A Week at Twin Waters Resort

A few years ago I suggested that we have a family holiday at the Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast. It was one of the best holidays we have had and I thought that I should definitely do a post on our week at the resort.

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Accommodation: Mercure Apartments

The resort is home to the Novotel hotel on one side of the man made lagoon, and the Mercure Aparments on the opposite side. It means that the resort accommodation is slightly separated but still part of the same lagoon resort. If you stay for a wedding or have a large family, it means that everyone can stay in all different types of accommodation depending on their invididual needs.

Our family chose to stay in the two storey, Mercure Apartements. The bedrooms were on the top floor, and the living area was situated on the bottom. The rooms were spacious and had lots of wardrobe and hanging space.

The main bedroom had a balcony that overlooked the lagoon. We were definitely in the best positioned apartement on the lagoon side as we had a fantastic view each day when the sun set. You can also get beach view apartments which look pretty good as well.

The apartments had a huge kitchen and living area, six person dining table, outdoor bbq on the covered deck, and multiple bathrooms. I would definitely recommend families or groups of people to stay in one of these apartments as there is plenty of space, plenty of bathrooms and a lot of room for entertaining or coming together as a group.

There is plenty of information on the different room types on the Twin Waters website, and there are even apartment layouts so you can easily decide on which apartment is right for you.

Price per night was between $250 and $400 per night. The rate does vary based on demand and availability, so some nights will be cheaper to stay than others. Unfortunately this was a few years ago (and my parents paid for the accommodation) so I am unsure what the rate was at that time. However, I would assume it would have been a medium price rate as it was the time of the year when some families choose to go for holidays, but not the peak time of summer.

The resort is right next to the beach. At first it was a bit confusing on how to actually get onto the beach from the resort – there are hidden walking tracks between the road and the beach. But the tracks are only a couple of minutes walk until you are smack bang in the middle of the beach.

The beaches were unpatrolled at that time of year, but I assume they are patrolled with lifeguards in the warmer months. The sea looked quite rough and become deep very quickly. As a girl who grew up on the coast, I know a little bit about beaches. I wouldn’t recommend swimming here if it is unpatrolled as there were plenty of rips that would be ridden to the untrained eye.

Facilities and Activities

There’s plenty to do at this resort. You could stay an entire week inside the confines of the resort if you wanted to.

Mini Golf: there is a fun little mini golf pitch-and-putt course near the entrance to the Novotel side of the resort. A lot of children seemed to be playing around here, so it is family friendly and good for some light hearted fun. We had a good time playing around and missing many putts in the greens!

If you want to play a full course of golf, there are golf clubs near by, with the closest being Twin Waters Country Club.

Sailing: we decided to try out sailing. It was a lot more difficult than we thought! The friendly staff give you a crash course on what to do, and they will come to your rescue if you capsize or get stuck up against a wooden bridge (that may have been us…) They give you life jackets as well, so it is completely safe.

Day Spa: there is a day spa at the resort offering the standard luxuries from massage to manicures to facials and so on. I did not use the day spa for this visit but my mum got a manicure there and said it was very relaxing. They did a nice job on her nails too. Next time I go I would definitely like to check out this relaxing spa that overlooks the pretty lagoon.

Pool: There is a pool at the main part of the resort next to the Novotel rooms and the restaurant. There is also a semi secret pool at Mercure for Mercure guests and residents.

The Mercure pool is secluded from the view of the rest of the resort, as well as from the public, so you could almost miss it if you didn’t see it when you checked in. There’s an undercover BBQ, as well as sunchairs for guests to relax on. There are also residents who live full time at this resort, so I believe that they may use the pool as well.

The main pool is large but right in the view of the restaurant. There would not be privacy to relax as there are frequently children and families around that area. There is a spa off to the side, but I would often see families with their young ones in there. Whilst it’s not a kiddie pool, you would probably start to think otherwise!

Floating Playground: there is often a large inflatable “playground” – I’m not entirely sure what it is called but it is jumping castle size, kind of like an obstacle course, and with a slide at the end into the water. It wasn’t up when we were there but I know they phase it in the warmer months. It would be suitable for kids (and big kids like me!) who are reasonable swimmers. Next time I would definitely be keen to go on it!

