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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
The Observatory Port Macquarie
A friendly welcome is the norm at this excellent modern hotel opposite Town Beach. Rooms and apartments are comfortable and well equipped; many have balconies overlooking the water...
Royal Exchange Hotel
This beautifully restored 1930s hotel with an art-deco bent is an accommodation oasis in the heart of town.
Simpsons Of Potts Point
Kings Cross to Potts Point
An 1892 red-brick villa at the quiet end of a busy cafe strip, the perennially popular Simpsons looks to yesteryear for decorative flourishes. The downstairs lounge and breakfast room are lovely, and rooms are both comfortable and impeccably clean.
Camp in ecofriendly style in one of 12 luxurious solar-powered safari tents, with comfy beds, gorgeous en suites and wraparound decks. It’s set in dense bush 3.5km from Huskisson; you can borrow kayaks to paddle up the creek to the bay.
Ballina Manor Boutique Hotel
One of the best places to stay in the region, this boutique hotel began in the 1920s as an Edwardian-style girls’ school. The 12 rooms have been beautifully restored and boast many antiques. The small restaurant serves dinner.
Park Hyatt Sydney
Circular Quay & The Rocks
Luxury meets location at Sydney's most expensive hotel, where the service levels and facilities are second to none...
Samurai Beach Bungalows Port Stephens Yha
These attractively furnished, wooden-floored cabins are arranged around a swimming pool and set in koala-populated bushland dotted with Asian sculpture. There’s a bush kitchen with BBQs and a ramshackle games shed with pool table. Fabulous.
Sydney Harbour Yha
Circular Quay & The Rocks
Any qualms about the unhostel-like prices will be shelved the moment you head up to the roof terrace of this singular, custom-built YHA and see Circular Quay laid bare before you. All of the rooms, including the dorms, have private bathrooms...
Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers
Architect-designed wooden cabins are set amid peaceful scrub inhabited by koalas and kookaburras at this friendly, well-run place. There’s a welcoming lounge area and kitchen and the owners offer dune surfing and other day trips. Equally fabulous.
El Paso Motor Inn
This kitsch Mexicana motel holds its own as a cheap and cheerful one-stop shop in the centre of town, complete with palm trees, terracotta decor and a swimming pool. It has beach access and does a penny-pincher dinner and B&B packages.
Merimbula Gardens Motel
Though there are no gardens to speak of, this old-school motel is one of the cheaper options in the heart of town. Rooms are basic but clean and comfortable.
George Bass Motor Inn
An unpretentious but well-appointed single-storey motor inn, the George Bass has clean and sunny rooms. The more expensive ones are slightly newer.
Twofold Bay Motor Inn
Substantial rooms, some with water views, are the norm at this centrally located motel. There’s also a tiny indoor pool.
Beachside Holiday Apartments
This fun place is right across the road from Flynns Beach. The units are large, have balconies and face either the ocean or the enticing pool.
Clyde River Motor Inn
An older motel on the river in the centre of town, this one’s bathed in the sweet smell of jasmine. Rooms are clean and some have views.
Banjo Paterson Inn
The best rooms at this lakefront place have balconies and lake views. Other facilities include a rowdy bar and brewery. It might look a little washed out in summer but it's a lively establishment come snowtime.
The pick of the litter, the Karinga has had a tasteful facelift: the rooms have been fully refurbished and a funky pool and spa installed.
Ballina Travellers Lodge
In a quiet residential street, this lodge combines motel and hostel guests. It is clean and comfortable and the owners are a good source of info.
Rydges Hotel Port Macquarie
Much of Port Macquarie’s live music and nightlife happens in the bar downstairs making this a great option if you plan to stumble home to bed after a Bundy Rum or two. Expect a bit of noise and larrikinism on the weekends.
This low-rise condo-block has spiffy apartments with kitchenettes and bright, open living spaces. There’s a barbecue courtyard, and Town Beach is across the way.
Berry Village Boutique Motel
Large, comfortable rooms are the go at this upmarket place at the edge of the main strip. The tiny pool, just off reception, seems to work more as a water feature.
Ballina Hi Craft Motel
If there's a friendlier motel in town, it's probably been shut by the saccharine police. The welcome here is warm and the 26 rooms in a two-storey block are basic and comfortable.