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Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort

Welcome to Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort, a boutique Balinese-style hotel minus the Bali airfares, passports, or crazy traffic. This modern resort is a short walk from the beach and hidden away from any nasty distractions like freeways, shopping malls or nightclubs. However, its quiet location in the beachside suburb of Casuarina doesn’t mean you are isolated. This beautiful part of the northern New South Wales coast comes with a selection of great cafes and restaurants, galleries, museums, and boutiques which are all only a quick walk or a short drive away.

Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort
The Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort

Arriving at the Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort can be tricky for first-time travellers as it blends in with its surroundings, and the driveway is on tucked around a corner. When you arrive, you’re greeted with a large carved doorway that opens to deliver you to a little tropical oasis of frangipani, fountains, and a swimming pool that channels the soothing resorts that Bali is famous for. Reception is to the right of the entry and open from 7 am to 9 pm, with after-hours service available if needed.

Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort Studio Pool room
Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort Studio Pool Room

Fresh from a multimillion-dollar refurbishment, the Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort has had new furniture, painting, and extensive landscaping done to refresh and reinvigorate areas that took the brunt of sun, weather and wear and tear. All of the 100 spacious self-contained apartments are now refreshed and available in Studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom configurations. The biggest choice comes down to your room’s location with the pick for couples being a Pool Studio with direct pool access (which we had). Family can opt for one- and two-bedroom apartments for space.

Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort  Pool Deck
Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort Pool Deck

All the facilities at Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort are first class, with a stunning resort pool area with multiple sun lounges, sitting areas and a choice of a heated pool and a large spa pool available. Be advised that the pool sun lounges are hot property and fill up fast but they’re turned over as the day goes by. Pool towels are available in the room and reception. The Wellness Spa is another area worth investigating and will take you right back to warm Bali days and pampering with its luxe ambience and tropical style.

Dining at Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort is limited but outstanding with its destination restaurant, Spice Den, taking pride of place across from reception. This pan-Asian restaurant is a local and visitor favourite and is open Wednesday to Friday from 5 pm and Saturday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. This dining option is also available for room service and pool side service (when the restaurant is open), with a bar and snack menu delivered right to your deck chair. Spice Den does book out, especially on weekends, so pre-book or prepare to enjoy room service on your balcony.

Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort  Sudio Room
Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort bathroom

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If you miss out on Spice Den, there are plenty of other high-quality eats available only a short stroll away—and I mean five minutes across the street. In The Commons Casuarina shopping village you’ll find Tucker café for breakfast and lunch, The Crafty Cow Bar & Smokehouse for lunch and dinner, and Jordy’s Casuarina which serves wood-fired pizza for dinner or you can get takeaway.

Out of these options, our pick is Tucker as it is outstanding and so good we went there for breakfast AND lunch. But if you are time-poor or have a deck chair you don’t want to leave, there are pod machines with Coffee Club coffee pods in all of the rooms and breakfast packs available from reception, or a breakfast hamper can be preordered for you to BBQ on your deck or cook up in the kitchen. Dinner and nibbles packs are also available from reception, plus there’s also Coles supermarket and a bottle shop across the road from The Commons if you want to self-cater.

A beachside bikeway is only a short stroll or ride away with a pristine coastline to explore. Bike hire is available at Oaks Casuarina Santai Resort, but bookings are advised as a limited number is available. The only downside of the beach near the Oaks Santai Casuarina is that it’s only patrolled on weekends. For patrolled beaches, you can drive or ride to Kingscliff or Cabarita, which both have a surf club with an extensive lunch menus, cheap drinks and a great beach view.

If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous pool at the resort, there are some great things to do nearby. My recommendations are Murwillumbah, the Margaret Olley Art Centre at the Tweed Regional Gallery, hiring an e-bike and exploring the new Northern Rivers Rail Trail or a food and distillery tour that offers loads of mouthwatering treats. Oaks Santai Casuarina Resort and its surrounds have all the things you might want for a romantic weekend with your partner or a family getaway on the school holidays. Our first visit won’t be our last!

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail
The Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Disclosure: The writers stayed as guests of Oaks Santai Casuarina Resort and would not hesitate to visit this resort again at their own expense.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.