Games Room: think of all the arcade games from the 80s and 90s in one small room, and that’s what you have! It was fun, but as always, these things cost money. We spent all we had on us in this room. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day, but it is an expensive way too.

Bike Hire: we hired bikes for a day, but Unfortunately I can’t remember the cost. It was around $15 from memory, but it very well could have changed by now. We choose to bike around the walking track of the resort, which meant that was done in 10 mins… But we eventually found some tracks just outside the resort. You will see lots of families riding their bikes in and out of the resort.

Beach: As I said earlier the beach is literally across the road. It is a long beach though so you could definitely go for a nice long walk, like my parents did.

Walking track: there is a lovely walking track which takes you all the way around the lagoon and the resort. There are small little tracks off to the side, but it really isn’t much to get too excited about. It’s nice to go for a walk around the resort though.

Boardwalk the boardwalk is slightly hidden as it is off the resort itself. However there are various forms and routes of the boardwalk to take. Just be weary that at low tide the trees and sand around the boardwalk develop a smell that most people will not enjoy.

Fishing: whilst you can not fish at the lagoon itself, there are plenty of fishing charters, boat hire, fishing hire places you can go to. We didn’t do any fishing on this trip but I definitely would next time.

Interaction with Staff

Watersports Staff Member: friendly and very helpful. Even when she was busy, she didn’t let this effect her customer service.

Reception Staff: I did not deal directly with the person who checked in my family, but they appeared to do so with ease and My family had no complaints about the customer service.

Bar Staff: Friendly but not overly helpful. It was not overly busy so there isn’t really an excuse to slack off on customer service.

Restaurant Staff: we didn’t have food in the restaurant and it don’t think they have room service, so unfortunately I cannot comment on this aspect.

Housekeeping: I honestly can’t remember any interaction with housekeeping staff, so I assume that it was all good if I did!

Overall Thoughts

I really liked this resort. You could just stay in the resort all week, and you can easily go to other activities along Queensland Sunshine Coast or even the Gold Coast. I would definitely stay here again, but I would also like to see what the accommodation is in the Novotel side of the resort. I would also like to eat at the restaurant so I could give a more complete review of the resort.

Vintage Barbie xoxo

Disclaimer: I worked for the chain that looks after the Twin Waters resort at the time I went on this family holiday. However this has not influenced this post. I have not been paid for this post. All opinions in this post are my own.

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Travel Factory

Winter Weekend in the Hunter Valley

I while back (well June long weekend last year) I was invited along to a friends hen’s weekend in the Hunter Valley. I only just remembered that I never published this post – so here is what I wrote almost a year ago to the day!

My friend picked me up from my place at 9.30ish and we took off on our way towards Sydney. The drive between Canberra and Sydney is always incredibly boring, but we had plenty to catch up on so it went by quickly. We drove onto the M7/M2 and through to the Hunter Valley Region.

It seems that the best way out to the Hunter is by car. I believe there are buses and possibly trains, but the quickest and easiest way would be to drive.

It’s so pretty out this way – there are so many vineyards and wineries along the way. I think it took about 4.5 hours for us to drive up, which is pretty good considering I live in South Canberra.

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The view from our cabin balcony

Accommodation

For the 10 of us staying, there were two 2-bed cabins booked at Cyprus Lakes Resort. These cabins were two storey, had a medium size kitchen, a lounge and dining area, and a big deck out the back. There was a fantastic view from the balconies too!

Sunset view from our Balcony

Sunset view from our Balcony

The top storey had the two bedrooms, with each room having it’s own bathroom. There was also a fold out sofa bed in the loungeroom.

To access the cabins, a 6 digit code it sent to your mobile number. During your stay, you must use this code to access your room. Not sure what you would do if you forgot your code and you had left your phone inside with the code in it….

Cheese and wine in the Hunter Valley Wine region Australia

An afternoon of cheese and wine

In the cabin I stayed in, the sink in the bathroom of the main room had not been cleaned properly. Actually, it looked like someone hadn’t cleaned it at all. It was very obvious too, so I don’t know how someone could have missed it. Everything else was clean and tidy though, with the towels rolled up on the bed looking every bit professional.

I found the doona on the bed not warm enough for me. But there was an extra blanket available,

We used the heater the second night and it definitely kept us warm. Just remember to turn it off when you leave otherwise you will be charged excess use fees!

