Tiona Holiday Park is a pet-friendly family holiday park that occupies a stunning waterfront location between stunning beach and freshwater lake on the NSW Mid North Coast, discovers ANGELA SAURINE
TIONA HOLIDAY PARK – THE LOWDOWN
Located on an isthmus at Pacific Palms near Forster, pet-friendly Tiona Holiday Park sits on either side of The Lakes Way, with the pristine Seven Mile Beach on one side and Wallis Lake on the other. Talk about the best of both worlds! It’s located on 32ha of land owned by Community of Christ Church, who chose it as the place for their members to come together each year back in 1923.
Much loved by generations of Aussie families, it was in need of some TLC, which it is now getting since coming under new ownership in late 2019. We often see tradies tinkering around the place throughout our stay. The park is ideal for families who prefer nature-based holidays, with the branches of paperbark trees stretching over the lake, which is shallow for the first 300m, cabbage tree palms, and a large fig tree with twisting roots near cabins on the beach side. While it’s located in a Telstra blackspot, so phone reception is limited, park-wide Wi-Fi has been added.
LOCATION OF TIONA HOLIDAY PARK
The town of Tiona is around 3.5 hours’ drive north of Sydney and 15 minutes’ south of Forster, in a region of the NSW Mid North Coast known as the Barrington Coast. It’s just north of Elizabeth Beach, at the edge of Booti Booti National Park.
Tiona Holiday Park really does have something for everyone, with powered and unpowered campsites, a range of cabins and 14 lodge rooms. If you have a large group, the Beach House sleeps up to 12 people and The Lake House sleeps eight.
We stayed in a beachside spa cabin, which has two bedrooms, a separate bathroom and a combined kitchen and living area with a dining table, sofa, TV, microwave, oven and a fridge. Reverse split-system air-conditioning is now available in all cabins as part of the upgrade, and there’s also a ceiling fan in the main bedroom.
Balconies have been added to the beach villas and some other cabins, and lodge rooms have been refurbished. For those who love glamping, four new tree-house style safari tents will be available soon.
ACTIVITIES AT TIONA HOLIDAY PARK
Don’t expect to find a waterpark or kids’ club at this holiday park – children will more likely be found climbing trees or riding their bikes through bushland. There is a TV room beside the reception area, which is great for rainy days, a lagoon-shaped swimming pool surrounded by landscaped gardens, and a nature-based playground with a repurposed wooden boat.
Spend the day swimming, building sandcastles and collecting shells at Seven Mile Beach before migrating to Wallis Lake to watch the sunset. Then sit around a campfire and roast marshmallows in the evening.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are barbecue facilities throughout the site, and it’s only about 10 minutes’ drive to Stockland Forster Shopping Centre, which has three supermarkets, to stock up on supplies. You can also buy basics such as milk, orange juice, soft drink, pasta and pasta sauce in the reception office, as well as ice-cream, bags of ice, bait, plus fire pits and bags of wood in season. The bistro at The Pacific Palms Recreation Club (colloquially known as The Recky) at Elizabeth Beach is a lovely place to go for lunch or dinner, as you can dine outdoors on the shore of the lake. At Blueys Beach try Huey’s at Blueys pizzeria, Drift Café or Indonesian noshery Kembali Café. In Forster, grab fish and chips from Lobby’s Fresh Seafood to eat by the lake, try modern Asian restaurant Spice Monkey or pub grub at the historic Lakes & Ocean Hotel, established in 1872. An ice-cream is also a must.
You can check out a different beach every day if you like, with offerings including Elizabeth Beach, Boomerang Beach and Blueys Beach. Go kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, boating and fishing at Wallis or Smiths Lake, and hike along the Booti Hill Lakeside Walking Track or the Cabbage Palm Loop Walking Track in Wallingat National Park. There are plenty of shops to peruse in Forster, as well as a cinema in Tuncurry. Kids will love rolling down the sand dune at One Mile Beach, swimming at the natural rock formation, The Tanks, and attending the carnival that is held at Tuncurry over summer. From June to November, Amaroo Cruises offers whale watching cruises, as well as year-round dolphin watching cruises to see the pod of 250 to 300 bottlenose dolphins that inhabits the area.
The writer was a guest of Tiona Holiday Park.