Coffs Harbour 2015 and a birthday I will never forget

This year saw me travelling to Coffs Harbour during May – this trip coincided with my 30th birthday and what a birthday it was! Here is a day-by-day review for this trip:

Day 1: Monday May 4 – Travelling Day: Left Dubbo at 0630 (on Qantaslink flight QF2037 – Bombardier Q300, seat 2C) arriving in Sydney at 0745. 3 and a half hour transiting time at Sydney Airport then boarded Qantaslink flight QF2108 (Bombardier Q400, seat 19D) at 1100 for the onward flight to Coffs Harbour. Arrived in Coffs Harbour a little before 1300. Found my shuttle bus and headed for my accommodation. Arrived and checked in – then off to Park Beach Plaza to do some shopping for some important supplies – rest of the day free to relax and refresh before the next day’s happenings.

Day 2: Tuesday May 5 – Dolphin Marine Magic: Day one of several days at Dolphin Marine Magic. This day used my free pass which I received with my animal adoption package.

Bucky and Zippy - Dolphin Marine Magic
Bucky and Zippy – Dolphin Marine Magic

Day 3: Wednesday May 6 – Relaxation Day: Was very fortunate to be able to meet up with a friend of mine and his amazing canine companion (and a selection of their friends) for a coffee date (not once but twice – second one coming up a little further down the post). Tex and Bundy live up in the Coffs Harbour area and Tex invited me to a weekly coffee date and chat. Spent the most amazing 3 hours with them…..

Tex & Bundy Charity Fundraisers - Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour
Tex & Bundy Charity Fundraisers – Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour

Day 4: Thursday May 7 – Dolphin Marine Magic and my birthday: Woke up this morning with excitement…. today was the day of my previously booked and paid for (A$195) dolphin experience at Dolphin Marine Magic. Headed up to Urban Espresso Lounge for breakfast as I needed to pick up a wetsuit from Jetty Dive which is just nearby. I picked up my wetsuit and headed back down to Dolphin Marine Magic. Arrived there to hand in my paperwork (which I had filled out for my ShallowΒ  Dolphin Experience), only to be told there was some amazing news at the bookings counter. I walked over to the bookings counter and handed my paperwork to the lady there – she then issued my wristbands for my in-water encounter. I looked at the wristband on my left wrist – it was orange instead of purple/pink (the colour of the Shallow Experience wristband) – it was only then I was told that my Shallow Dolphin Experience had been upgraded to the top-level Ultimate Dolphin Swim (valued at A$370). It took me a moment to take in what I had just been told – I got to get photos of all my land and water based interactions taken all morning and videos of my amazing in-water animal interactions. I also got to meet the CEO of Dolphin Marine Magic, Paige Sinclair – it was only then I found out which of the dolphins we were going to interact with…. and wasn’t I in for a surprise! During our pre-encounter brief, we were told we were going to interact with Calamity – Paige gave me a hint that it wasn’t Calamity…. I looked out to the pool and saw it was Bella, not Calamity. Only after I had looked, the Marine Mammal Specialist who took us through the brief realised it was indeed Bella. Then it was time to get into the water – I was a little apprehensive as I had never done this experience before but once in the water, I was fine. I had the most memorable and magic day with the animals – a birthday so special I will never forget it!

Seal Hugs - myself and Rocky
Seal Hugs – myself and Rocky
Seal Kisses - Me and Rocky
Seal Kisses – Me and Rocky
Double Dolphin Hug with Bucky and Zippy
Double Dolphin Hug with Bucky and Zippy
Dolphin Kiss - me and Bucky
Dolphin Kiss – me and Bucky
Feeding Zippy during the Marine Magic Presentation
Feeding Zippy during the Marine Magic Presentation
Hand push with Bella
Hand push with Bella
Water fight with Bella
Water fight with Bella
Me and Bella - hugging
Me and Bella – hugging

Day 5: Friday May 8 – Dolphin Marine Magic: Second day in a row – got a annual pass as part of my present the day prior so I got to use that instead of paying for each day’s admission. I had so much fun photographing the animals I never got to photograph on my birthday

