10 budget holiday parks worthy of your next beach break
Sunshine, sand, and surf… is there really any better holiday combination in this life?
I can think of only one: when you combine your beach break with a budget stay.
Holiday parks are the crème de la crème when it comes to an affordable getaway, and not just for those planning on pitching a tent or hauling their campervan ’round. If you prefer fuss-free when you’ve clocked on to vacay time, keep in mind that holiday parks serve up a range of accommodation options to suit budget-conscious travellers.
From couples to full-on Brady Bunch broods, you can find self-contained cabins, villas, and even glamping suites to suit your needs and bank account – I’m talking for under $100/night, yo.
So, the next time you plan an affordable beach break, check out these budget holidays parks all within a 10-minute radius from the salty seas.
Fraser Lodge Holiday Park, Hervey Bay
Want to base yourself on the Fraser Coast but would prefer to save your pennies for the all the awesome things to do there?
Then book into the Fraser Lodge Holiday Park in Hervey Bay, stat.
Don’t let the price fool you, because even though it seems ridiculous just how affordable their villas and cabins are, rest assured you can still expect a quality stay (and have some mula left over for whale watching and Fraser Island day trips).
Starting at $120/night for their easy-breezy Palm Cabins, ranging up to $130/night for the spacious Garden Spa Villa or cosy Couples Retreat, these guys have everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Kitted out with two swimming pools, a games room, kids playground and two camp kitchens with BBQ facilities scattered throughout, you’re pretty much sorted if you’d prefer to DIY your own entertainment and food.
But if you want to take advantage of the local goodness, you’ve only got to walk five minutes down to Torquay’s Esplanade, where you’ll find a range of eateries and boutique shops, plus the calm waters of the main beach (perfect for stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking, which you can hire from Aquavue).
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Cannonvale
Who says a trip to the Whitsundays has to cost you an arm and a leg (and your first born)?
Set on 26 acres of lush parkland only five minutes from Cannonvale Beach (and 10 minutes from the main strip of Airlie Beach), what you’ll find at the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort can only be described as a holiday park on steroids.
We wouldn’t blame you if you barely ventured out during your stay, with poolside massage pavilions, a grocery delivery service, heck, even their own Animal Park where you can cuddle alpacas and goats!
And for the kids, the fun literally never stops, with tennis, mini golf, water slides, pedal karts, Kids Club, outdoor movies, and board games (and that’s just the start!) all on-site.
But the best part? You get all of this for as little as $95/night, which is the starting rate for their studio cabins. If you’d like a little more space, you can also bunker down in their newly refurbished one and two-bedroom cottages and villas, starting from $135/night.
Keswick Island Camping and Glamping, Mackay Region
So it’s not really a holiday park, but if you want to give your Whitsundays holiday ‘island’ status, you’re best off setting your sights on the natural wonderland that is Keswick Island Camping and Glamping.
Made up by national park, sub-tropical rainforest, white sands and fringing coral reefs, Keswick is one of the southern-most Whitsunday Islands and can be accessed directly from the Mackay Coast via water or air.
For those who like the outdoors but can’t bare to be without the creature comforts of home, you can skip past the regular tent-city for a stay in one of the island’s glamping suites.
Set on the leafy hillside within a stones throw of Basil Bay (aka one of the most beautiful beaches in Queensland), the safari tents sit on a timber deck and boast a comfy camp bed with mattress, linen and towels provided, deck chairs and table, plus access to all campsite and Basil Bay Hut facilities.
It’s almost like staying in a hotel, but for a fraction of the cost at $80/suite per night for two people.
Captain Cook Holiday Village, Seventeen Seventy
Australian history buffs aren’t the only holiday goers who’d be thrilled to stay at the Captain Cook Holiday Village.
While the Town of 1770 is well-known for its historic background as the second landing site of James Cook, it’s also the perfect destination for anyone keen on a low-key beachside escape.
Set in two and a half hectares of calm bush setting, the holiday park backs onto a secluded beach with great surf.
And when you’ve had your fill of lazy beach days, you’ve got the Southern Great Barrier Reef at your fingertips to play with (hola snorkel and dive trips to Fitzroy Reef and Lady Musgrave Island).
Accommodation at the park is varied to suit a range of wants and needs: If basic is the aim, go for the open-plan bungalows with double bed and triple bunks, and small kitchenette, starting from $88/night (with shared outdoor bathroom facilities).
If you want to splurge a bit more on space and convenience, you’ve also got the super cute Garden Deluxe Cabins and roomy two-bedroom Villas from $125/night.
Tannum Sands Discovery Holiday Park, Gladstone Region
If you’re after a family getaway that won’t break the bank, set your sights on Tannum Sands Holiday Park.
With its endless esplanade, lush parklands dotted with bright blue pavilions and kids playgrounds, and golden beaches offering a mix of calm and protected to wind surf-worthy, it’s hard to imagine how this sleepy coastal town isn’t flooded with tourists year-round.
Nestled in quiet bushland, facing the estuary where the salty seas of the main beach combine with the freshwater of Wild Cattle Creek, Discovery Holiday Park is just shy of the main strip but close enough that you don’t really need a car if you want to explore.