Overall, I really liked these cabins, and I think I would stay here again.

Dinner at The Cellar Restaurant

This is a cosy restaurant with plenty of room for group dinners. There is a fireplace in the middle and fern trees around the window sides of the restaurant. I thought it had a lovely atmosphere. We were seated next to the fire and they let us know they could turn the fire down if it became too hot for anyone. Always nice to know that a customers comfort is important as well as the service and food.

The Menu

The Menu

There was a large menu of choices. We were told that if we ordered a main that we would need to order a side as well. Pretty much everyone at the table ordered a type of steak or whole fish. We shared about 7 sides between the 10 of us.

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Beans & Blanched Almonds, Roast Beetroot, and Sauteed Mushroooms for our sides

I chose the Sirlion steak cooked medium rare with the mushroom sauce. I loved the sauce and that it came in a giant ramikan jug. There was also a giant wedge of lemon served on the plate. I’ve never seen a piece of steak served with lemon on the side before, so I’m guessing it was for presentation reasons. This makes sense because the presentation was lackluster.

Steak and Veggies for Dinner at Polkobin, Hunter Valley

Steak and Veggies for Dinner

We didn’t stay for dessert, but we did look at the menu. There appeared to be no chocolate dessert. There were desserts with bits of chocolate in it or white chocolate, but no full chocolate dessert like a cake or mousse. I found that a bit weird and a little disappointing.

Drinks at Harrigans

This place is your typical Irish pub. We found a spot to sit and talk inside near the sports bar area, but were soon told that the chairs had to be moved away as there was a DJ playing soon. I have to say, whoever that DJ was – was absolutely terrible! There was terrible mixing (if any at all), beat matching did not exist, and the same songs were played twice within 30 minutes of each other. They were all typical songs that you hear a resident pub DJ play. It was kinda fun, but seriously, this person should not be allowed to DJ in public when they haven’t even got the basics!

Also, if you plan to get the courtesy bus from Harrigan’s – DON’T. We asked if the bus was going soon and the bus driver said in 10 minutes he would leave. After sitting on the bus for 20 minutes, he came in, turned off the lights and the bus and closed the doors. Maybe he forgot about us? We waited another 10 minutes before deciding to ask what was going on. The bus driver decided he wasn’t allowed to leave until the bus was full. Um… why didn’t you just say that to begin with? We could have caught a taxi home 30 minutes earlier. I was pretty annoyed about that…

(Ps I was sober for this whole experience)

Wine Tour

The company that we booked our bus through was James’ Wine Tours. I could not think of a better way to do this. James is lovely and informative and organizes a great tour. He gives you a run down for the day and then you can modify the schedule if there’s a specific winery you do not want to visit or really want to see. He has multiple buses that can be used, and can seat up to 12 people in each bus. He also has a smaller car for private tours.

The tour also involves stopping for lunch. Whilst I can’t remember the name of the restuarant, it was a cosy and warm atmosphere.There were a few gluten free options available. I chose the chicken and it was a delicious meal to have inbetween the wine tours (although I wasn’t drinking or tasting any wine that day).

Lunch stop for Hunter Valley Wine Tour - Gluten Free Grilled Chicken and Mash

Gluten Free Grilled Chicken and Mash

There were horse drawn carriages outside as well… I’m not sure if this was something the establishment offered or organised as well, but I would think that it would be a fabulous experience to take a hrse drawn carriage through a wine region.

Horse Drawn Carriages in the Hunter Valley

Horse Drawn Carriages in the Hunter Valley

The wineries we went to were:

  • First Creek – I purchased a bottle of Rose.
  • Domaine de Binet – I purchased a Semillon Savingion Blanc & a Tempranillo (Red wine similar to a Shiraz)
  • Hanging Tree Wines – I purchased a Sparkling Moscato

They were all very nice wineries, and I would definitely go back. Even in winter the Hunter Valley was beautiful. I would recommend that everyone visit the Hunter Valley and do a wine tour at least once in their lifetime!

Wines purchased in the Hunter Valley in Winter 2014

Some of the wines I purchased

Have you been on a wine tour in the Hunter Valley? Where would you recommend to go on a wine tour? Share your experiences in the comments!