Marine Discovery Centre Hastings Point

entry to Marine Discovery Centre

After a million-dollar transformation in early 2021, North Star’s Marine Discovery Centre in Hastings Point now features a state-of-the-art learning facility that is open to both the public and resort guests on Saturdays and during each school holiday period.

Mother and children looking at marine displays

About the Marine Discovery Centre

With an aim to help people of all ages understand and care for the aquatic environment, its inhabitants and vital eco-systems, the Marine Discovery Centre has been designed to inspire and educate. Here, visitors can learn about the challenges the ocean and its inhabitants face due to climate change, pollution, plastic waste and marine litter, and fishing. 

Moving away from a ‘look but don’t touch’ approach, the Marine Discovery Centre encourages inquisition and nurtures young scientists to learn more about caring for our oceans sea life away from the classroom and textbooks. 

coral reef display at Marine Discovery Centre

What to expect

Featuring world-class marine and coastal science displays, the Marine Discovery Centre is fitted out with interactive digital terminals and state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology. The centre is divided into ‘zones’ to cover each of the important environmental areas it aims to educate about:

Wallum Heathland

When sea levels rose following the Ice Age around 12,000 years ago, the Tweed shoreline was brought 500m inland. As the sea levels dropped again, sandy beaches and dunes were trapped behind the original main sand dunes, forming the Wallum Heathland. This ecosystem sees only the strong surviving, with just the toughest animals and plants being able to tolerate the extreme conditions.

Beaches & Dunes

Originating from a long belt of granite stretching from Stanthorpe to Armidale, the beaches along the east coast of Australia formed around 240 million years ago. These dunes form an important barrier that protects the ecosystems behind them. The plants that colonise these dunes trap the sand, helping establish the right conditions for bigger trees and plants to flourish.

Mangroves

Our mangrove ecosystems are vital. Not only do they form the perfect environment for nurseries for fish and other animals, but they clean the water and protect us from storms. Birds, both migratory and resident, also depend on the rich supply of food they find in this diverse and productive ecosystem.

Rocky Shores

Formed around 370 million years ago, the rocky shores of Hastings Point contain sediments from an ancient volcanic mountain chain. This sediment formed rocks over a long period of time with substantial pressure and heat. The ecosystems of the rocky shores are now composed of solid rock and protect animals, such as the crabs, periwinkles and barnacles that call these areas home, from the constant wave action and tides.

Temperate Reefs

Home to coral species not found anywhere else in the world, Australia’s temperate reefs have adapted to warming oceans faster than tropical reefs.

visitor looking at marine items on table

School excursions & camps

School groups are welcomed to the Marine Discovery Centre, with a dedicated team of passionate educators hosting inspiring private visits for students. Focusing on the belief that engagement and a relationship with nature is paramount to our wellbeing and to the wellbeing of our ocean-planet home, the educational team at the Marine Discovery Centre aim to inspire youth to consider their individual footprints and, in turn, empower themselves to take responsibility for protecting our oceans and waterways.

On-site Marine Biology Camps for students from the lower primary grades up to year 12, undergraduate courses and TAFE, can provide syllabus outcomes customised to your current area of study. These camps are both informative and a lot of fun and provide real hands-on experiences for students.

A purpose-built space for lectures, seminars, social and business events and group gatherings has also been set up in the centre, providing a unique environment to host your next event.

Father and son looking at marine displays

Eco-Tourism Certification

Now internationally recognised through the Global Sustainable Tourism Council with an official Eco-Tourism Australia certification, North Star has created more than 50 environmental and sustainable initiatives and is one of only two certified Eco-Tourism resorts in NSW. This certification gives tourists an assurance that the resort has a strong commitment to sustainability and quality – something North Star is incredibly proud of. The resort is committed to minimising their carbon and human footprint, as evidenced by the many initiatives they have implemented on-site and with the creation of the Marine Discovery Centre, which dates back 60 years.

For more information, including opening times and group bookings, head to the Marine Discovery Centre website.

North Star Holiday Resort, waterslides, holiday resort

About North Star Holiday Resort

The Marine Discovery centre is located within the grounds of North Star Holiday Resort, a family favourite in northern NSW. This amazing family holiday location features accommodation options to suit all budgets, awesome facilities including a kids’ club and water park, as well as a day spa and heated lap pool for the adults.

Find out more about this amazing place to stay here.

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