Solace by the sea
A RAINBOW Beach holiday one year since last year's devastating Black Saturday fires has helped Victorian bushfire victims Liz Hoffman and Callan Hughes move on.
Both Ms Hoffman and Mr Hughes were affected by the wildfires but luckily weren’t there when they swept through Strathewen where their homes were lost.
But taking the holiday on the national day of mourning was only a coincidence.
They arrived at Rainbow Ocean Palms on Sunday and spent three nights relaxing and taking in the ocean views.
Mr Hughes said the anniversary wasn’t “really that significant” and “everyone is dealing with it every day”.
Rather than change the date so it didn’t fall near the anniversary, Ms Hoffman said she took it as a part of moving on to come up and enjoy themselves, marking the milestone in their own way.
She is grateful for the holiday and said she appreciated the whole tourism industry.
They both want to come back again.
Mr Hughes’ family has lived in Strathewen, one of the worst effected areas, where 27 people died, for many years.
He is “really grateful” that his mother had the foresight to tell immediate family members to leave the area, before fires engulfed their homes.
Their families survived, but many friends with whom they had grown up, were lost.
They both live at Yarrambat now, about 20 minutes from Strathewen, but Mr Hughes’ family still lives in the small town.
“People are just trying to get on with things as best as possible.”
The couple was offered the holiday by Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort.
Manager Tanya Beech said a regional tourism authority asked for donations that could help the bushfire survivors.
“We were in a position to offer something that may provide relief,” she said.
“Staying at Rainbow is a lovely experience ... they can relax and not have to think about much at all.”