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

Batemans Bay

Why do we rate it?
It’s a beautiful seaside town at the mouth of the Clyde River, which is tucked between beaches perfect for fishing, swimming and paddling.

Where is it?
285km south of Sydney; about a 4hr drive down the Princes Hwy; a 2hr drive from Canberra.

Where to stay
Clyde River houseboats are great value if you’ve got a big group. Fitted out with TV, DVD, microwave, fridge and oven, they’re great if you enjoy swimming, fishing or just sitting out on the deck. On dry land, Joalah Holiday Park offers quiet waterfront cabins in the Murramarang National Park. Or Lincoln Downs Comfort Inn is a country-style homestead by the sea.

The houseboats are heavily booked until January 14 but Joalah Holiday Park has cabins available over the Christmas period. Lincoln Downs has plenty of availability over Christmas, too.

How much is it?
An eight-berth boat rents for $2100 a week – just $37.50 a night per person. Joalah Waterfront Executive Ensuites are $1505 a week for two (sleeping up to five). Waterfront Economy Ensuite cabins are $910 a week for two (sleeping up to three). Lincoln Downs has a three-night minimum stay after Boxing Day; a deluxe room for two is $179 a night and family rooms, sleeping five, are $320.

What to do
Navigate the Clyde’s 38km of river, which winds through national park. Visit oyster farms along the way. At the beach, there’s kayaking, scuba diving, surfing and rock-wall fishing. Bay Marlin Seafoods sells oysters and lobsters straight from the river, or head to local favourite North Street Café and Bar for chef Drew Tweedie’s refined fare using local produce.

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