Walamba House, Pearl beach – July 2014

The fireplace. It was all about the fireplace. Five adults, one baby, cold weather. It was always going to be about the fireplace.

For a quick weekend away, you can’ beat the central coast. We found our way back there again, this time in winter, to have a different beachside break. I love the idea of a winter escape in the countryside, but somehow i always manage to find myself back near the water. My fear of floral bed speeds sent me running from the hills (or more precisely the blue mountains) and not wanting to travel more than an hour out of Sydney we settled on Pearl Beach.

Photo from Stayz.com

Photo from Stayz.com

We stumbled upon Walamba House after a quick stayz search, and as we were travelling with a few mates it was a perfect size and price. The house is warm and inviting with a large open dining, kitchen and lounge area perfect for entertaining. The layout and decor was simple, modern and stylish – a holiday house i would happily call my own. The owners popped the heaters on before our arrival which i thought was the most kindest gesture ever. Once we got sorted, it was straight to the fireplace where city hipsters become experts in wood preparation, fire starting and maintenance. The log fire was burning all weekend long, anchoring the house and providing something more interesting to watch than the tv.

The three bedrooms were decent sized, with one specifically set up for kids which i filed away for future reference. Super dense, thick mattresses that envelope you like a giant hug as you settle in for the evening..:: that is once you have already fallen asleep on the comfy couch in front of the fire. Yes I could get used to this. The linen and decor were sweet and homely – not outdated and “leftover” like many holiday houses on the coast can be. However, we found out Pearl Beach is considered the Double Bay of the Central Coast so it was not surprising.

Given the cold weather we spent most of our time in front of the fire, however when we did venture outdoors we found a backyard which backs straight onto bushland with some furry friends. Apparently the local bush turkeys were very keen on the delicious BBQ we had the night before and were hoping for some leftovers. Leaving the house, the beach is only a short walk away, with a local grocer, coffee shop and restaurant along the water which would have been great if we had not brought half of the Meat Emporium’s contents with us from Sydney. Meat sweats is an understatement.

All in all, a perfect weekend away, making a mental note to return in the warmer months…

Walamba House
http://www.pearlbeachhouse.com/

Crowne Plaza Terrigal – April 2014

First trip away with the small person. It was always going to be a big deal, but what i was not ready for was her first 8 hour straight sleep the night before resulting in feeling like i had more energy than a million cans of red bull. I could have probably run all the way to Terrigal. So in other words, things were off to a good start.

The Central Coast is always a convenient Sydney weekend break, and the Anzac day long weekend was the perfect trial of first family getaway. The drive was easy, the hotel large and family friendly. Those last words still make me shudder, the boutique hotel lady inside me cringing at the thought that i will need to change my travel patterns and preferences. But fear not, it will only be for a short time and i will sure as hell find the most beautiful and luxurious family places if that’s what i have to do.

The Crowne Plaza is on the main street along the waterfront and is realistically the only big hotel in town. It was busy with families seeking the last of the summer sun, so the pool area was packed but manageable. The rooms come with king size beds and are spacious enough for the additional furniture now required in our room in the form of a travel cot. There were some issues setting it up, with a few different hotel staff needed to be called to figure it out (first time parents / first holiday = don’t look at us, we have no idea), but with perseverance we got there in the end. The hotel has had a refresh fairly recently so the rooms felt fresh and clean, even if the hotel corridors exposed what was previously hiding beneath.

In terms of dining, there are plenty of great options nearby, relieving us of having to ear at the hotel. In saying that, the beer garden was pumping being the Anzac Day long weekend, with cover bands ( cringe) and a fairly standard pub menu which would have suited us fine (except for the said covers bands that was just too much to bear). Local picks are Bellyfish cafe for breakfast, N Thai Sing (best name ever) for a quick thai lunch or dinner, and Rojo Rocket for the best mexican a short drive away.

Stay here if you like

– a quick drive from Sydney

– big hotel experience – i.e you have a family

http://www.crowneplazaterrigal.com.au/