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

Lennox Head

Why do we rate it?
This village has a laid-back vibe at odds with its raging right-hand point break, famed among surfers. Here, stressed city types take out their aggression on the waves before winding down for a seaside holiday. And it’s much less crowded than Byron.

Where is it?
758km north of Sydney (a 9hr drive); or a 2km (or 20min drive) from Ballina Airport.

Where to stay
Lennox Head YHA is 100m from Seven Mile Beach. Guests get use of boogie boards, paddle skis, bikes, fishing, tennis and golf gear. For more deluxe digs, book a villa at Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park.

How much is it?
YHA members get a 10% discount on all bookings; you can join when booking or at check-in. Four-share rooms cost $27 a bed for members and doubles are $68 a room. Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park’s deluxe villas are verging on pricey at $250 a night for two, but cost just $15/$10 per extra adult/child.

Availability
The YHA doesn’t take summer holiday bookings until December 15. Owner Graeme Dickers wants to encourage last-minute travel. “Travellers shouldn’t have to book months in advance to come to the beach,” he says. You’d better get on the phone at 9am on the December 15 to secure your spot at the YHA. The rest of the area books out quickly, which is why there are only a few deluxe villas left at Lake Ainsworth. Unfortunately, their powered sites are fully booked from mid-December to mid-January.

What to do
Surf. Swim at Seven Mile Beach. Lake Ainsworth is nearby for kayaking, fishing and sailing. Hang-glide off Pat Morton headland or cycle around town.

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