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BIG4 Northstar

Image credit © BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort

Hitting the jackpot

BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort

Emily Toxward discovers what makes BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort the gem of the Tweed Coast.

You know you’ve hit the holiday jackpot when your five-year-old child declares that they never want to go home. It certainly wouldn’t take this mum of three much convincing to stay and live by the seaside here at Hastings Point on the beautiful Tweed Coast.

BIG4 Northstar

Image credit © Emily Toxward

Just add water

A much-loved surf beach, Hastings Point is home to BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort, our digs for the next few days. This amenity-rich holiday park is just a short stroll to the beach and minutes from the waterfront villages of Cabarita and Pottsville.

Within minutes of arriving, our kids have explored every nook of the outside playground and indoor games room and beg us to let them loose in Sammy’s Adventure Lagoon. They have a ball under the tipping buckets and sprayers and the boys love racing down the dual slides into the swimming pool.

While the kids play under hubby’s watchful gaze, I make a stealthy escape to our nearby Tuscany Villa to nab the best bed. With three bedrooms and three bathrooms set across two levels, I happily declare downstairs a kid-free zone… well, except for the use of the spa bath adjoining the King suite.

I’m happy to find the villas have full kitchen facilities and a washer and dryer, which will help me keep up with the endless washing my children will undoubtedly generate. The villa has stacks of space and could easily accommodate two families or grandparents who can be convinced to join in and help with babysitting duties.

Stacks of site options

We usually camp in a massive tent so were eager to check out the other options at BIG4 North Star. There are a variety of lodges, cabins, chalets and villas, and we love that the camping and caravan sites feature AstroTurf. Most of the sites also have leafy palm trees to offer shade and privacy from neighbours.

Ingeniously there are ensuite sites meaning trips with a dodgy torch to the loo at night can be avoided; a fabulous solution for those of us with little ones or those with special needs. The communal cooking area offers plenty of undercover seating so campers can keep an eye on roaming kids. As we survey the wide sealed roads we wish we’d thought to bring the kids’ bikes or scooters.

We outsource dinner to Ripples Licensed Cafe; it’s on site and offers a takeaway menu for campers who want the night off barbecue duties. The kids’ menu is cheap and cheerful, with ice-cream included. Come morning, I have to restrain my children (and husband) from stacking 24 hash browns on their plates at the well-priced buffet breakfast.

BIG4 Northstar

Image credit © Emily Toxward

Exploring the surrounds

With heaps to do on site, we have to drag the kids away for the two-minute jaunt to nearby Cudgen Creek. Despite leaving our SUP at home, we still manage to have heaps of fun during both high and low tide. With buckets in hand we collect shells and manage to snare a few crabs and other sea creatures.

Always up for an adventure, the boys explore the rocky foreshore while I soak in two minutes of peace as they play with hermit crabs. The Tweed Coast is known for its incredible array of seabirds and we get a real buzz out of watching them gliding above us.

We treat ourselves to lunch out at Cabarita, a funky little spot just five minutes’ drive away. It has essential shops such as a supermarket and chemist, as well as boutique craft shops and eateries. We dine at the Cabarita Beach Hotel and soak up the beautiful ocean views.

On the way home, we visit nearby Johansen Park to watch surfers carve it up and take in the breathtaking coastal views from Norries Head. It’s the perfect spot to see the annual humpback migration that occurs from April to November, so pack binoculars, a few snacks for the kids and plenty of patience.

Spotlight on Tweed Coast

The beauty of the Tweed Coast lies not only in its pristine coastal environment, but its central location and what it has to offer families. Within 15 minutes of Hastings Points you can be catching a movie or perusing some 140 specialty shops at the recently revamped Tweed City Shopping Centre, complete with an al fresco entertainment precinct.

For those keen to travel 50 minutes north into Queensland, you’ll be at Dreamworld, Sea World or Burleigh Beach. Or you can head south to Bryon Bay or The Crystal Castle in Mullumbimby without the kids having a chance to ask, “Are we there yet?”. If bushwalks and waterfalls are more your thing, you can head inland an hour or so to Mount Warning, a mountain in the Tweed Range formed from a volcanic plug of the now-gone Tweed Volcano.

BIG4 Northstar

Image credit © Emily Toxward

Kids’ club caters for all

Next morning we cut through a short nature reserve to fossick for shells at Hastings Point while waiting for the free kids’ club to open at Neptune’s Castle. There are two separate age groups: one for those aged from three to six, and another for seven- to 12-year-olds. In the off-season or weekdays, when there’s no supervised events, you can ask for a key and the kids can go free range.

For quieter kids there’s craft and for my boys who have energy to burn, there’s a tunnel maze, slides, monkey bars and ball pit. Our boys make new friends in no time. I felt naughty, almost guilty, as I relax in the spa pool at the nearby adults-only Seascape Leisure Centre and eye off a massage. Oh the serenity.

BIG4 Northstar

Image credit © Emily Toxward

Lure of entertainment

After a splash at the water park we ready ourselves for a big night of fun at the barbecue area. We’re fortunate to stay over a long weekend with family entertainment, and an Indigenous cultural show has the kids (and us) in hysterics. A pop-up kitchen arrives about 5pm and there is popcorn and drinks for the kids to enjoy as they watch ‘Moana’ at an open-air cinema.

When you’ve got three kids it can be stressful at a busy holiday park, but there’s a real community vibe here. Everyone keeps a look out for each other, cars move at a snail’s pace and families gather and laugh the night away. You’ll want for nothing here, except perhaps a longer stay.

BIG4 Northstar

Image credit © Emily Toxward

This article appeared in volume 52 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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