Coolan­gatta and the gang

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - LIFE - Matt Seaniger

OH COOLAN­GATTA, how I have missed you. The funny part is I haven’t re­ally spent a huge amount of time in the area, but the times I have been there have been mem­o­rable.

From the time I reached my mid-teens, my par­ents would save up to take me and my brother for week-long hol­i­days each year.

On at least four oc­ca­sions th­ese were to the Coolan­gatta area.

The stand­out mem­ory of those hol­i­days is not an event or ac­tiv­ity, rather just en­joy­ing be­ing to­gether – whether swim­ming in the ocean, eat­ing at restau­rants and cafes, play­ing cards in our ho­tel or wan­der­ing through shops.

Things have now turned full cir­cle. I took my wife, Cather­ine, and daugh­ters Elsie and Mag­gie on a two-night getaway to the Green­mount Beach Ho­tel, be­tween Coolan­gatta and Rainbow Bay.

With­out ex­pect­ing it, I got a real sense of fa­mil­iar­ity as we en­joyed the time to­gether.

My daugh­ters are nowhere near their teens, they are aged three and one, but the feel­ing was the same.

We wan­dered around the re­gion, we swam in the pool and ocean, we did puzzles and soaked up the life­style that comes with stay­ing right next to the beach.

The getaway all started Fri­day evening, check­ing into the ho­tel at about 6.30pm. It was a mad dash into the fam­ily room to get our youngest, Mag­gie, fed and into bed.

Once she was set­tled, I took Elsie for a short walk to find din­ner. Within 500 me­tres we had op­tions of fish and chips, burg­ers, fine din­ing, In­dian, Thai and Chi­nese.

We set­tled for quick burg­ers and took them back to eat on our bal­cony over­look­ing Coolan­gatta beach.

Once Elsie was down to sleep, Cather­ine and I en­joyed a wine on the bal­cony be­fore call­ing it a night.

Some­what sur­pris­ingly with the four of us in one room, we all slept well.

Mag­gie was first to rise, just be­fore 6am, so I put her in the pram and took her for a walk, which was up there as the best idea I had all week­end.

We took off past Rainbow Bay and around the beau­ti­ful Rainbow Bay Surf Club, perched right on the shore.

Just past the club, it was stun­ning to watch the sun rise above one of the most leg­endary surf spots in the world, Snap­per Rocks.

I could have sat and watched for hours, but I had to get back to see the rest of the fam­ily for break­fast – a full buf­fet of hot and cold op­tions. This, of course, was a big hit with the kids.

Once we were fu­elled up, Cather­ine was sick of hear­ing me rave on about my morn­ing walk and wanted to see what I was talk­ing about. Along the way we stopped at a cou­ple of play­grounds. At Snap­per Rocks we splashed in the wa­ter, climbed on the rocks and watched the surfers show their moves.

From there we pushed up the head­land to Du­ran­bah to see the Cap­tain Cook Memo­rial – a tow­er­ing struc­ture on a spot with amaz­ing views. There was a short, steep in­cline to get there, but Elsie han­dled it no wor­ries, with the prom­ise of a treat from Café D-Bar.

Af­ter tak­ing in the view across Du­ran­bah, we grabbed fruit juices from the pop­u­lar cafe.

Af­ter such a busy morn­ing, we had to get back to the ho­tel so the girls (and par­ents) could have a nap.

The af­ter­noon was spent on Coolan­gatta beach and in the ho­tel pool, which had a slip­pery slide. I am pretty sure Elsie wouldn’t have braved the cold wa­ter if not for that slide.

All that play worked up an ap­petite, so we went across the road to the Green­mount Beach Club for a re­laxed, pub-style feed.

Once again, we got the girls back to the ho­tel to sleep and we had a wine or three and a game of cards on the bal­cony.

The next morn­ing, we feasted on the buf­fet break­fast be­fore hit­ting the Coolan­gatta Arts and Crafts Mar­kets.

We were sur­prised by the size and scope of the mar­ket, which had ev­ery­thing from fruit and veg­eta­bles to jew­ellery and cloth­ing.

I asked Elsie on the way home what her favourite part of the trip was. She said “get­ting to sleep in the same room as mummy and daddy.” I will take that as proof she had as good a time as I did all those years ago with my par­ents.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

A quick fam­ily getaway to Coolan­gatta pro­vides a trip down mem­ory lane.

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