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 Shallow¬† 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…..