For those reading along at home, this is the follow on from Christmas plus one essay I published recently.

After leaving Roscoe and Jean’s I continued my drive up the coast, but given that I had no specific time or schedule to be anywhere I decided to take my time and explore Sapphire Beach.

Just the name brings to mind gorgeous images doesn’t it?

Sapphire Beach is just outside Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales north coast.

I booked into the Sensom resort. Clearly this whole trip has been about me spoiling myself. Lol! 😉

The Sensom Luxury Retreat is a beautifully appointed property with distinct Balinese influences. The large hillside property is adjacent to a banana plantation, and comes with a large dam and Koi pond plus gorgeous pool and gardens.

Andrew and Lee were my gracious hosts, and fortunately for me I was the only guest staying at their resort that night. I totally lucked out! 🙂

After chatting for a while I enquired about places to eat, and they pointed me to a number of local restaurants. I decided to have Mexican and so ventured the 10km up the Pacific Coast highway to Emerald Beach to eat at the La Hacienda 101.

This unassuming little cantina was absolutely delicious! I was hungry and enquired if I could order from the kids menu for my appetizer, and of course they were accomodating. Try the mini Burrito to start…so flavourful!

I then ordered the Enchilada Salsa Verde for my main meal. OMG! It was sooooo good, but I literally rolled out of the place afterwards.

During my stay I also visited Sealy Lookout with it’s incredible panoramic view of Coffs Harbour, including Sapphire and Emerald Beaches.

As per most mornings on the coast I was awakened by the sounds of birds outside my window and in the nearby trees. Words will never quite translate how beautiful it is to be woken this way.

After a fitful sleep I breakfasted on the deck overlooking the large gardens and dam, it was the perfect temperature!

Before departing I enquired about other things to see and do while I was in the vicinity. Andrew and Lee encouraged me to drop by Emerald Beach and hike along the “Look at me Now” headland.

The huge bonus was that I was literally the only person hiking along the headland, and in the distance were a mob of Kangaroos (yes, that’s what they’re called!)

As I got closer, they didn’t seem to be too perturbed at my presence. I was expecting that they would bolt anytime, but to my surprise I got within 10 metres and they weren’t bothered one bit. They just lazed and munched…totally ignoring me 🙂

After my cool encounter with the roos I continued my journey up the coast.

As you may or may not know bush fires are common in Australia, but with the extremely dry winters they’ve had in recent years the countryside and bush is tinder dry especially along the NSW coast.

As I drove the aftermath of the bush fires was evident.

The Pacific Coast highway had been cut in many places. Crews were still busy extinguishing any lingering hot spots and clearing trees that were overhanging the road.

The heat had been so intense that in one location they had gauged the heat at over 600 celsius (1112 F) when the fire ball had crossed the highway, it was so hot that it melted the highway signs…

Everyone in Australia is more than aware of the dangers of bush fires, and as such monitor this site (see the link above) on a daily basis during the summer months. The authorities provide regular updates with warnings regarding imminent fire threats.

In addition, all Australian households are strongly encouraged to have a Fire escape plan that can be put into place within minutes given these persistent dangers.

It’s an unfortunate reality with living on the driest continent on earth. Australians have learned the hard way, and over the years many communities have been devastated by bush fires. Including my own town during the 1944 Bush fires when a large portion of the town, including the hospital were incinerated.

Almost 1000 lives have been lost over the years, hence the vigilance!

Two weeks prior to me leaving for my trip a guy who I worked with said that I should be careful driving the Pacific Coast highway given the number of bush fires. At which I brushed it off and said they’d be long gone by the time I got there…famous last words!

However, in actuality they were still raging and I had to be checking in regularly during my drive to ensure I wasn’t driving into any imminent danger.

Much worse was still to come and Little did I know at the time that the fires that I had experienced with a mere drop in the bucket to the tragedy that has continued to unfold since I left Australia in mid December. 🙁

I stopped as often as I could during my drive to hike and walk along the coastline and deserted beaches. Just breathing in the aromatic air and absorbing the beautiful vistas and images was a balm to my soul and just what I needed to recharge.

Nothing like a beach to walk along to get you into a totally relaxed state of mind. Australia has some 50,000 kilometres of coastline with over 10,000 beaches…with the vast majority of them completed deserted. Nice!

It’s definitely time to be planning your getaway to Australia. Let me know if you need any advice or help planning, I’d be happy to help! 🙂

So until next week – have a fabulous week.