My gorgeous friend, Bella
My gorgeous friend, Bella
CHART is a dedicated animal rescue service being co-ordinated by Dolphin Marine Magic in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local vets. Their aim is to build a dedicated animal triage hospital on the grounds of Dolphin Marine Magic
CHART is a dedicated animal rescue service being co-ordinated by Dolphin Marine Magic in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local vets. Their aim is to build a dedicated animal triage hospital on the grounds of Dolphin Marine Magic
A special bond between trainer and animals
A special bond between trainer and animals

Day 6: Saturday May 9 – Relaxation day: Took a day off to head over to the central business district and look around then a day of washing.

Day 7: Sunday May 10 – Harbourside Markets, A1 Coffs Coast Tours and Dolphin Marine Magic: Had a day to head over to the Harbourside Markets and have a look. While I was there, I decided to do a 30 minute escorted Harley ride with David “Laarz” Laarhoven and the team from A1 Coffs Coast Tours. After that, I decided to do another quick visit to Dolphin Marine Magic on the way back to my accommodation.

First time sitting on a Harley - and this beaut FLHX Street Glide took me on my 30 minute tour
First time sitting on a Harley – and this beaut FLHX Street Glide took me on my 30 minute tour
Another trainer/dolphin oment
Another trainer/animal moment

Day 8: Monday May 11 – Dolphin Marine Magic: I love this place so bad I could not stay away! This day was another photo day – to get more photos I missed from previous days….

Embarrassed seal....
Embarrassed seal….
Showing husbandry procedures
Showing husbandry procedures
Simply gorgeous
Simply gorgeous

Day 9: Tuesday May 12 – tour of the Coffs Harbour region: Today saw me touring around the Coffs Harbour region with a few of my fellow accommodation guests. Really enjoyed this as you don’t get to do these at all.

Our little tour group outside the Big Banana
Our little tour group outside the Big Banana
Looking down from Sealy Lookout in the Bruxner Flora Reserve
Looking down from Sealy Lookout in the Bruxner Flora Reserve
Park Beach from Sealy Lookout
Park Beach from Sealy Lookout
Kangaroo on the Moonee Beach Headland
Kangaroo on the Moonee Beach Headland

Day 10: Wednesday May 13 – Second coffee date (twice over): Coffee date time again…. both at my mate’s main haunt in Coffs Harbour and a quaint little cafe up in Nana Glen called the Idle In Cafe. Tex took me up on his amazing Moto Guzzi Stelvio motorbike

Day 11: Thursday May 14 – Last day and Dolphin Marine Magic: Sadly, this was my last day in Coffs Harbour. I decided to check out of my accommodation and head down to Dolphin Marine Magic for one last look…. got to get a couple more photos for all times sake!

Alert Seal - the trainers were doing a training exercise prior to the Marine Discovery Presentation
Alert Seal – the trainers were doing a training exercise prior to the Marine Discovery Presentation
Marine Discovery Presentation - Dolphin Feed
Marine Discovery Presentation – Dolphin Feed

Overall, the 11 days I spent in Coffs Harbour were amazing…. would I do it all over again? Yes I would – but I would try to stay for a fortnight to be able to do all the things I want to do because I still missed out on things…..

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30 thoughts on “Coffs Harbour 2015 and a birthday I will never forget

  1. Pascale LeBrasseur August 16, 2015 / 12:52 am

    What a beautiful birthday trip! Dolphin Marine Magic looks like a wonderful place. Emily doesn’t want to go in the water with the dolphins yet. I’m hoping one day that we will be doing this together. Thank you for sharing.

    • Joe Hupp August 16, 2015 / 1:25 am

      Dolphin Marine Magic also have a land-based experience for those who don’t want to enter the water – I’ve only done water-based experiences….

  2. Michael August 23, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    That seal is adorable!

    • Joe Hupp August 24, 2015 / 11:46 pm

      Thanks, Michael – they don’t usually allow guests to touch the animals during the kiss encounters but, with it being my birthday, I was allowed to

      • Michael August 24, 2015 / 11:46 pm

        Cool Deal!

