“Are we there yet?” calls a little voice from the back of the car for the 90th time in as many minutes. As we pull into the driveway of the palatial Crowne Plaza Terrigal, our gorgeous digs for the Mother’s Day weekend, I’m pleased to confirm that indeed we are.
My tiny travellers love a hotel stay and our spacious guest room, with its views over the hotel’s gorgeous pool and tree-lined Terrigal beach, quickly gets their nod of approval.
They’re particularly enamoured by the enormous bowl of fruit that’s been left as a welcome gift and dive face first into it before I can even say “dinner!”
After physically detaching them from the fruit bowl and performing the all important – at least to a four and seven-year old – selection of beds ritual and lolling on very piece of furniture possible at least once, we’ve just enough time to enjoy a less fruity, but entirely delicious, dinner at the hotel’s Seasalt Restaurant before it’s time for my tiny tired travellers to hit the hay, and me the bottle, on the balcony with Mr Eats World.
Morning sees me managing to sneak a little treadmill action at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal’s fitness centre, because I love to torture myself before breakfast. And by love I actually mean loathe but given it’s still too dark for a run, sadly necessary. I even manage to squeeze in a cuppa on the way back to our room before the rest of my slothful family wake up demanding to be let loose on the hotel’s breakfast buffet.
Watching Raffles, my wee walking stomach, unleashed on a buffet is something one can’t help but watch with wide-eyed wonder… and not a little bit frightening. By the time the marathon noshfest concludes it’s almost 10 am, which is plenty late enough to start drinking, right?
Happily, it is at Fires Creek Winery, just a 10 minute drive away.
This pretty piece of paradise is so ablaze with bright red leaves that I have to assume they are the reason for the fiery autonym. This award-winning local fruit winery produces seasonal selections of unique fruit, flower and herb wine. I have to admit that I’ve assumed the fruit wine will be sickly sweet but in fact the grape-free raspberry, nectarine and lime wines are so crisp and delicious that just a few sips in, I’m ordering it by the case. Though that may just be because I’m a drunkard… but I digress.
A few hundred metres up the road from the winery we spy the Bamboo Buddha Vegetarian Café and Garden Centre which proves to be a perfectly lovely place to shove cake in our faces in a zen like atmosphere before our return to Terrigal and the Crowne Plaza.
Lunch is a feast of juicy burgers at the hotel’s Florida Beach Bar where a soundtrack of live music inspires a full-blown dance off.
When they’re not shaking their groove thangs, they’re arguing with us about the logic of hitting the hotel’s gorgeous swimming pool (though it is heated, it’s a little cold outside today). But its glistening blue beauty has the kids convinced a dip is the path to happiness.
Cozzies donned, they spend approximately 30 seconds outside, barely wetting their toes before they change their frost-bitten minds.
While by this stage I’m tempted to book myself in for a massage at the hotel’s Endota Spa, this weekend is all about family time so instead we spend the rest of the day high-kicking our way along the 4km stretch of golden beach opposite the hotel, one of our favourites amongst the many fantastic beaches on the Central Coast.
Its a perfect afternoon of exploring, digging and generally behaving like loons.
We stop by the Florida Beach Bar for mama to grab a sneaky G&T before dinner and soak up the scene as the sun goes down on pretty Terrigal Beach.
I’m woken early the following morning, my beautiful babies eager to spoil me with lashings of mothers day love. Sugarpuff even presents me with breakfast in bed, in the form of a left over banana from the fruit bowl. It is perfect.
After cuddles and kisses and the polite consumption of said banana, it’s time for a proper breakfast, where Raffles once again consumes his body-weight in bacon, and Sugarpuff her height in pancakes at the buffet.
Afterwards I decide it wouldn’t hurt for us to walk off a few of the morning’s excess calories so we head up the pretty Norfolk Pine lined boulevard and along the coastline.
When we reach the headland known as ‘The Skillion’ the steep walk to the top inspires much whining from the small folk but the amazing views are worth it. Raffles, ever the chancer, decides however against the walk back down and instead rolls his way to the bottom, while her ladyship the Princess Sugarpuff simply demands to be carried. Looks like it’s only me that will be burning off any brekky this time.
Once we catch up with a dusty and grass covered Raffles at the bottom, they’re both elated to discover rocks to clamber over and rock pools to explore.
A little over all the physical exertion, I decide its time to put Ninja Terry-Lulu (our beloved Ford Territory Titanium) to work.
One of our favourite Central Coast experiences would have to be the Avoca Beachside Markets.
With its quirky, creative bohemian vibe, the monthly markets are the most charming I’ve stumbled across in years.
Sugarpuff is drawn to the ‘enchanted craft circle’ while Raffles and his dad head off on a pedal-boat ride with Aquafun at Avoca Beach, which I’m assured “is totally epic”. Personally, I’m finding lolling on a pile of cushions under the shade of a tree with a chai latte pretty damned epic.
Our weekend is coming to an end but thanks to the lovely folk at Crowne Plaza Terrigal we’ve still got a family pass to the Central Coast’s wonderful Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary to take advantage of.
It’s a festival of animal love for Raffles and Sugarpuff as they get to fondle a variety of lovely lizards and snakes before we’ve even managed to get out of the ticket entrance!
Our first stop is to visit the giant hunka hunka burning love that is Elvis, the crankiest crocodile in Australia. Watching the ravenous reptile demolish his lunch is eerily similar to watching Raffles attack a buffet. Though while Raffles can be a noisy eater at times, the sound of Elvis’ immensely powerful jaws crashing together over a deceased chook is startling enough to convince us never to step on his blue suede shoes.
The Australian Reptile Park is the perfect spot for younger kids… small enough not to be exhausting and big enough to be exciting, and best of all there are loads of opportunities to meet and greet the animals.
Freaks that they are, Raffles is particularly taken with a giant hairy bird-eating spider and Sugarpuff a “really cute” death adder, both of whom I’m happy to say stay safely behind inches of glass. I’m a little more enamoured with the lumbering and lovely Hugo, a Galapagos Tortoise who we enjoy an extremely slow stroll with.
We cuddle a koala or two and feed a posse of kangaroos.
Raffles even manages to steal a kiss from a tawny frogmouth before my devilish duo hit the park’s awesome playground and we all hit the road in Ninja Terry-Lulu, relaxed and recharged from our weekend of family fun, Central Coast style.
The Eats World family were guests of the Crowne Plaza Terrigal.