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Australia: a budget-friendly, beach-holiday bonanza!

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), July 2014-June 2016, n=20,518 Base: Australian holiday-goers 14+

Who knew a beach holiday could be so affordable? According to the latest figures from the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey, the average cost per night of a domestic holiday is $151 per person**. Yet many of Australia’s famed coastal destinations come in well below that – from the idyllic Far North Coast of NSW to Victoria’s stunning Great Ocean Road region and the Great Barrier Reef’s Magnetic Island.

Topping the list for affordability is World Heritage-listed Fraser Island in Queensland. Celebrated for its rainforest, freshwater lakes and, of course, phenomenal beaches, this island paradise costs on average $94 per person per night. Many visitors to the island choose to stay in the nearby Hervey Bay/Maryborough area, which also happens to be one of Queensland’s more affordable coastal destinations. Much further north, the aforementioned Magnetic Island averages $132 per person per night.

The Yorke Peninsula in South Australia is another coastal destination that should be on the radar of budget-holiday fans, costing on average $102 per person per night. The Dongara/ Geraldton/Kalbarri region in Western Australia won’t break the bank either ($107); nor will Tasmania’s Bay of Fires ($113).

Most affordable (and costliest) coastal destinations by state (capital cities not included)


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), July 2014-June 2016, n=20,518 Base: Australian holiday-goers 14+

In New South Wales, the North Coast (Forster/Port Macquarie/Coffs Harbour/Taree/Port Stephens) heads that state’s list for affordable coastal holiday spots, at an average $120 per person per night, ahead of the South Coast (Gerringong/Merimbula/Nowra) at $122.  In contrast, Lord Howe Island is more suited to higher-end travellers, at an average cost of $341 per person per night.

Other seaside destinations around the country that tend towards the pricier end of the spectrum include two Queensland holiday icons—glamorous Port Douglas (averaging $245 per person per night) and the heavenly Whitsunday Islands ($220) —as well as northern WA’s gem, Broome ($234). 

** Average cost per person per night includes all expenses: food, accommodation, travel, entertainment etc

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With almost 60,000km of coastline (including islands), Australia has something for every kind of beach-holiday lover. Resort-filled coastal playgrounds, family-friendly seaside hamlets, surfing hot-spots, remote tropical islands and magical marine wonderlands: it’s all here, and – as the latest data from Roy Morgan Research – not necessarily as expensive as one might expect.

“While every state boasts an abundance of coastal destinations, Queensland is perhaps most famous around the world, thanks to the Great Barrier Reef. And although it’s certainly possible to pay the big bucks for a beach holiday in the Sunshine State (Port Douglas and the Whitsundays being two high-profile examples), it is just as possible to go the budget-friendly route somewhere like Fraser Island or Bundaberg.

“One surprise is the affordability of the Ningaloo Reef region of Western Australia. To get to this far-flung area may be costly, but it’s fairly easy on the wallet once you’re there. This is possibly because, with the exception of tours, there is not a lot to spend one’s money on – it remains quite undeveloped.

“Another surprise is that taking a beach holiday is considerably cheaper than going to the snow. For example, a holiday in NSW’s High Country costs an average of $181 per person per night – more than most coastal regions in the state – while a holiday at Mount Hotham in Victoria comes in at $260 per person per night.

“Of course, budget is only one (albeit important) factor influencing Australians’ holiday habits. Regional tourism authorities and accommodation providers wishing to understand more about Aussies’ holiday behaviour—from how they choose their destination and book their trip, to their travel companions, and what they look for in a destination—can find all this data and more in the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey. Containing data dating back to 2000, this is an invaluable resource for all tourism players keen to stay competitive in this ever-changing industry.”

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Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%