At home with Honey Badger | Nick Cummins on rugby, recovery and his new Jacuzzi®

Former Wallaby turned TV star Nick Cummins has built an amazing new home on the Gold Coast. Much like its famous owner – the house certainly has the x-factor.

Spa World sat down with Nick, aka the Honey Badger, and asked him all about it.

At home with Honey Badger hero

Hey Nick, thanks for inviting us into your home. No worries.

You’re right on the canals in Broadbeach Waters. Why’d you choose this spot? Being on the canal is bloody important for me. Jumping in the boat, going for a fang down to the pub or to restaurants and bars. The beach is just over there. It's a great spot, very easy living.

Nick Cummins at home

Tell us about your amazing new house. It’s a new build. Two-story, four or five-bedroom place. I’m one of eight kids – so often we've got family members dropping in, blow-ins, the whole shebang. We've got a big enough home for everyone with the media room, big kitchen, lounge, all the kids can move stuff around…and out the back, that’s the big feature.

Watch: At Home with the Honey Badger

Oh yeah, the deck. What a spot. Definitely the deck is the crowning glory. It’s got everything. You've got the chilling zone, fire pit zone, spa zone…

Was that the idea? To make the deck the main attraction? Yeah. you don't really need to focus too much on the house, because the water's already there. The canal's already there. We just made it all about the view.

And you’ve got your spa right by the house off the deck – that’s handy. Yeah. Well, it's right there. So you walk down the stairs, and then you go left to the pergola, you can go directly straight to the fire pit that's built into the deck or you go right to the spa.

Nick Cummins home
Nick Cummins spa pool

You live with your partner Alex George and rescue dog, Dougie. Did Alex have much to do with the project? Yeah. Well, I had the plan of what I wanted, and then Alex was pretty good with the design things. We've got these two big Cuban Royal Palms that go up through the deck there, so everything had to work around the palms first. Alex did it up on the computer and then sent that through. And everyone loved it. It was like, "Yeah, that's gold.”

Nick Cummins house Brisbane

Had you built a house before? No, not from the get-go. The house that was here was really old. We knocked that down and built this newy. But yeah, the process is quite in-depth, isn't it? Gee whizz.

How did you go about it? Who did the build? So we've gone with a Metricon® build – had a few friends, family use them. They had a good reputation.

Did you have much input into the design? I wanted to enlarge a few rooms like the media room and a big walk around kitchen, and lots of natural light with one of these big open glass doors here so you can see all the way out to the water.

Nick Cummins home

Did it turn out how you imagined? Obviously, being an amateur and a bit of a rookie – you start off and you're not sure how it's all going to go, how your ideas are going to look. They sound good in your own head, but then when it actually happens, you go: “I've made a mistake”. But I’m just stoked with the result – it's easy living and it's good vibes.

Now you’ve had some time to enjoy the place, would you change anything? I really like it as it is. It gives me balance.

You didn't grow up in houses like this. [laughs] Oh, gee whizz. No, I definitely didn't grow up like this. I'm one of eight kids, so I'm used to three beds in the one room, and your brothers carrying on and playing with toys, and you're trying to sleep, and there's crap everywhere. That's us. But yeah, living here now is pretty cool. We've got plenty of rooms, it's pretty snazzy, it's pretty modern.

Family is super important to you. They all live pretty close to you now, is that right? Yeah. So my old man’s on the canal, different canal, but about 10 minutes away. And then my brother is about two minutes away on the canal, and my sister is about five minutes away, on the canal as well. So yeah, they're all kicking about. It's really good to be able to just burn over wherever and see the youngsters, because they've all got little whippersnappers, and it's good to see the nieces and nephews, and grow up with them as well.

There’s nothing like family. It’s everything.

Nick Cummins in spa pool

Rugby and recovery

You played professional rugby for the Wallabies and in Japan for quite a few years. Are you still playing? I've taken a little bit of a step back. Every now and then I get up and a bit of country footy up north in the NT or wherever it is. I love to get out there and get amongst it.

What about training – is there a home gym at the new pad? No, I just carry round a couple of dumbbells. It’s more bodyweight style these days. We do all that out on the deck. We have the music pumping – a bit of gym music, you do your workout, and then you jump in the spa.

NIck Cummins in his spa pool

How’s the body holding up? You’ve worked it pretty hard over the years. After 10 years of professional rugby, you can imagine there's a few little lingering niggles. I've had lots of shoulder injuries and joint issues, knees, ankles, broken foot and hand. Most of it, it's pretty much all good. The shoulder is probably the only thing that's holding me back. It's been a year and a half since my operation. I haven't done enough work on it, but it's coming good.

Do you find the spa helps with recovery? Yeah, definitely. All the tight muscles that you've accumulated, especially after a career in rugby, you start seizing up a little bit then you jump in the spa, and oh my lordy. There’s this therapeutic lounge seat and it's got these deep tissue jets, you just angle it into the spot to loosen off the whole shoulder capsule. All of a sudden, you come out feeling a million bucks.

Watch: "It's a different way of recovering..."

Did they use hydrotherapy in your Wallaby days? No. We used to do ice baths and then be massaged. But massage would be half an hour, so you wouldn't actually get what you need done. With the therapeutic lounge seat can do a couple of hours and get my whole body sorted.

So the spa makes a difference? Yeah. For your legs and back for sure, it's quicker. It’s a lazy man's way to do it, and I'm all for that.

Haha that’s great. Hydrotherapy has so many benefits. It's a different way of recovering. To be able to sit somewhere, sit down, have a yarn, and it's all happening for you.