Money-conscious travellers can opt for the simple standard Budget Cabins starting from $89/night, but if you really want that vacay-feel, go for the stylin’ Delux Villas with terracotta tiling and spacious balcony from $149/night.
Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park, Mission Beach
No traffic lights, no crowds, and no chain stores… yep, if you want to get off the beaten tourist track, you couldn’t pick a better destination than Mission Beach.
How this coastal paradise has managed to stay on the down-low for so long beats me, especially since it’s nestled between two World Heritage-listed wonders – the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest – and is filled to the brim with natural beauty and adventure.
If you want to take full advantage of its earth-porn charm (and save your dollar bills for dive/snorkel sessions, white-water rafting and island day trips), you can’t go past a beachfront cabin at the Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park in South Mission.
Facing the Coral Sea with views out to Dunk Island, you’ll find yourself with a double bed and bunk bed, kitchenette, AC and small patio for as little as $105/night. #bargain
But if you’d prefer to pass up views for more space, there’s also the ensuite cabins and villas starting from $130/night located closer to the park’s facilities, which include a large swimming pool, games room, shaded playground, and tennis/basketball court.
And FYI, the BYO restaurant and kiosk on-site does a mean fish ‘n’ chips.
(Heading up over a long weekend? Make sure you check out this three-day guide.)
Maroochydore Beach Holiday Park, Sunshine Coast
Barefoot and bathers – the standard attire during a stay at the Maroochydore Beach and Holiday Park.
With nothing between you and the ocean, your days will become one long and lazy blur as you flit between your villa and the patrolled beach at your doorstep (with the epic surf of Alexandra Headland to your right and the calmer waters of the Maroochy River mouth to your left).
When you finally decide to venture out of your beach bubble (and put some clothes on), you’re in a central position to explore all sides of the Sunshine Coast – from the coastal ‘burbs down to Caloundra or up to Noosa, out to the freshwater swimming holes and mountain villages of the hinterland.
Tip: Try and book in during their off-season, when you can score one of their six villas (decked out with all the mod cons of home) for a weekly rate starting from $107/night.
Straddie Camping, North Stradbroke Island
Easy accessible? Tick. Plenty to do? Tick. Affordable? Oh, you betcha.
North Stradbroke Island is a top contender when it comes to easy beach breaks, with kilometres of gorgeous sands (perfect for beach 4WDing and sand-boarding), scenic walks, freshwater lakes, and waters teeming with marine life, all just a one-hour ferry ride from Brisbane.
While camping is usually the most popular option for budget travellers, those who’d prefer to ditch the sleeping bags and swags can hole up in one of Straddie Camping‘s self-contained cabins sitting under the native cotton trees of Amity Point Camp Ground.
Starting from $109/night, the standard and ensuite cabins are basic but quaint, coming with a frying pan, microwave, bar fridge and sweet, sweet aircon (the campground also has two undercover camp kitchens with electric BBQ’s, power outlets, sinks, and picnic tables).
But you’ll hardly be spending your time indoors anyway, not when there’s snorkelling, beachcombing, fishing, and dolphin feeding down at the jetty to keep you busy.
(Psst, if it’s a quick weekend jaunt you’ve got planned, check out this 48-hour guide to the island’s best-kept secrets.)
Main Beach Tourist Park, Gold Coast
Skyscrapers are cool and all, but if you want more of a down-to-earth, no-fuss kind of Gold Coast holiday – while still staying central to all the action – try the Main Beach Tourist Park .
Even though you’re only a two-minute drive from Surfers Paradise, you’ll still feel far enough away from the hustle as you jump across the road for a surf at Main Beach or coffee-hop through the trendy cafes of Tedder Avenue.
While there’s a seasonally heated pool, playground and recreation area on the grounds to keep the young ones occupied, when you want to treat them to those token GC experiences, you’ve only got to head within a 3km radius to find Sea World, Timezone, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, Australia Fair Shopping Centre and the rock pool water playground at Broadwater Parklands.
All two and three-bedroom villas at the park are fully self-contained to suit a variety of holiday goers from romantic couples to 10-person families, starting from $115/night.
Great Keppel Holiday Village, Great Keppel Island
They don’t call it ‘great’ for no reason, folks.
Sitting just off the Capricorn Coast, Great Keppel Island caters to both extremes of the holiday spectrum: do absolutely nothing but eat, swim, sleep, repeat, or adventure-the-hell outta the place.
With its 17 beaches and coves – many with fringing reefs just off shore – and excellent bushwalking trails to explore, it ain’t surprising that many people opt for the latter.
The Great Keppel Holiday Village makes it a cinch as well, with FREE snorkel and SUP gear when you book into any of their accommodations – handy considering you’re less than a minute’s walk from two perfect swimming beaches.
There are a variety of options from campsites to holiday houses, but if you’re going for that middle range between not sleeping on the floor but not splashin’ out, go for their Decked Tents or Cabins.
The Decked Tents take on the glamping trend with a timber platform, double beds, white steamed linen, lights, fans, and a small deck with outdoor furniture from $110/night.
If you’d prefer to have your own bathroom and kitchen facilities, the ensuite cabins can accommodate up to four people from $140/night.
*Please note the temporary closure of all Queensland campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.