AT’s guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays

Collaroy

Why do we rate it?
Collaroy is one of Sydney’s 20 Northern Beaches. The family-friendly cove sits between Narrabeen and Long Reef and is backed by a café-lined beachfront strip. You can walk around in your swimmers, grab a bite to eat and head back down the beach without battling for parking or breaking the budget.

Where is it?
22km north of Sydney CBD but a world away from its frenetic pace, Collaroy is off Pittwater Rd, the main route from the city to Palm Beach. Regular buses from Central Station take around 1hr. Slower but more scenic is the ferry to Manly, then catch a bus.

Where to stay
Sydney Beachouse YHA is 50m from Collaroy Beach. The doubles, multi-shares and 11 family rooms are not that flash but they include the use of surfboards, body boards and bicycles – you won’t spend much time inside. There are also plenty of holiday apartments in streets back from the beach.

How much is it?

YHA members get 10% off bookings; membership costs $32 for anyone under 26 and $42 for those 26+. Join when booking or at check-in. Four-share family rooms cost $132 a night, five-share $145.

Availability
“January is the month where a lot of backpackers tend to just turn up. If you book a few weeks in advance you’ll definitely get a room,” says YHA manager Scott Ryan.

What to do
The beach is the drawcard. Patrolled by lifesavers in summer, it’s great for swimmers and novice surfers. Families hang out at the picnic tables, making use of electric barbecues and a play area on the grass behind the beach. Longreef Golf Course is up the road and the bus service to Manly’s shops and restaurant district stops at the YHA’s front door. The United Cinema next door plays new-release movies. The Surf Rock Hotel and Collaroy Beach Services Club are great for a casual drink. Palm Beach is a half-hour drive away and a half-day trip to Scotland Island on the Church Pt ferry is always fun.

Contact
Sydney Beachouse YHA // 4 Collaroy St.
(02) 9981 1177, yha.com.au
For holiday rentals, search at rent-a-home.com.au

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