Best family holiday ever? That’s a pretty big call, but ask my three kids aged 10, 8 and 6, and they will tell you that the weekend we recently spent in Coffs Harbour was ‘the best family holiday ever!’
We stayed at the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort, which was down to earth enough to be family friendly and fancy enough to feel like you were truly on holiday.
We went for a two-bedroom Spa room, which was very comfortable – fully self contained, so we could prepare our own meals if we wanted. It was very convenient having the adjoining room for the children, which meant that we could have our own peace and quiet. Our room overlooked the golf course, and from our balcony we could see the sea and the beautiful banana laden hills of Coffs.
You know what they say about food being a way to a man’s heart? Well, Charlie’s Restaurant’s slow roasted duck won over my husband, and the home styled kids’ menu won over mine. It was so nice to see nutritious meals served up for our kids under the guise of burgers and pizza. Generous portions and a delicious wine of the month recommended by the vivacious Don topped off our day. Charlie’s Restaurant at the resort also offers a take away styled menu that can be delivered to your room – the pizzas are great!
If you are looking for some adult quiet time, and I was, Tranquillity Beauty & Massage at the resort is just the place to find it. The spa uses the beautiful Thalago product range and offers an extensive range of services, from massage to facials, as well as some great package deals.
Fully relaxed, having had the stress of the working week pampered away, we hit the family activities; first off we headed to the Pet Porpoise Pool.
I highly recommend getting to the Pet Porpoise Pool at least half an hour before the show starts, so you can get your photo taken with the adorable dolphins and seals, then your pics will be ready to collect by the time you are ready to go. The Marine Magic Presentation was great, and what a privilege to see those beautiful creatures up close. The opportunity to touch the dolphins, feed penguins and laugh at the antics of the seals is not one you will quickly forget. For those of you who want a really hands on experience, the Pet Porpoise Pool offers a range of experiences that allow you to get in the water with the dolphins or seals. The café is a great place to grab some lunch before you head off to your next activity, and there is a little playground for the kids to play in close by while you have a coffee. Check out their website: www.dolphinmarinemagic.com.au for more details.
Next we headed off to the Big Banana. We have driven through Coffs Harbour many times on our way north and always stop to take a pic of the kids in front of the Big Banana, grab a chocolate covered frozen banana, make a pit stop and continue on our way. Well, our kids will never let us just drive by again!
Mandatory photo of the kids in front of the Banana completed, we made out way to the ice skating rink. This was the number one activity the kids wanted to have a go at. Thank goodness they have special frames to hold onto until you find your feet!
After lots of laughing, spills and slips, we all made it several times around the rink, inspired by the experts who make it look so effortless and keen to do it again.
The boys then ran off to play a round of laser tag, while us girls lazed in the sun. The Big Banana is currently home to Australia’s largest inflatable water slides, and plans are afoot for a more permanent water park at the complex. The kids have already requested we come back when the weather warms up. Next we made our way to the toboggans and had a great time whizzing down the hill. Trust me, once down the hill will not be enough, and the squeals of delight from my daughter were encouragement enough to apply less brakes and lean faster into the corners. The Big Banana really was a whole bunch of fun. To find out more about all the activities on offer, check out the website: www.bigbanana.com
The highlight for me, apart from having a great family getaway, was the Zip Circus located on the grounds of the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort. The Flying Trapeze class is not for the faint hearted, but highly recommended if you are up for the thrill. I have told my boss that if I don’t turn up to work, to look for me at the circus! Letting go of the side rope was the biggest psychological hurdle, and although it has been nearly 30 years since I hung upside down by my knees from the monkey bars, I managed it somewhat ungracefully from the flying trapeze! By the end of the class I was physically exhausted, but mentally uplifted.
Fears conquered, body pushed beyond it’s comfort zone, this is one activity I will definitely be doing again, and next time I will successfully complete a knee-hang catch! My 10-year-old son also had a go and is busily saving so that he can go to Circus Camp during the school holidays. Bookings for classes are essential, and more details can be found at the resort or on Zip Circus’s website at www.zipcircus.com.au
The one activity that my husband hasn’t stopped talking about was the Segway ride. Also located at the resort, this activity is one for the big kids at heart. My husband is currently working out whether we can downsize our car and get one each!
Riding a Segway is like nothing I have ever done; it gently moves as you shift your weight and once you very quickly get the hang of how to control it, moves very intuitively. After a quick lesson on the all terrain track, you are ready for the guided tour exploring the beautiful grounds that surround the resort. See the reception at the resort to book your Segway Experience; you will love it, and want one to take home with you!
Coffs Harbour has so much to offer families looking for a short break or getaway. Great beaches, cafés, activities for everyone, stunning accommodation, and it is right on our very own doorstep.