For a Queenslander, crossing the New South Wales border seems a long way from home. It almost seems counterproductive, like an eskimo visiting the next igloo. But plenty are taking the trek to the resort town of Kingscliff. Salt Village is almost a suburb in its own right, a blend of residence and hotel accommodation, a recreational grass square which fronts onto the beach, and an old-fashioned family holiday feel – bike rides and beach walks for breakfast, burgers at the local pub or cafe for lunch and a relaxed culinary adventure at night. Sometimes at a beach resort the cupboard is bare when it comes to choice, but there's no foregoing food variety here. Imagine half a dozen high-end chefs competing to impress. It's a foodie's delight.
Peppers Salt Resort and Spa rooms aren't beachfront, but they're within a couple of hundred metres of the surf, and there are relaxing lagoon areas. Wicker furniture might be considered by some to be a blast from the 80s and 90s, but when day beds for two are parked around the pool, and modern decor lines chairs of the adjoining cafe, all is forgiven. Gardens of the resort and throughout Salt Village are immaculate, and now established with palms and tropical fauna. The environment sings of a laid-back lifestyle. There's also an on-site day spa, bikes and pedal cars, and a nearby IGA for last-minute essentials.
In the one-bedroom spa suite, turn on the bath, throw in some bubbles, and choose one of 30 free movies you'd be paying for at another resort. The bed is a massive king-size and the lounge would fit the whole family. One of the advantages of resort living is that time is on your side – stay in and utilise the fully equipped kitchen, pull a beer from the fridge or sit back at the dining room table. The south end of the Gold Coast might not technically be the tropics, but timber floors, cool furniture and bright, light colours manage to create a warm environment.
The beauty of being nestled inside Salt Village means that stepping out means exactly that – a 50-metre stroll from the hotel to the shopping strip. Chef Craig Robertson has created an adventurous menu at the resort's own restaurant Season. Kangaroo tartare, for example, comes with a slow-cooked egg yolk, garlic confit and yoghurt sorbet. It's an unusual mix of textures and temperatures, but it works. Don't miss the strawberries and chocolate for dessert, with of course Robertson's deft twist. In the village across the road, there are other options, including a hatted Japanese restaurant, Italian and cafes for lunch.
The resort is well-positioned inside as part of Salt Village and there's plenty to help the time slide by. Lounge chairs around the pool are designed for two and make for great relaxation. While this resort has significant family appeal, there's enough to attract couples for a weekend away. Rooms are well decked out and comfortable, although the balconies are not overly private. And if there's one significant drawback, it's during peak breakfast times. Queues can mean a 20-minute wait and you won't be able to choose where you sit.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Brisbane, it's about a two-hour hike down the M1 to Kingscliff. Without satellite navigation, things can get a little tricky from there. Follow Peppers signs along Tweed Coast Way for about four kilometres, through the traffic lights for another two kilometres, turn left onto Grande Parade, left onto Casuarina Way, and straight ahead to the Salt Village. Follow the road past the shops and the resort will appear on the right-hand side.
Peppers Salt Resort and Spa, Bells Boulevard, Salt Village, South Kingscliff. Hotel rooms kick in at about $183 a night. The one-bedroom spa room starts at about $253 midweek. Prices can rise at weekends, and the resort does sell out during peak times which is unusual for a property of this size. Phone 02 6674 7777, see www.peppers.com.au/salt/.
The writer was a guest of Peppers Salt Resort and Spa.