Where to stay around the region this long weekend
YOU might have an itch to get away this long weekend and need a last minute option because you were too disorganised to have booked in advance.
Perhaps you have some cash to splash and would like to indulge in some beachside luxury.
Or you could be completely spent - after two weeks juggling the kids' holiday activities and your Monday to Friday work routine - and need to down the dishwashing cloth and get away somewhere quiet and remote.
Well, from an Alstonville country farmhouse with pool, a Suffolk Park beach paradise, a lodge on the Clarence River, or an old country pub, the Northern Star has gathered a handful of different accommodation options to pique your interest.
We've scoured accommodation website Airbnb, local tourism information centres, and good old Google to dig up some Northern Rivers gold.
1. YOUR DREAM FAMILY HOME: Large, comfortable rural home, Dalwood near Alstonville
PROS: Awesome hospitality, quiet but with plenty of little farm activities for the kids like picking berries and eggs, plus a pool
CONS: Have to drive anywhere.
WHAT IS IT LIKE: Want to get away from it all but not drive too far and still have family-friendly comforts like a pool and a nice kitchen? This is a beautiful rural property with plenty of gardens, trees, and quiet spaces, a pool for the kids and it's not far from Alstonville village.
You will share your experience with owner Leona, who offers a choice of three different bedrooms for you and your family. There are dogs and chickens (from which you will eat eggs) so it's genuine rural experience.
2. BEACHSIDE LUXURY: Tuckeroo Beach House, Suffolk Park
PROS: Exclusive position, beach on your doorstep, dunes, Broken Head not far away.
CONS: Expensive, Byron can get busy.
WHAT IS IT LIKE: Yes it's expensive, but it's 30 metres from the beach at Suffolk Park in a gated community, has all the mod cons, and actually sleeps up to eight guests across five bedrooms.
The Airbnb pitch: "A large family entertainer with wraparound decks, views of world-quality surf and 30 metres walk across the private dunes to the water or open the ancient Indian gate to the nearby beach path.
"Tuckeroo has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, indoor and outdoor dining, a massive living room with vaulted oregon and red cedar ceilings and a large downstairs family entertainment room leading onto the garden."
All bedrooms have air-conditioning.
"A barbeque and outdoor dining area is on the verandah surrounded by native hibiscus, banksias and casaurinas. Enjoy a sunset cocktail on the Javanese daybed or relax on the outdoor lounge while looking at the surf through the treetops.
Tuckeroo (from the flowering sub-tropical rainforest tree endemic to the region) is located in the exclusive gated-estate of the Tuckeroo Beach Resort which comprises 14 homes and is surrounded by the Arakwal National Park."
3. A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN PUB: Historic Rappville Pub, Rappville
PRICE: $26 per night per person.
PROS: Cheap, unique, random
CONS: May get busy at night
WHAT IS IT LIKE: Everyone has to visit Rappville at least once in their lives. Perhaps this is your time? A good-old country pub - what more can you say?
The Airbnb spiel: "Our Pub was built in 1911. and has been heritage listed. If you want an aussie country pub experience, then this is the pub for you. Our motto is 'nothing is too much trouble'. We have live music every Sunday and provide lunch and dinner."
4. A CLASSIC AUSSIE BEACHSIDE LONG WEEKEND: Evans Head Bowlo Holiday Cabins
PRICE: $189 a night, for a family of four. Includes two separate bedrooms (a queen bed and two singles); kitchen/lounge/dining area, deck with an outdoor setting, and own bathroom.
PROS: A classic beach family holiday, with
CONS: Unless you don't like Evans Head, there is none.
WHAT'S IT LIKE: These cabins are in the best position of pretty much anything in Evans Head, one of the region's most laid-back family friendly destinations.
They are just half a block from the main beach, right next door to the bowling club, and two blocks from the shops, with a short walk to the pristine Evans River.
5. A WILDERNESS GETAWAY: Clarence River Wilderness Lodge, north of Tabulam
PRICE: $140 per night for a family of four ($110 for two adults, $15 per child). Includes self-contained cabins with double bed and single bunks, hot shower, en suite toilet, and full kitchen.
PROS: A stunning location on the Northern Rivers' greatest river of all, the Clarence. You couldn't find a better place to get away from, well, pretty much everything.
CONS: Have fun driving down the 7km driveway! A long, slow drive from Tabulam.
WHAT'S IT LIKE: The Clarence River Wildnerness Lodge offers, swimming, canoeing, bushwalking, stargazing, and more natural stuff which you and your kids will love once you switch off from those pesky devices. There's actually a number of ways to stay at Clarence River Wilderness Lodge, this is just the easiest (the others involve camping or sleeping in an "bushman's hut" - essentially a bunk room).
From the website: "Picture your next wilderness escape; yourself and your family playing in the cool calm waters of the Clarence River or taking river side strolls during the day. In the evenings you will retire to your intimate cabin to relax around the fire or gaze at the unpolluted star studded night sky.
"Hot showers and a slow combustion wood heater will keep you warm and cosy. There is also an outdoor paved open fireplace with barbeque, for those who enjoy food cooked over an open fire and evenings under the stars. The Clarence River Wilderness Lodge has two of these rustic cabins, one of them will accommodate 4 people and the other will hold 8."