Tattersall Lander “Relaxation Day” Christmas Party

This year we had a theme for Tattersall Lander Christmas Staff Party (which was something new). According to our esteemed leader Jane, we would be having a “Leisure Day” on the last Friday before Christmas (another new concept – traditionally the staff party is a couple of weeks prior to Christmas). It was to be the first indication that the day would be a little different to past years. After a somewhat hectic year for the team, Bruce and Bob determined that the last day would a relaxing one… Although, I am not sure how relaxed Bob was for the trip… but we’ll get back that shortly.

The dress code of ‘smart casual’ and ‘no thongs allowed’ gave absolutely nothing away either, as usual. Although the vibe was that it was truly going to be a relaxing day because the girls were encouraged to wear dresses and heals if they so wished. Hallelujah!!! No walking (or minimal at the very least) … and no one was happier with this notion than Kylie.

The morning arrived and those of us north of the Hexham bridge were collected by Port Stephens Coaches, from the Tattersall Lander office at 8am sharp. From there we made the journey down to Macdonald Jones Stadium to pick up the southerners.

Upon arrival at Mac Jones Stadium we gathered to order a delicious breakfast/snack and hot beverages at Darks Café in preparation of our “long drive south” … That was our next clue that was calculatingly revealed by Jane, while Bruce and Bob were still conveniently pleading ignorance…again, hmmm where on earth were we going???

So we piled onto the bus in anticipation for what the day might hold. I have to say we were all enjoying sitting down and relaxing by this stage. So it’s fair to say none of us particularly cared how long the trip was going to take, or where we ended up for that matter.

The drive was far from long. Turning off the M1 at the Central Coast yet another clue was exposed. So far we had Leisure Day, smart casual, heals and the Central Coast, and still had no idea! The next stretch of the drive was even better than the start because the scenic, water views along the way were delightful.

Eventually, the drive came to an end, literally. The bus driver couldn’t drive any further because we were at the waters edge. The sign read Ettalong Beach Ferry Terminal. At the end of the jetty was a boat waiting. But that can’t be right, Bob hates boats!! We were sure we wouldn’t be going aboard because EVERYBODY knows Bobs’ thoughts on water vessels!!

Jane wandered down ahead and then beckoned for the rest of us to follow, and climb aboard the water craft. Ben was incensed that he wasn’t personally advised by his superiors to bring fishing rods, given that he wouldn’t have to worry about making burley – Bob had that covered. It was advised that those who may have been inclined to start feeling under the weather from movement, head on out to the rear. No prizes in guessing where Bob made a beeline for!

Now before the trip across to our “Final Destination” commenced, the captain had to run through a bit of housekeeping. Just the usual stuff of entering and exiting the vessel, keeping all limbs inside… oh and how to wear a life jacket. This required a demonstration in which a volunteer was needed… enter Leith who VERY swiftly offered his services. The captain proceeded to give a thorough demonstration of how to correctly put on, and subsequently activate a lifejacket should the need arise to do so. Well done Leith!

Once we pulled away from the wharf the party really got started! We learned that there were no glasses for the champagne, but Juanita was unphased by the minor obstacle, and cracked open a bottle anyway. (P.S. There’s more to this story, but as they say, “What happens on tour, stays on tour” – my lips are sealed!!!!!)

Now initially the journey was very smooth with little or no movement as we glided over the water. I think it lulled our Bob into a false sense of security because I distinctly remember him saying he was rather quite enjoying the ride (but he has vetoed the use of a direct quote of such nature in this passage) … Bwaaaahahahaha that was all about to change!!! It was just the warm up part of the pilgrimage. A short time after those words were uttered, we began the cross into open water…

It was at this point that poor old Bob was looking pretty green around the gills, and his partner in crime (Don) who was positioned next to him, also appeared to be under the weather. We aren’t sure how close the fish actually came to a free feed, but my money was on 1 or 2 more waves.

Once moving out of the open water the swell was virtually non-existent. It was then we started to take in the picturesque surroundings of the Hawkesbury River. What a positively spectacular area. There really aren’t enough superlatives to do it justice!

It seemed we had only just begun to appreciate the scenery when we noticed that the boat had actually come to a halt, at what would be the final destination. And believe me it brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “saved the best til last”. As we all disembarked at the jetty, I’m quite sure I heard a collective gasp from every single staff member.

The moment we stepped onto the Cottage Point Inn private deck we were met by the warm and friendly staff. The canapes, beers and wines on arrival were simply divine and we were all dying to see what the lunch time menu would consist of.

Lunch was as delicious as we had all hoped it would be! Many of us stepped outside of our comfort zone to try new food, or food that we wouldn’t normally eat. With a choice of 3 dishes for each of the 3 courses, and every dish sounding absolutely exquisite it was a near impossible decision for most of us!

Following on straight after lunch was the notorious Tattersall Lander Secret Santa gift giving. Again, the rule was that you must not spend more than $20.00. This year the duties were handed back to Harry to do the honours, and as usual he took his role as the jolly man VERY seriously. First up, and clearly the winner of this years biggest present was Juanita. This was the present everyone had been waiting anxiously to see what was inside. Turns out it was a fire pit. What an awesome present! Had some of us wondering though, was that really only $20.00? Hmmmm

The message coming through loud and clear from Santa’s gifts is that the staff don’t mind an alcoholic beverage or two, and have terrible a sweet tooth. Although it seems Harry doesn’t mind a hit of golf (who knew?), Santa gave him a plastic set of golf clubs – maybe it might make him play better!!!

Alas, that concluded the day and it was time to make the journey back home. The trip back across the Hawkesbury was decidedly calmer and seemed so much quicker than the morning ride. Once back to shore we climbed on the bus and looked forward to the coming Christmas and New Year break.

We were promised a relaxing day, and that is EXACTLY what we got!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Big thank you to the following businesses:

Port Stephens Coaches – for transport to and from the ferry wharf.

Darks Café – for the fabulous hot beverages and breakfast.

Sail Australia – for transport to and from the restaurant.

Cottage Point Inn – for providing a truly magnificent venue with delicious food, outstanding service and an absolutely breathtaking setting.