Nothing like a weekend away to give you a break from the day-to-day grind – am I right?

Last weekend I surprised Judy with a secret mini vacation.

Personally, I love surprises and so decided on the spur of the moment to give her a weekend away and pamper her.

She’s been on the go a lot with her work recently, plus she’s about to move to a full-time role with her company.

So, the weekend away was part, congratulations on her pending new role but also to recognize all the great stuff she’s done since arriving in Australia a little over a year ago.

Wow!  Where has the time gone?

As you know I love to arrange travel experiences, and this was so much fun to arrange.

Totally last minute, deciding on Friday night to book something for Saturday and Sunday.

I knew it had to have an element of luxury and pampering involved, mixed with beauty and an opportunity for total relaxation.

Fortunately I have some tried and true methods for finding just the right spot, and literally with 30 minutes I’d identified a resort for our weekend away, as well as spa treatments and special chef’s tasting menu.

Not too shabby!

I’d planned for us to stay at the Crystalbrook resort in Byron Bay, which fortunately is only a 3 hour drive from home.

The only thing I told Judy was that we were going on a surprise weekend away and she had to pack a bag with bathing suit, a nice outfit for dinner and something comfortable to lounge around in.

She had an early hair appointment but with that out of the way we were able to leave home at 10:00 am on Saturday morning.

As we drove toward Brisbane, she had automatically assumed that we were headed to the city for the weekend.  But then when I headed south on the M1 she then guessed our weekend away was on the Gold Coast…

Not so fast!

But when I glided by all of the exits for the Gold Coast, she was more than intrigued.

Her next shock was as we crossed the border into New South Wales.

Finally, I turned off toward Byron Bay, and although she didn’t know much about the town she immediately liked the vibe as we drove through and toward our accommodation.

The Crystalbrook resort is nestled between Broken Head Road and the ocean.

In fact, it sits squarely within a rainforest which is one of its best features.

When we arrived, the room wasn’t ready, so we had a light lunch in the restaurant overlooking the pool and rainforest.

I had booked two treatments, but alas they weren’t able to accommodate both treatments at the last minute so my massage would have to wait until another time.

No worries – my plan was to take a medi-nap by the pool while Judy was pampered with her hour long facial.

After lounging by the pool for a couple of hours and swimming in the delightfully crisp pool, we wandered back to get ready for our special dinner.

If you’re planning a weekend away, then it must be full of little surprises.

Dinner was no exception as all the food is organic and/or locally sourced.  I’d booked the Taste of the Forest menu which is a five-course meal and primarily seafood based.

To top it off we ordered a bottle of Troncone Toscana Rosso (with my favourite Sangiovese grape) which was a fabulous addition to the dinner.

As you can imagine we had a fabulous time.

To make it back to our room we had to walk through the rainforest on a raised walkway.  Admittedly it was dark and with lots of sounds emanating from the bush made Judy just a tad nervous.

Sunday morning was another beautiful day with nothing but blue skies and bright sunshine to greet us.

For a change of pace, we decided to check out the cafes in town for brekkie.

For a relatively small town there are a myriad of great little places to eat.  We chose the Dip (Dining in Paris) cafe both because it had great ratings, but because of the croissants and treats they had on display.

As expected, it was divine!

Fortunately for us the Sunday Farmer’s Market was just getting going so we spent the better part of an hour strolling the hundreds of stalls.

Byron has an eclectic local population, both handy and crafty.

Of course, you can’t visit a market without picking up a little something.  We had been looking to redecorate our Alfresco area by the pool with some casual seating.

We purchased two well designed cedar chairs.  Not your traditional Algonquin / Adirondack style chairs, but funky and cool.

Accomplishing a lot before 9:00 am we headed back to the hotel to pack our overnight bags and returned to the pool for a couple more hours before making the three-hour trek home.

I know Judy had appreciated our little weekend away as it was just the tonic to recharge our batteries.

Until next week