ANGELA SAURINE and her toddler are blown away by the kid-friendly features at this Tweed Coast North Star Holiday Resort
All inclusive family friendly resort
“It’s amazing” is one of my three-year-old son’s new favourite sayings, and it’s fair to say it gets a good workout during our weekend stay at North Star Holiday Resort at Hastings Point. From the waterpark to the life-sized shark jaws on display at the marine centre, there is certainly plenty to impress little ones – and their parents.
Located on the beautiful Tweed Coast
The resort stretches over 10 hectares at Hastings Point, on the Tweed Coast of northern NSW, between Maggies Beach and a tidal estuary. It’s around 50 minutes’ drive north of Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, 30 minutes’ from Byron Bay and 30 minutes south of Gold Coast Airport. The biggest selling point for southerners worried about the possibility of border closures is that the Tweed region is as close as you can get to Queensland without crossing the border!
Two-storey Tuscany Villas
Choose from powered and ensuite campsites to apartments, cottages and villas. We stay in a recently refurbished Tuscany Villa, which overlooks the waterpark. We love sitting on the balcony watching kids getting splashed by the huge tipping buckets and dads racing their offspring down the dual slides and, after a swim, it’s a short walk back to jump straight in the warm spa bath! The two-storey villa has three bedrooms, with a king bed in the main room, queen bed and single bunks in the second bedroom, and two sets of single bunks in the third bedroom. Decorated with pictures of the Italian countryside on the walls, the villa has three bathrooms, four TVs, a DVD player, air-conditioning, upstairs and downstairs living areas and a kitchen with a dishwasher, a barbecue, washing machine and a dryer. Wi-Fi is included, but some limits apply.
Fun for all activities in North Star Holiday Resort
The waterpark, Sammy’s Adventure Lagoon, has two 8m-high waterslides and dozens of interactive water features, including a 600 litre bucket that dumps water every six minutes, and water cannons. There’s also a seasonally heated pool and wading pool. Neptune’s Castle Kids’ Club, for kids aged three to 12, is supervised on weekends and during school holidays (make sure you pack socks!). Then there’s a shaded outdoor playground, a tennis court, and a games room with pool tables for older kids, an air hockey table, table tennis, pinball machines, arcade games and a television. The games room also has a toddler corner with a mural of the ocean, toys and climbing equipment. It’s great to give kids an educational experience on holidays, and the Marine Discovery Centre ticks that box. Head eco-guide Rhett Brambleby’s father founded the centre, and his passion for the marine world is infectious. Learn about the critters that live in the ecosystems around Hastings Point and fascinating facts, like how hermit crabs have to find bigger shells as they grow, and that violet sea snails float on the surface of the ocean and eat bluebottles. There are lots of buttons to push to hear seabird noises and colourful lights in displays of jellyfish, seahorses, octopus, starfish, giant shells and coral reefs. But my son’s highlight is definitely driving the replica submarine! Rhett also runs activities such as a rocky shoreline excursion during school holidays. Mum and dad can take turns visiting the adults-only retreat, Seascape, which has a day spa, hairdresser, heated lap pool, gym, spa and sauna.
Outdoor barbecue area and camp kitchen
North Star’s onsite restaurant, Ripples Licensed Café, is right next to the pool. The menu includes Thai beef salad, Wagyu burgers and crumbed calamari, while kids under 12 can choose fish and chips or chicken nuggets with chips, which are served with raw carrot and cucumber sticks and cubed cheese – a nice touch. The water dragons that roam around are an added attraction! The café is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8am to 8pm. Takeaway is also available (but not for alcohol!). North Star also has an outdoor barbecue area and a camp kitchen, and the onsite service station and convenience store offers basic groceries, gas bottle refills, newspapers, bait and tackle.
Things to do: Fruit tasting with guided tractor tour and more
As well as the area’s beautiful beaches, there are loads of other fun things to do in the area. Head to Tropical Fruit World, which grows more than 500 species of fruit. More importantly for many kids … it has tractors! As well as discovering that there’s a fruit that tastes like chocolate and that avocado is the most nutritious fruit in the world, we love riding the tractor around the plantation on a guided tour, crushing macadamia nuts and feeding farm animals at stops along the way. There’s also a café to have lunch afterwards and a shop and market where you can buy local products and produce. Cruise the Tweed River on a Catch a Crab Tour and haul in crabs which are cooked on board, hand-feed pelicans, pump for yabbies, try your hand at fishing, and visit a working oyster farm.
Watersports Guru offers a two-hour program including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling with local guides. Or book a Day Visit Pass to Hosanna Farmstay in the hinterland and enjoy a hay bale ride around the property, feed the animals and swim in the dam before a picnic lunch under the trees.
The writer was a guest of North Star Holiday Resort and Tropical Fruit World.