Diving Into Discovery: The Interactive Zones of the Marine Discovery Centre

Welcome to The Marine Discovery Centre Hastings Point, one of Australia’s largest, privately funded museums and most importantly, located inside Tasman Holiday Park – North Star.

The Marine Discovery Centre is designed for many purposes: to inspire and educate people of all ages, for visitors to understand and care for the aquatic environment, its inhabitants and vital eco-systems and learn about the unprecedented challenges of climate change, marine litter and plastic waste, pollutants and fishing.

The Centre is a showcase of state-of-the-art light and sound technology, fitted with interactive digital terminals and world-class marine and coastal science display and hosts not only educational programmes for schools and park guests, but also those visiting the world class Tweed area.



In the 1960s, passionate environmentalist Ted Brambleby began collecting specimens for the Marine Discovery Centre. He spent his days showcasing displays from the boot of his car, driving coastal roads and stopping to educate beachgoers, scuba divers, snorkellers and like-minded ocean lovers along the way. Together with business partner and teacher Kerrie Trees in 1999, they created the unique opportunity to host camps and day visits for students, teachers, community groups and holiday makers at Hastings Point Caravan Park.

In 2008, thanks to the generosity of then owners of North Star Holiday Resort at Hastings Point, Ian and Diana Beadel, Ted and Kerrie relocated their resource centre and collections to the Resort. With ongoing future education very much the focus, it was agreed Ted’s collection would remain at North Star to carry on his legacy and to ensure the collection can be appreciated for many years to come.


Marine Discovery Centre


Interactive Zones and Exhibits

Explore the diverse interactive zones within the Centre, including Wallum Heathland, Beaches and Dunes, Mangroves, Rocky Shore, and Temperate Reefs​​​​.


Wallum Heathland

When the last Ice Age ended about 12,000 years ago, sea levels rose and brought the Tweed shoreline 500m inland. When sea levels dropped again, the ocean left sandy beaches and dunes trapped behind the main beach dunes. This is where Wallum heathland burst to life. In this ecosystem, there is an evolutionary battle for survival. Only those plants and animals able to tolerate the extreme conditions of the edge survive.



Beaches and Dunes

The sand on Australia’s eastern beaches originates from a long belt of granite stretching from Stanthorpe to Armidale. It formed about 240 million years ago when magma deep below the Earth’s crust rose and slowly cooled. Over time, the granite weathered into smaller particles as it flowed through waterways to the ocean.The sand dunes that stretch up from the beach form a barrier that protects the ecosystems behind it from the ravages of the ocean and salt air.




Sediments in our mangroves and surrounding areas originate from the erosion of the massive Wollumbin volcano (Mount Warning), which formed some 23 million years ago.The mangrove ecosystems are vital nurseries for fish. They protect us from storms, clean the water and are home to young fish, crabs and a host of other animals. Migratory and resident shorebirds also depend on the rich supply of food found in mangrove mud and nearby mudflats. Mangroves are one of the most productive and diverse ecosystems on the planet.



Rocky Shores

The rocky shore of Hastings Point contain our oldest rocks, formed around 370 million years ago when the coastline was 200km inland. Sediments from an ancient volcanic mountain chain on the edge of this coastline washed into deep ocean trenches. Over time, pressure and heat cemented these sediments into rocks. The rocks emerged at the surface as sea levels dropped and the Earth’s outer crust buckled, cracked and warped.



Temperature Reefs

Australia’s temperate reefs are home to coral species found nowhere else in the world. Temperate reefs have adapted to warming oceans faster than tropical reefs, so they could act as refuges for tropical coral species that might otherwise be lost to climate change.



Educational Programs and Activities

School excursions are the perfect opportunity for students to discover and learn from a different perspective and one that doesn’t involve the classroom. Children from pre school age up until senior high school levels will benefit with tailor made programmes designed to inspire and educate relevant and appropriate to their learning capabilities.

A balance of learning and fun consistently earns the Centre the tick of approval from students and teachers alike.

With four, easily accessible coastal ecosystems, Hastings Point is a ‘living classroom’. It features an unsurpassed intertidal rock platform; healthy mangrove wetland and tidal estuary; stretches of beaches and sand dune forests that extend back into a Wallum Heathland; and freshwater Paperbark Tea Tree wetlands.

Kayaking trips through the crystal-clear waters of the estuary, nature walks along the foreshore and orienteering are popular choices to foster team building and collaboration.

Factor in an hour or two of fun at North Star’s famous waterpark, with its heated 8.2 metre high slides and splash park, and teachers will have a tough time getting the kids back on the bus when it’s time to go home.



Tasman Holiday Parks – North Star enables teachers to build their own camp program across a range of nature, science-based and team-building sessions, and activities. Packages can include catering, accommodation, all activities and entertainment which can include in addition to the Marine Discovery Centre:

  • Kayaking
  • Guided nature walks facilitated by one of North Star’s knowledgeable eco-guides (choose from Hasting Point Rocky Shore, Wallum Heathland or Sand Dunes)
  • Sandcastle building and beach games (sporting equipment available)
  • Orienteering
  • Meditation and mindfulness sessions
  • Shoreline plastic and enviro care


In addition, Marine Discovery Centre is also available to immerse your delegates, colleagues or guests in a fascinating world of underwater creatures and their precious marine environment at your next conference, meeting, seminar, lecture or event.

 Kayaking hastings Point


Commitment to Conservation

Tasman Holiday Park – North Star is one of few nationally to achieve the globally recognised Eco-Tourism Australia certification. Their strong, long-term commitment to sustainability has seen the implementation of more than 50 environmental and sustainable initiatives, including re-establishing native habitats for Eastern Water Dragons and Bush Stone-Curlews.

Our residential community benefit from fresh produce grown in onsite community gardens, fertilized by the onsite compost heap. Ripples Licensed Cafe produce is sourced from the local area to support local farmers. North Star offers a healthy, smoke-free environment at the park, provides discounts on coffee served in reusable cups and continually replants gardens with drought-tolerant native plants.


Visitor Information

Each week, one of our passionate Marine Discovery Centre eco-guides will conduct a two-hour presentation where you can immerse yourself in the wonders of the deep, and the shallows too!

At this interesting and informative session, we will share our incredible knowledge of the marine environment during a guided tour of the Centre. You’ll also have the chance to get up close and personal (via the microscope) with some of its interesting inhabitants and participate in a Q&A session.

After the presentation, you are welcome to spend some more time exploring the Centre’s showcase of state-of-the-art light and sound technology, interactive digital terminals and marine and coastal science displays or combine your ticket with a lunch onsite at Ripples Café.

All ages welcome, children under the age of 3 are free.

Open each Saturday at 10am for the 2 hour session

General Admission – Adult $13/Child $9

Admission + Lunch – Adult $29/Child $16

Family Admission (2 adults & 2 children) – $38



Our engagement and relationship with nature is paramount to the wellbeing of our ocean-planet home.  Marine Discovery Centre strives to always seek out new ways of delivering scientific information to all and allowing the formulation of our social conscience about our environment. We want to inspire people to experience nature and encourage adults and children alike to become empowered to take responsibility for protecting our oceans, beaches, rock pools, creeks, rivers now and into the future.

We invite you to explore and immerse yourself in a new exciting experience at Marine Discovery Centre next time you are staying in park at Tasman Holiday Park – North Star or visiting the local region.


Book your experience online here  https://marinediscovery.com.au/visit/tickets