute ramble to satisfy one of Rob’s itchy photography trigger finger moments!

Our trip to West Head Lookout at Ku-ring-gai National Park is one such trip where we really should have been more prepared. It wasn’t until we starting to pull out the camera gear that Rob realised there was a crucial piece missing that connected his camera to the tripod and held it steady. I completely forgot to grab a hat and sunglasses (though luckily Rob had a spare pair of glasses in the car) and we really struggled to find somewhere to park and eat nearby which left us ravenous by the time we headed home.

Thankfully we were only on what is a local day trip for us so we coped just fine but, as we’ve decided to head out somewhere on a whim again this weekend (decision to be made today), I think it’s time I put this essential packing list for hiking together so we don’t forget anything on our next ramble. Most of these items can be kept ready in a backpack so you can just check all is in order the night before and then you just need to prep the other stuff ready to go in the morning.

Some of the items on the list may seem a bit excessive for a day away but in Australia, you can never be too complacent when it comes to rambling through National Parks or driving off the main roads; it can be all too easy to find yourself disorientated without phone reception or stranded if your car breaks down.

ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST FOR HIKING

Dress Appropriately (and be prepared for all kinds of weather)

Boots or Shoes:

It can often come down to personal preference whether to go with hiking boots or lighter hiking shoes but either way, comfort must come first. Don’t choose a long ramble if you’ve got brand new shoes on; you could be asking for blisters galore. A good pair of sports/running shoes would be adequate if the terrain you are planning to walk in is reasonably gentle.

Socks:

Great hiking socks are a blend of merino, polyester and stretch nylon. They remain breathable and comfortable no matter how much you sweat in them and the snug fit helps to protect your feet. Ordinary cotton socks are not advised as they hold onto moisture and can cause your feet to rub inside your shoes.

Shorts/Long Pants:

Durable, breathable and light fabrics work best. Jeans are not the best option because they make you sweat quickly and then they hold onto that moisture for far too long. If you do wear shorts, try and wear those that are fairly long and come to your knees to try and protect yourself from bushes. If you’re out on a ramble in winter, you may still want to bring some shorts with you – zip off hiking pants are a great invention! Personally, I love wearing activewear leggings any time of year.

Long Sleeved Shirt:

Choose a long-sleeved shirt with collar to give you good protection from the sun without the need to keep re-applying sunscreen or, if you really want something lighter, then opt for an active wear style t-shirt rather than a cotton one so that any sweat is wicked away from the body but remember to keep your skin protected with insect repellent and sunscreen.

Warmth Layer:

It could be a hot and sunny day when you head off on your ramble, but Australian weather can be a bit unpredictable and, if you get caught in an evening chill after walking all day, you can get surprisingly cold very quickly. For occasions like this, have a light thermal base layer packed into your backpack that you can quickly pull out and put on. Merino is our fabric of choice.

If you are going out in winter, it’s also wise to have a fleece, beanie and gloves hand or, if you are heading inland, you may even want something warmer than a fleece depending on how much you feel the cold.

Wet Weather Gear:

A light spray jacket is ideal both as a windbreaker (use as a thermal layer) and wet weather outings. It’s also wise to have a couple of disposable ponchos in your bag in case you’re caught out.

Hat & Sunglasses:

Always wear a hat when you are out in the Australian sun – preferably it has a wide enough brim to shade your entire face and even better if it shades the back of your neck too. A soccer/baseball style cap is not the best option but better than nothing and visors are really a no-no; the Australian sun will burn your scalp quickly, even in winter.

Sunglasses with polarised lenses are best but anything that protects your eyes from UV rays and glare off water is good to protect your eyes.

Emergency Items:

A basic, light weight medical grade first aid kit is pretty much essential. At the very least, make sure you have a compression bandage, triangle bandage and emergency blanket. Also pack in Panadol, antihistamines, antiseptic and any medication you need (enough for overnight in case you get stuck).

Not strictly emergency items but wise to bring is lip balm, baby or body wipes, insect repellent, sunscreen, moisturiser, headtorch, pocketknife, personal locator beacon, matches, map of the area and compass.

Other Gadgets & Gizmos:

We personally don’t go anywhere without a decent camera but, if you don’t have a photography mad person on your ramble, then a good smartphone is perfect for taking memories of your day (of course, you want to carry the phone for safety anyhow). If you’re bringing a camera with you, it’s also wise to bring extra SD cards and batteries (and USB charger for your phone for use in the car).

Food & Snacks:

You’ll need food for the day and also keep an emergency stash of energy bars, nuts and dried fruit just in case you find yourself inadvertently having to wait for a rescue or until morning light to carry on. Reusable ziplock bags are perfect for the job as they seal food really well and keeps it fresh for a really long time, and we also love the fact we can wash them and use them again and again.

Water:

Always have at least two litres of water with you. Ideally in a reusable BPA free silicone, stainless steel or aluminium bottle. To save room, you can now get foldable water bottles that are surprisingly leakproof and have the added advantage that they won’t get bent if dropped. It’s also a good idea to take some water purification tablets with you if you need to top up your water from a fresh creek or stream.

Backpack:

For a day ramble, a 20-25 litre capacity hiking daypack is perfectly adequate to carry everything that you need. We love the Australian owned Bigfoot Venture Waterproof Backpack as it keeps all our gear dry, is super lightweight and the straps can be adjusted so that you can turn it into a shoulder bag. It also comes with an extremely handy waterproof smartphone case in case of accidents with muddy puddles or a dunny disaster!

Rubbish Bag:

Don’t leave home or camp without it! Australia is a beautiful country, please don’t spoil it by leaving rubbish behind. Also take food scraps with you as our native animals can become very sick and malnourished from eating human food and encourages them to be less fearful of humans. This can lead to a dangerous situation for both you and them.

This seems like a lot of stuff to take with you on a simple day out but pack the items well and you’ll find you’ll have more than enough room in your backpack and it won’t be too heavy to carry throughout the day. The last thing you want to be is unprepared in case the day doesn’t go to plan.

If you know of any other items that should be included on this essential packing list for hiking, please let us know in the comments below.

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