Savings on the Sandbar

Sandbar and Bushland Caravan and Camping Parks,
The Lakes Way, Pacific Palms, NSW
(02) 6554 4095,

AT reader Kerry van der Jagt unearths a value-for-money find for a cheaps-as-chips holiday.

I’ve travelled around most of Australia and stayed in anything from five-star hotels to camping grounds, and Sandbar Caravan and Camping Park on the NSW mid-north coast is the best value accommodation I’ve ever stayed in. Sandbar, on Smiths Lake, is 30km east of Bulahdelah, along the scenic Lakes Way.

Beaut timber cabins with absolute frontage to Smiths Lake are only $700 a week (or $840 for the luxury of an ensuite). This price is for peak season (including January school holidays) and sleeps six comfortably – one double bed and four singles. Low season is less than half that price. The cabins have recently been refurbished, are fully self-contained, include Austar TV and the essential Aussie veranda for the five o’clock happy hour. A bushland setting with the pristine and safe waters of Smiths Lake in front and Cellito surf beach a 500m stroll behind makes this place paradise.

The lake is great for swimming, canoeing, fishing or water skiing and the park even has its own sand boat ramp into Smiths Lake. There’s a nine-hole golf course, convenience store and club, canoe and bike hire. My favourite thing to do there? Take our boat across the lake to the waterfront Frothy Coffee cafe, or drive around to Seal Rocks Lighthouse, one of the best in Australia. For $700 a week, I’m already booked in for two weeks next January.