Prior to getting the flu, I spent an very relaxing weekend away at Coffs Harbour.
As is often the case, it isn’t what you know, but who you know, and in this particular instance I was fortunate enough to know someone involved with a vacation-share network and had some unused holiday time/credits available. They weren’t going to be using it any time soon, so I scored some free accommodation at Coffs Harbour.
I had never been to Coffs Harbour and at that point in time, I wasn’t even exactly sure about where it was. I figured that it was probably just over the New South Wales border which would only make it a couple of hours away, but as it turns-out, it is actually 400Km’s away and about a 5 hour drive.
Since the accommodation was free, I wasn’t going to be perturbed by a short drive. Then Glen, our office four-wheel-drive enthusiast, informed me that it was a shame I didn’t have a 4×4 because Coffs’ has some excellent camping and off-road tracks. This wasn’t painting the best picture for the weekend given my lack of enthusiasm for outdoor activities. But I do enjoy a good beach and despite it being winter, I figured if worst-came-to-worst, I’d just spend my time relaxing with a good e-book on the sand listening to the relaxing sound of the waves and a bunch of new albums I’ve downloaded… until I checked the weather forecast and it was set to storm for the four days I’d be there.
But, a holiday is still a holiday, and I haven’t had one for a fairly long time, so I packed my external hard drive full of TV shows, movies and music, grabbed a few bottles of wine, my iPad, booked an afternoon pamper package at a day spa and jumped in the car to embark on the mammoth drive ahead.
Five hours later, I arrived in the rainy home of Australia’s largest banana. I don’t know what it is with Australia and its fascination with large fruit. According to Wikipedia’s list of Big Things in Australia, we have over 36 giant pieces of fruit scattered across the country. It also doesn’t stop with fruit. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but we (as in, the nation of Australia… not me personally) even have a Big Poo. But then again, that’s bound to happen after you’ve experienced all that giant fruit.
When I checked-in at the resort, the receptionist noticed I was making use of another person’s vacation-share package, and proceeded to trick me into signing-up for a free presentation where they would try and sell me a vacation share of my very own. I could see her lips moving, and I knew what I was agreeing to was bound to be a terrible idea, but once she said I could eat all of the bacon and all of the eggs I wanted during the breakfast presentation, everything else was a bit of a blur.
Despite the wet weather, I did manage to catch-up on the latest season of Game Of Thrones. Ate some very tasty food with the highlight being some pastry treats from an Artisan Bakery called K’Pane and a fantastic tuna steak on a bed of pork belly from Latitude 30.
Other food highlights (or I should say lowlights) include some of the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted and while at the Sunday markets, I was passing a Mexican nacho/taco van and heard a guy ask – “What’s in the taco mince?” (probably checking to see if there were beans or onion or something you would likely expect to find in such a dish). To which the lady replied “It’s a lovely bolognese mix”. I then noticed the same place was also selling (or more accurately, burning the shit out of) poffertjes – Dutch pancakes. Now I’d be fine if they labelled themselves a multicultural melting pot of mis-matched cuisines. But to somehow try and lump all this under the label of Mexican is a bit much to simply pass-by without comment.
A few steps past the confused Mexican/Italian/Dutch nacho stand, I came to a lady selling decorative soap. The soap was quite pretty and shaped like cupcakes, but you didn’t need Spidey-Sense to know that it wasn’t edible. Perhaps I just look like the type of slightly overweight, unhealthy guy that could eat the hind legs off a Amphicoelias. Perhaps it was because I was still sporting a rather confused facial expression due to my brain still trying to rationalize the Mexican/Italian/Dutch debacle while I sipped at a steamy cup of something that tasted like it was brewed directly from the remains of The Big Poo, so soap was starting to look pretty appetising. But fortunately, the cupcake soap lady was kind enough to make it adamantly clear that “you can’t eat these – they’re just soap”. Thanks for that, I NEVER would have guessed otherwise.
Fortunately the market experience improved considerably when I went across the road and got to check-out a bunch of very cool old cars and some 1950’s rockabilly stalls at the WinterSun Festival that was also happening that weekend.
I also had a fantastic spa, massage and facial. All gay jokes aside, I genuinely believe that everyone should take the time to get a facial at least once in your life. A while back I also was coaxed into getting a pedicure and to my surprise, that too was also awesome. So if you haven’t experienced a bit of pampering, there is nothing more soothing and relaxing, so make sure you add that to your bucket list!
The package was also going to include a mud wrap, but after completing the questionnaire about where I was feeling tense, the spa staff suggested we swap the mud for an extra long massage. This turned-out to be a good choice because not only was the massage phenomenal, but the standard garment of clothing worn during a mud wrap seems to be a disposable paper g-string. Now, since I’m rather new to all this beauty treatment stuff, I’m not going to rock-the-boat and refuse to wear the suggested apparel for such a treatment, but this garment was clearly not designed for guys. It’s as if MacGyver and Lady GaGa were teamed-up on Project Runway with the challenge of creating an outfit from a piece of dental floss and a tissue. Fortunately, the mud wrap didn’t happen, so my one-eyed wonder worm didn’t have to worry about wearing an eye patch and I probably saved a beauty therapist a lot of money that she otherwise would have had to spend on therapy.
So overall, it was a great holiday despite the rain and I just wish I didn’t get sick the day after I returned, but such is life. I’m all good again now too (other than an annoying dry cough that I can’t seem to shake).