5 budget school holiday destinations near Australia

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School holidays tend to whiz by so why waste time flying halfway around the world when you can holiday affordably much closer to home? Head to one of these holiday havens within five hours of Australia for a family-friendly good time away!

Bali, Indonesia

Less than four hours’ flight time from Perth, Bali is a must for any Aussie family looking for fun in the sun. It’s easy to find an affordable resort or self-contained villa in bustling Kuta or Legian, the main tourist hubs, and there’s plenty to do there without spending a lot. Cheap eats, tours and water sports are on your doorstep and getting to and from the beach is a breeze. Head for the hills of Ubud for a quieter stay (be sure to visit the Monkey Forest), or Canggu for surfing and a laidback vibe.


Vanuatu is just 3.5 hours in the air from Sydney and Melbourne, but it will feel like a world away. There’s much to keep you entertained on the main island of Efate, where you’ll fly in, but there are dozens of islands in the archipelago to choose from if you want to venture further afield. Wherever you go, you can expect tropical island surroundings so stunning you’ll never want to leave. While you’re on Efate, sign up for a tour to soar through the jungle on ziplines, swim or snorkel in the beautiful Blue Lagoon, and visit a traditional village to learn about Vanuatu’s history and culture.


Family-friendly Fiji is a dreamy destination if you have your eye on a resort holiday with the kids. All budgets are catered for, it’s a four-hour direct flight from Sydney, and temperatures stay in the mid-twenties all year long (keep in mind that blue skies are most likely between May and September). Book into a resort for holiday ease – most have kids’ clubs, babysitting and plenty to do without having to leave the resort. Think water sports, cocktails by the pool, and cultural dance shows over dinner. One family outing you will want to head out for is Big Bula Waterpark for its waterslides, wave pools and inflatable rides.


Less than five hours’ flight from Brisbane, Samoa is a laidback South Pacific island that goes easy on the wallet. Comfortable accommodation can be found on the two main islands of Upolu and Savai’i, and you’ll be warmly welcomed. On Upolu, where you’ll fly in, be sure to visit picture-perfect Lalomanu Beach and climb down the steep ladder for a dip in To Sua Ocean Trench. Located on the south coast, the sparkling green waters and steep cliffs surrounding this waterhole make it a pretty incredible place to swim. The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and Samoan Cultural Village are other must-visits on Upolu. Head over to Savai’i on the ferry and you’ll see a more traditional side of Samoa, complete with local villages and beach huts, the Saleaula lava fields and Afu Aau Waterfall – another amazing place to swim.

Lord Howe Island

Once you arrive on Lord Howe (just two hours flight time from Sydney), expect to be so wowed by its natural beauty that getting out and exploring it is all you want to do. This peaceful island is ideal for outdoorsy families keen on hiking – the hike to the summit of Mt Gower is challenging but rewarding for its panoramic views. The marine reserve surrounding the island makes it popular for snorkelling and diving; its lagoons and coves are fun to discover by kayak or SUP; and kids of all ages will love feeding the fish at Ned’s Beach. Self-contained apartments are ideal for families watching their spending (cut costs by cooking for yourselves) and getting around by bike is inexpensive and fun.

Travel Insurance

Learn more about what travel insurance can cover if travelling with the family. A family travel insurance policy provides cover for you, your partner or spouse and up to six children under one policy provided they are travelling with you on the same itinerary for the entire duration of your trip.  Our travel insurance plans can offer cover for things like:

  • 24/7 Emergency Assistance
  • Luggage and personal effects
  • Missed tours
  • Rental vehicle insurance excess

Additional details on the coverage available can be found here.

This is a brief summary of cover only and does not include the full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions. Read the PDS before purchasing


I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.


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