Eden – popular regional cruise port
Eden, our nearest town, sits on the shores of Twofold Bay – believed to be the third deepest natural harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. Whether that is fact or not is beside the point. It’s deep – deep enough to cater for some mighty large cruise ships with no shallow bars to conquer as they motor into the bay to sit just off the breakwall and main wharf. And they are coming in increasing numbers and frequency, spilling over 90% (on average) of their 1,900+ passengers into our little town (population around 3,500) to explore its hidden gems and surrounding areas – and boosting the local economy in the process.

The growth of the cruise industry
The Port of Eden is one of only a few regional Australian ports that can readily cater for large cruise ships and as the recipient of significant government funding to extend the breakwater wharf, it will be in a prime position to increase cruise passenger patronage in future. The funding is to extend the hard stand area of the wharf and enable vessels up to 310m in length to come alongside to offload passengers – a real boon for this tiny coastal town. Even without this new infrastructure, because the bay is so deep, the tender ride to shore is less than 500m – far less than in many other ports.  Eden first welcomed a cruise ship around 15 years ago. Last season, there were eight ships, this year there are 14 coming. Next year even more.  In 10 years, the number of Australia’s cruise passengers has increased more than six-fold (from 158,415 in 2004 to 1,003,256 in 2014). So the local tourism bodies – Sapphire Coast Tourism and Cruise Eden are helping local industry to prepare for the onslaught.

Shore excursions – our tours are very popular!
The big bonus for our little business is that, through our contracts with shore excursion tour companies, we are taking our maximum number of paddlers (six) from almost every ship arriving into Eden – and we’re thrilled about it! We are proud to have met the strict criteria for safety, insurance and customer care that these agents demand (and so they should) and have had loads of fun picking up passengers from the port, driving out to our beautiful river, and giving them a chance to experience a wonderful nature experience. They seem keen to take in the space around them on the river, breathe in the fresh air and generally enjoy being able to stretch their legs (and arms!) a little.

International passengers
Of the 14 ships this year, eight are international cruise ships with passengers from North America, Europe and Asia aboard. It’s been fantastic being able to offer the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Australian river environment, local wildlife and birdlife and tell a few stories about the history of our area while our customers are cruising on a kayak. Some have even taken the time to post great reviews on our Trip Advisor page – thank you guys!

Book on board to avoid disappointment!
We’ve received many emails from passengers arriving on ships in February, March and April this year wanting to book a tour direct. If you are keen to join us, make sure you book through your ship now – we understand that you receive notice of tour options well before boarding so get online now so you don’t miss out. We’d love to greet you in port and take you touring with us.

Happy cruise group “oh what a feeling’!