AT’s guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays
Tea Gardens & Hawks Nest
Why do we rate it?
It’s all about tranquillity and water-based activities.
Where is it?
Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest are seaside towns 70km from Newcastle (a 1hr 15min drive) and 216km from Sydney. They sit on the Myall River estuary, north of Port Stephens.
Where to stay
Bulga Creek Bush Camp is a little rough and ready – there’s a communal shower and toilet block – but the location, price and availability make up for the lack of luxuries. The cheap-and-cheerful campsite and cabins (some newly built) sit on a 500-acre property next to the marine park off North Cove. Holiday homes are another option. Tea Gardens Real Estate Holidays has more than 150 properties in the area including pet-friendly, riverfront and seaside homes and apartments.
How much is it?
The Bush Camp’s private double rooms cost $60 a day; a bed in a dorm room costs $20. Holiday properties vary in price depending on location.
The Bush Camp has good availability over Christmas and January. At the time we went to print, there were 40 rental properties still available over Christmas.
What to do
Bulga Creek Bush Camp has the expected bushland, but also offers farmland, rainforest, mangroves and wetland on site, with walking and 4WD trails nearby. There’s horse riding, canoeing, mountain biking,
a flying fox and swimming pool. Head into Tea Gardens or Hawks Nest for the beach, fish and chips and knick-knack shops. Hawks Nest borders Myall Lakes National Park, with 125ha
of lakes to explore.
Bulga Creek Bush Camp //
252 Gooreegni Rd.
(02) 4997 3073; bulgacreek.com.au
Tea Gardens Real Estate Holidays //
83 Marine Dr. (02) 4997 1300; teagardenshawksnest.com