Jacuzzi hot tub inbuilt in a deck

The new spa pool

When did you decide to get a spa? Was that something you were always going to have? Alex and I had a few big yarns about what's the X- factor? What's that last bit of oomph that we need at this property? It's like, you've got a fire pit, you've got a pergola, and the end there – it was an empty space.

Perfect spot for a spa! Yeah. We thought about, "Do we have an in-ground pool?" And then we were like, "No, we want a hot tub." You think, "Oh, is it a bit much, do we need it?" But then you start to think, "Well, hang on a sec. What happens if tomorrow you get hit by a bloody bus?” You've got it now, look after yourself. Give yourself some love, and just enjoy it while you can.

Nick Cummins & Alex George

Often we find one person is keener than the other to get a spa. Was that the same with you and Alex? Alex wasn't sure at the start. It was more my convincing her. I got it over the line by saying, "Come on, darl, can you imagine...a couple of wines, sitting in the spa, nice blue lights through the spa, palm trees blowing in the breeze. You're just having a few yarns, a bit of music, fire's going. You want in?" And she said, "That sounds good."

Spa World Underwood Queensland

Apparently you just walked into a Spa World showroom? After we decided we're getting the spa I thought right, time to punch it straight into Spa World. So–big mob–got a lot of different spas, everything to choose from. That's the thing when you're going to do it, you've got to do it right. I didn't want to bugger it up.

How’d you decide what to go for? Did you try out a few options? I ended up jumping in a couple, that was pretty cool. I just sat in them when they were empty, and just got a feel for where the water would be, how deep some of them are, what direction you're all facing, how many people fit in the spa.

So what did you go for in the end? The Jacuzzi® J-375™, it’s a six-person. So for me, having a bigger family, we can all bloody chill in there and tell a few bull dust stories.

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So, what was it about Jacuzzi®? Did you look at any other brands? Yeah. When I walked into the showroom, you see them all there, small ones, big ones, all different features, jets, whatever else. For me, it was the Jacuzzi®. It's a big brand. It's been around. They're the father of hydrotherapy. You know you've got the right stuff. It's quality. It's been tested over time – and bloody comfy.

Is it popular with friends and family? Yeah, you can imagine. When people show up, we've got the fire going and they come out – they're like, "Oh, yeah, hey mate, how’re you going?" It's like, you know what they want. They just want to get in the spa!

Haha that’s always the way. Is there room for everyone? Well, it says six-seater, but some humans are bigger than others. When the boys come over, they're often rugby boys, so they've got a bit of size to them–not saying they're fat at all–they're just big humans, big-boned.

You’re not small yourself – 1.89m tall in fact. Jacuzzi® Spas have really spacious seats – was that a factor in the decision? Yeah, definitely. It was just the right fit. Everything worked and I went “That's the one!”.

Hot tub on a deck

Hydrotherapy, blue lights and bubbles

Jacuzzi® is known for premium hydrotherapy, was that also a factor? It wasn't actually something I was going for. It was going to be just, jump in the hot tub and have a drink, and have fun.

But you've changed your mind? Yeah. Since realising what the effects are, the benefits it’s had for my shoulder, my legs, my back – the hydrotherapy side is probably one of the main points now. It’s become essential for me; it's become like my recovery.

It’s fair to say you’re a fan of Jacuzzi® jets? Yeah bloody oath. I'm a big fan of the lower back, and then the deep tissue jets. They're the go.

How about the other features? At nighttime actually Alex and I get in there, and you have your beverage, and you can choose the different lights. My favourite would be the blue light. It's something about it; it's calming.

Do you have your favourite spots? Yeah, Alex loves the short and upright one. Mine’s the long seat, the lounge seat. So she knows that's off-limits. I mean, I'll share – sometimes.

NIck Cummins in his spa pool

Bubbles on or off? Actually, you know what? You can do both. You can do bubbles on and people just seem to go like "Ahh." They just go into relax mode. But when you turn the bubbles off, then you're having yarns. Everyone’s more relaxed, just sitting in the warm water, the colours going through the water.

What about the maintenance? Is there much work involved with the water care side of things? There's really not a lot, because it's got a self-cleaning system in it. It's got one of those UV water cleaners, so it wipes out the bacteria. Before we even got it, that came into account. You don’t want to spend time on that – you just want to know it's good.

So it’s pretty low maintenance? Yeah, so it looks after itself. I go in there and I'll open it up and see if any of my family members have snuck in there and left anything in there, or little kids going in there and dropped a two by four on the bottom, things like that you might need to clean up from time to time, a leaf or two, but that's it.

Hot tub tips from the Honey Badger

What would you say to anyone on the fence about getting a spa? Well, you've got two options. You can sit there and wonder what it would have been like for the next bloody 20 years, or you can start making memories, and get your friends and family over and involved, and everyone having fun.

What advice would you give them? If you're looking at buying a spa, you don't want to go cheap, because that gets expensive down the road. The amount of cleaning you have to do on a cheap spa is 10 times what you have to do on a spa that's a bit more expensive at the start. It just saves you time and money in the future.

It’s great to hear it’s all worked out for you and you’re loving the new house…and spa. I wouldn’t be without it. Being able to get in, de-stress, drop the tension with your bubbles, your jets, your whatever else – bit of music. It just soothes your mind and your body. It's a good place to socialise and decompress from the world. It's the best.

Nick Cummins and Alexandra George

Nick Cummins new Gold Coast house - top 5 facts:

  1. Designed and built by Metricon® Homes
  2. The 551sqm section backs onto a canal, with its own jetty!
  3. The new home replaces a 1970s house which was knocked down
  4. The deck is wood-composite by Trex Decking® and made up of recycled plastic bags that would otherwise go to landfills
  5. The outdoor area features a raised Jacuzzi® J-375™, sunken fire pit, lounge setting and pergola

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