Eden’s tourism operators and accommodation providers have been rushed off their feet since the New South Wales Government reopened the border to Victoria at midnight on Monday (23 November) for the first time in four months.
Victorians flocked to the town on the South Coast of NSW – only 30 minutes from the border – looking for places to stay and activities to keep them entertained.
Eden Visitor Information Centre was busier than normal on Monday with most of the visitors from Victoria.
The volunteers were excited by the renewed interest in their town and said they weren’t too worried about the threat of COVID-19 given there had been no new cases recorded in either state.
The problem they faced, however, was finding places to direct visitors to, with many places booked out.
“The National Parks are fully booked until January, motels are fully booked and most of the caravan parks are booked until 24 December,” a volunteer at Eden Visitor Information Centre said. “And that’s linked to the border reopening.”
Garden of Eden caravan park manager Lyn Carlson said she only had a few spots left with Victorians staying the night on Monday before heading to Sydney to see relatives.
“People have been sitting at the border, waiting to see what will happen,” she said.
The caravan park is also fully booked in the week before Christmas and over Christmas with people coming back the other way and enjoying a holiday in Eden before visiting relatives in Melbourne.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders to have people back in the park and in town; it’s been so quiet since the fires because people didn’t want to come this far – at the end of the day, it’s as far south as you can go in NSW,” Lyn said.
Eden was surrounded by bushfires in December and Lynn said grey nomads weren’t travelling and they were used to hosting overseas visitors at this time of year.
She said most people in the town were excited to welcome Victorians, however, some were a little apprehensive about the pandemic.
“But I think it will be okay, we have no cases and there have been no new cases in NSW or Victoria, so we are just trying to reassure everyone,” she said.
As rain fell on Eden on Monday (23 November), indoor activities at the Eden Killer Whale Museum were proving popular with staff “extremely busy”, according to manager Graham Stubbs.
However, he said it was hard to know how many were from across the border as the museum had been busy for the past couple of months with visitors from Sydney and Canberra.
The museum has limited visitor numbers to 50 and group bookings to 30 during the pandemic. Staff have also been forced to close the theatre due to the pandemic, but have been sharing videos and images on the museum’s website and Facebook page, Graham said.
Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on The RiotACT.