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Eight of the world’s best budget destinations for family vacations

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Yeppoon, a low-key family destination, is one to watch as Bonza launches new direct flights to Rockhampton Airport (30 minutes away). Take a dip in the free Infinity Lagoon, or let the kids relax at the nearby Keppel Kraken Zero Depth Water Park. A 30-minute ferry ride takes you to Great Keppel Island, where you can snorkel near one of 17 beaches. Or you can choose from mainland sandy beaches such as Main Beach, Coy Cove, Kemp Beach and Lammermore Beach. The Beachside Holiday Caravan Park is ideal for families on a budget, or stay at the laid-back, bohemian Surfside Motel on Yeppoon’s seafront, full of colonial style and style. Tropical beauty. All 12 rooms are equipped with ensuite bathrooms, kitchenettes, air conditioning, WIFI and Smart TVs. Top picks are the newly built Pandanus Room, with its sparkling ocean views, and the newly opened Beach House, perfect for families. From $170 per night. yeppoonsurfsidemotel.com.au; beachsidecaravanparkyeppoon.com.au; visit capricorn.com.au

Port Stephens, New South Wales

Port Stephens.Credit:

Generations of Sydneysiders have come time and time again to this coastal hotspot, home to some of the largest coastal dunes in the southern hemisphere and 26 beaches lapped by azure waters. Families can dune surf, camel ride and even swim with wild dolphins. Avoid summer and Easter, as prices can be dizzying; winter is especially affordable. Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort has the largest swimming pool in the southern hemisphere, and glamping at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary are two family-friendly options. Meanwhile, Nelson Palms Motel is within walking distance of three of Port Stephen’s most beautiful beaches. Think Hamptons-style drive-thrus, including three-bedroom family suites, manicured gardens and swaying palms. From $185 per night. portstephens.org.au; nelsonpalms.com.au

Queenstown, New Zealand

Holiday Inn Excelsior Park Queenstown.

Holiday Inn Excelsior Park Queenstown.

You can visit New Zealand’s adventure capital – filled with luxury hotels and inns, trendy wineries and heart-pounding, budget-budget activities – without breaking the bank. Hike the Ben Lomond Track, walk or cycle around Lake Hayes, wander the Queenstown Gardens, try Frisbee golf (free) and have a picnic by the lake. Hop on the bus to Arrowtown ($1 with a Bee card; $2 without a Bee card), half-price until June 30, and explore the historic Arrowtown Chinese enclave, then pan for gold on the Arrow River. End the day with a free fudge at the Remarkables Dessert Shop. The autumn and spring months in Queenstown are by far the most affordable times to visit. Stay at the brand new Holiday Inn Excelsior Park Queenstown just 5 minutes from the airport with no mortgage required. The 182-room hotel offers a Very Important Kids (VIK) program, where guests 12 and younger stay and eat for free and receive discounts at attractions like the SITE trampoline, Game Over indoor go-karts and Basecamp Adventures. See queenstownnz.co.nz; Queenstownremarkables.holidayinn.com

Vanuatu

Rigi Island Resort and Spa.

Rigi Island Resort and Spa.

Vanuatu is close to home (just 3.5 hours from Sydney), and with its crystal clear waters, welcoming locals and Melanesian culture, it’s the perfect choice for families. Island hop, visit the most accessible volcano in the world, and swim in the sapphire-colored blue hole. Many accommodation options offer self-catering cooking facilities, or are located close to Port Vila city centre, so families can save money by eating at markets or small restaurants serving fresh, locally grown food. Resorts such as Iririki Island Resort offer deals for stays of four nights or more, while Matevulu Lodge in Santo offers a four-night $997 package for four people, including a family photo shoot. See vanuatu.travel and vanuatu.travel/au/deals

Gold Coast, Queensland

JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa.

JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa.

Sun, surf and theme parks make the Gold Coast a family holiday destination. A vibrant new arts district, thriving food scene, stunning beaches, rainforest and wildlife provide endless fun for kids. Breakfast with koalas at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, learn to surf, travel with a traditional caretaker on the Gold Coast’s Jellurgal (“Dream”) hills, or meet alpacas Have a picnic together. To save on theme park fees, book multi-day passes, bring your own snacks and buy refillable drinks. Family-friendly accommodation abounds, including the award-winning JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (which just completed a $35 million rebrand), or head to World Heritage Lamington National Park (O’), Where treetops, fireflies and nighttime walks await you at Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat – welcoming families since 1926. See destinationgoldcoast.com; Marriott website; oreillys.com.au

Vietnam

Lanterns in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Lanterns in Hoi An, Vietnam.Credit: stock

Explore a hawker market, sample pho, ride a buffalo or take a fun cooking class. Not only is Vietnam a fun, adventurous family destination, but it also offers great value thanks to a strong Australian dollar and cheap flights from airlines such as Bamboo Airways, Jetstar and the newly launched Vietjet . Navigate the bustling streets on a Vespa, bike through rice fields and swim on lazy beaches that dot the country’s beautiful coastline. You can eat delicious food at street stalls and small shops selling banh mi, banh mi and noodles, or live like royalty at cheap luxury hotels and resorts.See Vietnam Travel

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