Lisa Christine, who works at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, nominated her colleague Evan Harris for a Getaway
"Give Me a Break".
Evan has worked at the park for 15 years and has progressed from keeper to operations manager. According to Lisa, Evan's dedication and passion is something to be rewarded. He's on call every day and night and often raises baby animals and birds at home, which means he is up at 10pm and 2am feeding them. His workload is undertaken without complaint and he just makes everyone feel happy and positive.
Evan and his wife Michelle have a baby son named Ethan and provide foster care for other young children. Lisa described them as two of the most caring and loving people she has ever met.
Natalie Gruzlewski went to Featherdale one Sunday under the guise of doing a regular Getaway story and Evan was more than happy to talk about what they do at the park. He was surprised to say the least when Natalie told him he, Michelle and Ethan were being treated to a special Getaway "Give Me a Break". There were even a few tears of happiness.
Michelle had taken care of all the packing and they boarded their limousine and headed to the airport, where they boarded a flight to Byron Bay on the north coast of New South Wales.
Beach Suites Byron Bay
What a place to stay! Beach Suites Byron Bay offers waterfront-location studios, suites and penthouses with wide beachfront decks, individual plunge pools and ensuite spa baths. Whichever way you look at it, this is Byron's most private and luxurious accommodation, and it's all just a stroll to the centre of Byron with its shopping, restaurants, cafes and bars.
The Harris family stayed in one of the penthouses. The last time Evan visited Byron was many years ago for a music festival. He stayed in a field and it rained the entire four days. This time, it's fare to say things were more than a little different.
They have plush king beds, a modern kitchen and an enormous television. Rooftop pools are filled with Byron rainwater. There's even a private lift from the car park to each penthouse. Garden Suites have spacious tiled terraces and barbecues. Tropical gardens attract Byron's beautiful birds.
Beachfront Studios have private entrances and direct access to the street and beach. Some have heated plunge pools and all have wide decks with views, barbecues, full-size refrigerator and gas barbecue.
Cape Byron Kayaks
Obviously Evan loves nature and the outdoors, but he'd never been kayaking. That all changed on an outing with Cape Byron Kayaks. You don't need kayaking experience, and if you don't see whales, dolphins or turtles, you get a free return trip.
Three-hour paddling tours take in Australia's most easterly point, the lighthouse, local history and some of the best scenery you'll ever enjoy. You get to paddle through the surf, ride the waves and pull in to a beach for morning or afternoon tea.
Guides are kayakers, surfers, excellent watermen and self-proclaimed local historians. Safety and enjoyment are top priorities. All you need is your bathers, sunscreen and a sense of adventure.
Michelle wasn't forgotten while Evan was out exhausting himself. We arranged an in-house massage for her at Beach Suites. Everyone loves a massage, but for a busy young mother, it was particularly relaxing.
As Natalie said farewell to the Harrises, Ethan was enjoying his first visit to the beach and the whole scene was one of a very happy family.
Byron Bay on the north coast of New South Wales.
CostBeach Suites Byron Bay start at $350 per night. The Penthouse starts at $1200 per night.
Cape Byron Kayaks have a three-hour tour for $60 per person. They offer family prices as well. You will be supplied with lifejackets, helmets, wetsuits if necessary and pick-up from your accommodation. Tours run every day at 8:30am and 1:00pm.
Prices correct at 12 November 2009.
For further information
Beach Suites Byron Bay
20 Bay Street
Byron Bay 2481
Ph: (02) 6680 9944
Cape Byron Kayaks
60 Lawson Street
Ph: (02) 6680 9555
Byron Bay Massage
Ph: 0410 751 008
Featherdale Wildlife Park
271 Kildare Road
Ph: (02) 9622 1644