Eden enjoys bumper season

It's thumbs up for Scott Proctor at Australia's Coastal Wilderness Adventures where he is being kept busy.
It's thumbs up for Scott Proctor at Australia's Coastal Wilderness Adventures where he is being kept busy.

Eden Chamber of Commerce president Jenny Robb says Eden is enjoying “a bumper season” with greater numbers of visitors than in previous years.

Ms Robb runs Kiah Wilderness Tours and said that she had hardly had a day off. 

“I’m exhausted but happy. The cafes are bursting, we have a lot of new operators and we’re seeing a lot more people from Sydney and we didn’t used to get them at all. What I am seeing is a lot of tired operators and cafe owners,” Ms Robb said.

Scott Proctor started Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Adventures at the end of 2014 and offers snorkelling, Ben Boyd National Park tours and ocean to plate experiences where visitors collect their own seafood and cook it.

“This summer has been really good with larger groups and more often, for all activities,” Mr Proctor said.

He said he had seen a 10-15 per cent increase in summer business, but that his off-season bookings, particularly spring “had really smashed this summer”.

“It’s good for the area and the visitors get to see a different side of the town,” Mr Proctor said in relation to his growing off-season business.

Volunteers have been busy at the Eden Information Centre too, where an average of 266 people have been walking in each day since Christmas, to look for information about the area.

“It’s been very busy and Eden has done really well this year. We’ve seen new people who haven’t been to the area before,” manager at the centre Deb Richardson said. 

Interestingly Ms Richardson said she was starting to see passengers from visiting cruise ships returning to take a holiday, something that had been talked of as a possible spin off from the cruise industry.

Industry coordinator and cruise manager for Sapphire Coast Tourism Natalie Godward said the season had been good with Eden enjoying a very high disembarkation rate of over 90 per cent.

“Over 90 per cent for a tender port is amazing,” Ms Godward said

Disembarking passengers tended to take nature tours, oyster sampling and tours of the towns and villages, Ms Godward said.

A total of 15 ships booked to visit Eden; eight have visited and there are another seven to arrive. Ms Godward said it was the biggest season to date, but will be surpassed next season when 18 ships have already booked in, with the potential for more.