It’s amazing that you can travel through eight countries, seeing unbelievable culturally and historically significant landmarks hundreds of kilometres apart, in just five weeks. Yet you can also go close to a year and a half without even leaving your pretty small home state.
Ever since Aidan was born we’ve generally stayed put, not even punching past the Victorian-NSW border (about four hours away from Melbourne) let alone Melbourne’s sprawl. That was two years ago. The only time we’ve escaped was to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland when Aidan was six months old. Since then, nothing. No weekend sprint to Hobart, no all nighter to Sydney to see friends, not even a day in Albury-Wodonga.
So I really was looking forward to a week in Eden, on the NSW Coast. I’ve been there twice before. The first time it rained for the first week and I had the golf course to myself, as the first hole was underwater and nobody else seemed to want to play 17 holes of golf. The second time was during college around 1993 when a whole bunch of us stayed in a campsite with friendly wildlife. I remember a brown snake made its way casually through the campsite, a monitor sunbaked on the beach and I almost cliff jumped on top of a sting ray. Oh, and one of the guys got kissed on the lip by a jellyfish.
This time we stayed at a Big 4 camping ground in a cabin. Aidan has been sleeping through, so we thought the chances of him managing twelve hours sleep were pretty good, even if he had to share the room with Rosa.
Eden was as pretty as I remember, although it seemed smaller. I always thought the surf beach was huge, and I guess the sand does stretch into the horizon, but there was never more than a dozen people on the beach. Locals said the holiday season was slow, mainly due to some abysmally bad summer weather. It certainly never reached heatwave levels over the week, but it wasn’t cold.
Highlights included watching Rosa get dunked twice in the surf, which sent her back to Mum in tears, but she stayed the distance. It was the first time she’d tried serious body boarding and she did very well.
There was snorkelling in the river close to the caravan park, trips to Pambula and Merimbula (we visited an animal farm three times for Aidan’s sake), long afternoons in the park pool and a not half bad Killer Whale museum in Eden. Rosa and I met and visited an older couple we got talking to who had a holiday home that had been in the family since 1890, and that was cool.
Family holidays are always fraught with arguments about TV (luckily we brought the media box), hikes that are too long for some but just a jaunt for others, complaints that all other kids have scooters and we don’t, not enough time to read more than a couple of pages but enough hours to babysit for half the day, that sort of thing.
The days of the solo back packer are gone, replaced with nine hours straight of listening to ABBA Gold in the car as the a/c packs up on a 40 degree day on the way home, but at the moment I’m just glad to have been able to leave Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
It’s a great stretch of coastline, full of Victorian fishermen and awesome fish n chip shops and more national parks than pop up caravans. You could spend a good couple of months here, even if half of it would be spent on the balloon trampoline in the caravan park. The kids loved it, and it’s pretty good to sit back on the verandah knowing the kids had a holiday they’d back on with fondness.