  3. Janice Wald August 30, 2015 / 9:38 am

    Hi Joe,
    I know Michael and Danny Ray. I met you on his site. This must have taken you a long time to upload all these photos. We also went swimming with the dolphins I don’t think I’ve ever met an otter though =).
    Thank you for liking my comment on Danny’s Leave a Link post. Nice to meet you.
    Janice

    • Joe Hupp August 30, 2015 / 11:16 am

      Hi Janice – I posted as I went! Made it easy knowing which ones I wanted….. I had a ball doing this. Makes for some seriously awesome memories – I had to pinch myself.

      I was a little apprehensive though as this was my first deeper water experience – once in the water, I was fine!

  4. Janice Wald September 4, 2015 / 12:41 am

    Hi Joe,
    I’m back to thank you so much for following my blog. Can I please have your Pinterest Email to invite you to pin to our group Pinterest board as my way of saying thank you?
    Janice

    • Joe Hupp September 4, 2015 / 10:56 pm

      Have sent you an email – looking forward to hearing from you

  5. Lynz Real Cooking September 7, 2015 / 6:46 pm

    What a nice birthday experience! thanks for sharing! Amazing!

    • Joe Hupp September 23, 2015 / 11:44 am

      Thank you for taking the time to read this – I won’t forget this birthday for as long as I live….

  6. mineall6 September 22, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    What a nice 30th birthday! The trip looks like it was fun and definitely looks like you had fun with the dolphins! πŸ™‚ Happy belated birthday.

    • Joe Hupp September 27, 2015 / 9:20 am

      It was – and I sure did! I still can’t believe how spoilt I was….

      • mineall6 September 29, 2015 / 1:21 pm

        Hey! Getting spoiled isn’t a bad thing. Especially on your birthday. πŸ™‚

  7. Lucy Camp October 19, 2015 / 6:42 am

    What a super way to spend your birthday celebrations

    • Joe Hupp October 19, 2015 / 8:32 am

      I thought so too! It was totally unexpected….. felt like a rock star that day

  8. Kellie October 21, 2015 / 2:45 am

    What an amazing trip and birthday! wow. Thanks for sharing

    • Joe Hupp October 21, 2015 / 9:51 am

      Hi Kellie – thanks for dropping by! As I have previously mentioned, what I got for my birthday was totally unexpected… I booked another in-water interaction but hinted that it was my birthday the day I booked it. I think word filtered back to the CEO of the park and heads got together and planned something that I wasn’t to know about until the big day arrived

  9. honestme363 November 21, 2015 / 6:00 pm

    It looks like so much fun!! So doing that next week when we go to Mexico!! Happy belated birthday!!

    • Joe Hupp November 21, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      You will love it! Dolphins are such gentle creatures – the dolphin you see me in the water with in the photos above is a special little lady who I had interacted with before…. thanks for the belated birthday wishes!

  10. gentlekindness November 30, 2015 / 9:13 pm

    Such wonderful, intelligent, social animals. This must have been a magical experience for you. β€πŸ’™πŸ’•

    • Joe Hupp December 5, 2015 / 10:25 am

      It sure was – topped off a great day!

  11. jacquelineobyikocha February 22, 2016 / 11:50 am

    Fabulous photos and without doubts you had a good time. I would do it myself at half a chance πŸ™‚

    • Joe Hupp February 23, 2016 / 10:37 am

      This wasn’t actually the experience I booked – I was given this as I am a very big supporter of the park I do my in-water experiences at

  12. roweeee April 20, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    What a fabulous experience. It’s also great to meet up with another Aussie through my blog. Most of my readers are American. We drive from Sydney at least as far North as Byron Bay but quite often to Brisbane at least once a year and we usually at least have a meal break in Coffs and have stopped over a few times. Its a great spot. Thought you might be interested in seeing our holiday there a few years back: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/postcard-from-coffs-harbour/
    xx Rowena

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