Northern NSW first responder families had an incredible experience on a beach weekend escape to Byron Bay! There were so many highlights of the trip, one of which was celebrity sightings! But there was so much more, with yoga and surfing lessons, swimming and walking on the beach, a tour of the lighthouse, lunch at a local organic farm, plus a chance to support the local community by taking part in a ‘clean up the beach’ activity. This wellbeing activity was an amazing opportunity to help our first responder families embrace all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.
First responder couples came to the Sunseeker at Byron Bay on Friday afternoon, greeted with a cheese platter in their room and a voucher for breakfast and a coffee, generously donated by the Byron Bay Grocer. After they relaxed for a while and settled into their very luxurious rooms, they met up for a bus tour up to the lighthouse and walk down to Wategos Beach on sunset.
“It was such a great time to mentally and emotionally relax. Really loved all the weekend. Especially the cheese platter on arrival! I was able to relax instantly. Thank you so much!”
The view from the lighthouse is second to none, but was topped by watching an amazing sunset at Wategos Beach…some participants were tempted for a swim. One even went in in her clothes because it was too nice to pass up!
After a quick briefing from the Fortem staff on the purpose of the weekend and the importance of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, the participants were dropped back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was at Loft Byron Bay and was a great opportunity for the participants to get to know each other a little better and connect with other first responder families. The private room was the perfect setting for meeting other couples. The roars of laughter could be heard down the street.
The next morning started with a clean up the beach walk followed by the 4WD Troopy Tour and Surfing Lesson. 4WD down the beach was such a great experience, only to be topped by pulling up at an amazing surf spot for the lesson.
During the lesson, the group noticed a few celebrities about 10m down the beach. It was none other than Luke Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth and Chris Hemsworth just having a family day at the beach. They were all starstruck and so excited that they didn’t notice Matt Damon surfing right next to them. What a day!
“Everything was perfect. We really appreciate this opportunity. I have done things that I would never have done, like surfing. I feel so chilled and have enjoyed the time I’ve had with my husband and others from similar backgrounds. Thank you.”
After a big day of surfing and celebrity sightings, we had a pizza dinner followed by a mindfulness exercise lead by Fortem’s Gold Coast psychologist. The theme of this mindfulness session was core values, and the participants really appreciated the opportunity to re-focus on their values and share them with their partner.
With so much pizza leftover, the participants decided to go for a walk and give them to some homeless people. This was a great way to help others and finish off the night.
The next day started with a yoga lesson at a beach entrance at Belongil Beach. It was a beautiful setting with luscious green trees and grass, the birds chirping and the sound of the beach in the background.
After the yoga lesson, the group went back to the hotel to checkout and then headed to The Farm for a walk and some lunch. At The Farm we walked down to the macadamia orchard, and cracked open and ate fresh macadamias.
After this the group said goodbye and the weekend was over. When asked what they might do differently as a result of the Byron Bay Beach Weekend wellbeing activity, the responses included:
“Take time to relax and spend quality time with my husband – even if that is doing nothing together.”
“Buy a surfboard and get out there.”
“Be more connected to my partner, the moment and relax.”
“Be more connected outside, expand my social network.”
A huge thank you to Mojo Surf and Sunseeker Hotel. Mojo graciously stepped it up in every way to support first responder families with the activity. We love supporting local business when supporting local first responder families, and they love supporting us!
“Thank you for such a lovely weekend. We had a great time and would love to do it again.”
Find a Wellbeing Activity in the Northern NSW region on our Wellbeing Activity Calendar.