Buggy-ing Around Novotel Twin Waters Resort

3 October 2013

"We might go for a ride in the buggy and I'll take you around the lagoon," said Nina Jungland, the Sales and Events Executive for the Novotel Twin Waters Resort.

Given that this prime Sunshine Coast resort sits on 14 hectares of stunning Queensland bush – getting around by buggy seemed like a very practical option.

 Novotel Twin Waters Resort

As a complimentary service, the staff regularly chauffeur their guests around the property that was constructed in 1991 and famously served Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 2002.

On this occasion, Nina offered to show me why Twin Waters is the perfect venue for conferences, a beautiful setting for weddings and a great resort for a family getaway.

"Is everyone in?" Nina asks just to make sure.

"From the foyer area, I'll take you over to the Eucalyptus Clearing - it's great for corporate dinners. We just did a dinner for 500 people. Because this is an outdoor bush dinner often conferences will theme the event – such as Daisy Dukes and Cowboys, Arabian, Moroccan as well as Survivor themes."

I begin to sense that Twin Waters takes full advantage of two pivotal factors – the spectacular Australian bush and that glorious sunshine that the region is named and noted for.

Sure they have 10 purpose built conference rooms of differing sizes that can hold between 10 and 1400 delegates, but it becomes apparent that day light and evening events can be held al fresco – a suspicion that's reinforced as we continue on our buggy expedition.

 The Eucalyptus Clearing Set Up For A Survivor Themed Dinner

"This is where our corporate experiences are based. They have a whole activities area on-site. Conferences delegates don't just want to strategise for five full days, they want a break. They want to do team building activities. We are that little bit further out, so we make the most of it. We keep guests here on site but give them different options every day," Nina continues.

"This is really cool. What they've done is set up this laser skirmish area. You get fully kitted out and given laser guns. You have one team in the bunker at the back there and you have another team that comes in from the bush to laser the enemies in the bunker.

"It's team verses team. We're about to rig a pulley system in the trees, so a participant can sniper the opposition from above as they come in from the bush."

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrLO9BpFoaQ[/embed]
I survey what looks to me like a mock army training battle ground complete with spare tyres and mounds to duck for cover. There are also parts of planes that are used in another team building activity, a plane crash survival scenario, where delegates are required to save themselves.

The location with the fixed props adds to the authenticity of the exercise and gives enthusiasts a sense of reality for the game.

I jump back into the buggy - my protection from an invading force and Nina accelerates to safety.

"This is another outdoor dining venue. They're just setting up for a conference dinner tonight – the delegates will be entertained by trapeze and silk artists. The trapeze platform and net are here permanently.

Quite often the dinner will have a carnival theme – so we'll decorate the tables and we can have fire twirlers and stilt walkers. During school holidays, guests can hire the circus performers and do trapeze jumps," said Nina with pride.

 The Lagoon

The centrepiece of the resort is the man-made lagoon. Water is pumped from the adjacent Maroochy River twice daily to keep the lagoon fresh. Mullet and Parrot Fish live in the lagoon.

Nina theorises that they must have come into the waterway when they were smaller and bred because no marine life can enter the lagoon through the pipes now.

All 361 rooms are situated on or around the lagoon. There are 16 overwater lagoon suites contained within four structures – the fifth overwater structure houses the gym and the spa.

There's a one-kilometre path that circles the lagoon, which is perfect for a dusk stroll and the pool is situated on the west side of the waterway.

The lagoon is one of the focal points for families. Kayaks and catamarans sit on the bank just begging to be taken out – the kayaks are also used for a team building exercise dubbed the Novotel Amazing Race, where participants undertake activities such as kayak racing, archery and Putt Putt golf blind-folded.

It's the water trampoline that seems to really capture the kid's imagination. Here youngsters can jump up and down to their heart's content.

 Lily's On The Lagoon Restaurant set up for a Wedding

On the east side of the lagoon is the Twin Water's principle function centre, Lily's On The Lagoon Restaurant. Nina explains that it used to be as an a la carte restaurant but now it's a particular favourite for weddings.

I can certainly see why – the circular structure boasts beautiful exposed beams reminiscent of a boat shed and a wooden verandah that would be ideal for pre-drinks.

There isn't a great need for any additional decoration because the structure and the location over the lagoon set the ambiance perfectly.

"We have a wedding just walking up now from the dedicated wedding lawn on the other side of the lagoon. There they are - heading our way - so we can't stay too long because we don't want to gate crash their event," Nina said.

"Lily's is already booked out during the peak wedding period for next year. It sits 200 people at a maximum but really only 180 people with a dance floor and bridal table.

There are so many locations around the property for photographs and bridal parties can also walk to the public beach as well. We have special wedding buggies with decorative ribbons to help guests travel around the grounds faster. We can also arrange for fireworks from Lily's."

While it's terrific to explore the property courtesy of a buggy, it's even cooler to sign up for a two wheel All Terrain Segway Xperience tour.

Since the recent legislation change in Queensland, the Twin Waters Segway Tours not only take enthusiasts along the property's mountain bike paths but also on the public roads to admire the nearby patrolled Mudjimba Beach.

 Segway Tour

A Segway Tour sounds like a fantastic option, so after Nina drops me off at the impressive lobby that doubles as a wet weather venue when it rains, I head straight to the activities desk to put my name down for the next Segway expedition.

From four wheels to two wheels… Sunshine Coast here I come!

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.