If you are looking for the best value resort holidays or a great value destination, for couples or adult friends in Australia this list gives you some amazing options (what’s ‘cheap’ is different for each person ).

A quick overview – a cheap holiday versus good value for money

When I was a travel agent everyone would tell me they wanted the ‘cheapest’ hotel available.

When I asked a few more questions it turned out this wasn’t entirely true. What they actually wanted was for their holiday to be how they imagined it to be in a price range they were comfortable with.

In reality, absolutely no-one actually wanted the cheapest hotel available – the $60 a night dump 15km from the town centre!

So if you are looking for good value resorts in popular holiday towns around Australia have a look at some of the fabulous options below. They still offer many of the same facilities as some of the 5 star resorts but often at a significantly lower price as long as you book in advance.

You will of course sacrifice some things for the reduced price tag – you can’t expect to have it all (although sometimes you can nab a great bargain on Luxury Escapes of Groupon packages). But you can definitely find amazing options with the facilities that are most important for you!

Island Resort Holidays

Fitzroy Island – Cairns

Image by Agoda: Click to see more resort photos on Agoda

Fitzroy Island is a beautiful, relaxed Island off the coast of cairns where you can bushwalk, snorkel off the beach to spot turtles and enjoy stunning sunset views from Foxys bar. This is a lovely resort, with a pool (with a limited hours swim-up bar) and two restaurants on a beautiful national park Island, not a luxury resort.

The ‘Resort Studio Rooms are the best value (you can sometimes get these rooms on a deal from Groupon with some great inclusions), but it’s also often very reasonably priced booking directly through websites like Booking.com and Agoda. These rooms don’t have a view but you can spend the money you save on cocktails and reef trips!

Image by Agoda: The Resort Studio rooms on Fitzroy Island are often excellent value for money for an Island Holiday.

If you prefer a guaranteed ocean view you MUST book a room called a ‘Welcome Bay Suite’ which is on the top floor. Some of the other suites do have ocean views but they are not guaranteed. You will pay a substantial amount more for these more spacious rooms and in peak season they may be similar in price somewhere like Hamilton Island.

Things to Do on Fitzroy Island

Snorkel right out the front straight off the beach. The reef out the front is degraded from bleaching (there is a lot of conservation work happening to help regenerate it and this is widespread across other parts of the reef) but don’t let this turn you off as turtles are regularly spotted snorkelling straight off the beach!

You can also head to the Great Barrier reef with Sunlover Tours directly from the Island as they pick up on the way as well as diving through the Island Dive shop.

To summarise, book a Resort Studio Room to save your money for reef trips and beach view cocktails as well as bushwalks on the Island.

Travelling super budget? You can also camp beachside on Fitzroy Island!


Imagine Drift – Palm Cove Queensland

Right in the centre of Palm Cove (a beach town 26 minutes drive north of Cairns) and walking distance from everything, Imagine drift offers a beautiful lagoon pool surrounded by towering paperbark trees.

It has studio rooms and apartments so there are good value options for couples, solo travellers or mates wanting separate beds but also families who would love the option to put their kids to bed in a separate room so you can sit up at night. That means this is also a good resort for a multi couple/family or multi-generational family trip.

While there is no swim-up bar at Imagine drift there are several small bars and cafes right next door or just take your own drinks down in a subtle plastic cup 😉 (there is a bottle shop walking distance from the pool).


The importance of planning the right holiday for YOU

For most people, our annual holiday is one of the most important and special things we buy each year. It’s an investment in experiences we have often dreamed of for years and will talk about for many more to come.

This is why you need to ask yourself some questions when planning your holiday.

Questions like:

What things can’t I live without my resort having?

Is it a swim up bar, a view from the room or a beachfront location?

How much time will I really spend in my resort or room? Is your holiday about relaxing by the pool or exploring the destination?

Is a rental car key to the freedom I want to explore and area?

Then ask yourself are these things more important than the length of the holiday or the other things you need in the budget.

For example, do you really want to spend time in your room cooking to save money (this may be how you fit it in your budget) or would you rather be out trying local cafes? Would you like to relax on your room balcony or rather spend your time out on adventures?

For each person, the most important things will be different. You have no idea how much variance there is in what people value while on holidays.

Close your eyes and imagine what your holiday will look and feel like. What can you do to make it happen within your budget. Can you go for 3 days instead of 5 for that ultimate luxury retreat or location? Is your holiday really going to be how you imagined if your room has no view? Or do you see your room as just a bed and if you stay in a more budget hotel or room type you can stay twice as long and really relax.

I can’t tell you how many disappointed people I’ve seen who weren’t willing to spend a tiny bit more cash to make there holiday what they imaged. Ultimately, once they saw the alternative they wished they had but often by then it was too late to upgrade or get what they really wanted. I’m not suggesting spending well beyond your means, but sometimes the difference between what you book and what you imagined might be easily covered by something like skipping takeaway friday nights for the month before you go.

Think about your priorities and choose what you need to do to make it happen.

Happy holiday dreaming, and don’t forget you can hold in most hotels with no deposit and free cancellation through booking.com.

Tips to get the holiday you want

Pay for what you really want straight up

Hotels can’t guarantee anything. Fitting guests in is like a jigsaw puzzle and unless you pay for what you want it may not happen. They try there best but if you are one of 100 people for the night that wrote ‘ocean views or high floor please’ on your request for a room type that only has that for some rooms someone is going to miss out and chances are good it will be you.

Want to enjoy ocean views or high views of the city? Make sure you pick a room type that GUARANTEES IT in the room description such as ‘all with ocean views’ or ‘floor 35 and above’. If it says ‘some with‘ there is no guarantee you will get the room you imagine.

Use your judgement on listening to reviews

Don’t ignore reviews but don’t take them as gospel either. Aways look at the context of the review? Is the person winging about flies in the outback in summer as part of their review (these reviews really happen!!!)? Chances are good it’s not an unbiased or sensible opinion on the rest of the experience. That been said, those reviews can help you to identify destinations that may not be for you.

Pay attention to hotel ratings

Is the resort your picking $250 a night 4 stars but with everything you want? Yes it’s a still a lot of money but have a realistic expectation. It will probably be a super fun holiday but don’t go expecting $1000 a night 5 star service and experiences.

Default image
I passionate advocate of Australian Travel and I love everything from bushwalking, camping and four wheel driving to luxury hotels, gourmet vegetarian meals and nice wineries. But most of all I just love beautiful outdoor destinations. And its all in our backyard! So go on, get out there and see Australia- you might just fall in love! My Top 5. The Kimberley. Outback Australia. The Great Ocean Road. Tasmania's National Parks. Far North QLD's Reef & Rainforest.
Articles: 49