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Readers' tips - Holiday Homes

“My family and my twin sister’s family recently met at the Gold Coast for a holiday. We found a great house on, had a few email conversations with the owners to check it had what we needed and that the great price did in fact include everything. The house – Joyful Waters at Mermaid Waters – lived up to everything described on the website. The best thing about getting a house together was even though the price seemed expensive, split two ways and will all the entertainment and privacy, it was fantastic value.”  Sandra Ireson

“The best holiday we ever had was at a three-bedroom apartment in Caloundra (10 Wickham Cove in Albert Street, Caloundra). Talk about value for money – the apartment was huge and has 270 degree views of the ocean and beach. The apartment was booked through The Professionals real estate website. I had better book my spot for next year right now before this goes to press!”   Les Dean

“We rented a unit in Surfers Paradise in May this year. Although the cost was a little more than we would have paid in an apartment, we didn’t have to share the pool or BBQ area with other hotel patrons. We had door-to-door parking, no hauling suitcases up and down stairs, and we were able to cook properly using every imaginable utensil. With plenty of room to move and a great location from which to explore, we were able to enjoy the excitement and novelty of a holiday combined with all the comforts of home.”   Michelle Chalmer

“Lahaina Apartment 3 at 78 Parkwyn Parade, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, booked through an agent in Mooloolaba. A great two-bedroom, two-bathroom ground floor apartment, rented for 10 days for under $1000. Good but basic décor, good pool 20 second walk to beach, and two minute walk to Mooloolaba Esplanade.”  Tanya Lemmey

“I can thoroughly recommend a house we rented through Stayz, Serenity by the Lake at Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast. The great thing about Serenity was its proximity to a shopping centre, walk or cycle tracks and a kids’ play park, so the kids could muck around on the lake while we had a nice cool drink on the terrace watching them. And of course the essential in every Queensland holiday – a clean pool. Serenity sleeps up to 10 people so is plenty big enough for a couple of families.”  Jenny Andersen

“We stayed at a holiday house at Treasure Island Caravan Park at Biggera Waters, Qld. There are six houses which sleep eight people and you have your own swimming pool/BBQ in the middle of the houses. They are two-storey, fully air-conditioned self-contained houses. The best thing about staying in holiday houses in a caravan park is they have entertainment for the kids and you know the kids are safe roaming around the park.” Meghan Boyd

“I found a holiday home by typing in ‘Rainbow Beach Accommodation’ into Google, where I was directed to the Stayz website. Pavilion Beach House has four bedrooms, rumpus room, swimming pool, pool table, huge lounge/dining area and bedding for at leasteight people. The cost was $1050 for seven nights, split between two families. We couldn’t have been happier with this price as most motels are at least $100 a night for very average facilities.”  Kirsten Engels

“My family has just returned from renting a holiday house in Berry, NSW, through The house name was Elouera and was an old B&B. There were 23 of use that stayed in this house. We definitely saved money as the house only cost $1000 for the weekend which equated to $43.50 per head for the whole weekend. Where can you go for this cost for a two night stay and with great private accommodation facilities like this?”    Tina Lockwood

“We have two children aged 13 and 10 plus an active Border Collie named Louie. It’s not a family holiday if we didn’t include our mate, so I got on the websites Stayz and Takeabreak to research properties within a 2-3 hour drive from our home in Canberra. We finally decided on a three-bedroom house near Culburra Beach near Nowra. We were won over by the dog-friendly beach, possibilities of waves for our budding surfers and space to invite a doting aunt and uncle at no extra cost.”  Trish Brown

“We stayed with another family at a great beach house at 20 Bennett St, Hawks Nest. It was only 50 metres walk to a beautiful white sand beach, and we went on koala, dolphin and whale watching trips with the kids most days. It had six bedrooms, two living rooms and a big outdoor deck for outdoor dining with a private enclosed garden for our kids to run around in.”  Jacquie M

“We rented a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Port Macquarie with Elders Real Estate there in town. It cost us about $330 for four nights, close to everything – we could walk everywhere. Where can you get a two-bedroom hotel room for that kind of money?” Melanie Dean

I stayed in a great holiday house in a little hamlet on the coast of Victoria. You can find it on or, just type in the word Trincluo. The house slept heaps of people and the kids had the beach to themselves – it was so peaceful and you didn’t have to fight your way through a crowd.” Belinda Mirana

“We rented a holiday home in Halls Gap, the Grampians called Pinnacle Retreat, found through Stayz. It was very cost-effective as we stayed for a couple of nights mid-week (cheaper rate), then another family of four joined us for the weekend. The setting was absolutely gorgeous with our kids enthralled by the kangaroos passing right outside, the roasting of marshmallows around a campfire and the wonderful bird life.” Kim Butler-Nixon

“We stayed at a magnificent Mediterranean-style self-contained holiday home in Emu Bay called Loverings Whitehouse on Kangaroo Island. This wonderful place sleeps up to 12 people easily and is spacious, private and has all the comforts of home. The price was very reasonable considering all that was offered – only around $120 a night, and obviously cheaper when your share with one or two other families. Next time I will be sure to invite a couple of friends and their children and pay as little as $40 per night!” Paula Stott

“Just an hour south of Perth, WA, is the hidden treasure of Pelican House, set on the canals in South Yunderup. The five-bedroom two-bathroom house is set up with everything you might need including a pool table! Pelican House has its own private jetty and paddle boats are available on the canal. We have stayed in many holiday houses but this one was quite unique and totally affordable for a family of five.”   Veronica Harrison

“We rented a house in WA between Yallingup and Dunsborough, and was by far the best accommodation we’ve experienced in that region. We stayed at The Treehouse, found by searching on The house was better than advertised and was very family-friendly. It had plenty of open space for the kids to explore outside, and native animals such as kangaroos and kookaburras frequented our backyard.”  Lee Stenhouse

“We stayed in a fantastic holiday house in Blackman’s Bay, Tasmania called Cedar Cottages (10 min south of Hobart). It was a home away from home, with a swing set, a nice backyard for the kids to play in, a BIG master bedroom and ensuite upstairs, and three bedrooms and bathroom downstairs for the kids. We have had many family holidays but this was the first in a house – it was fantastic.”  Lucy Mackay

“I have used both and to pick accommodation in Scotland, Alaska and Georges Island in Maine. Both sites offer a large selection of houses, apartments and abodes. As a rule I generally have a budget in Australian dollar, then I begin my search. Both sites put you in contact directly with the owners of the homes, allowing you to sort through all the practical aspects of renting a holiday house. Talking directly to the owner allows greater flexibility to you the renter. Whenever possible, I will also ring the owner direct, just as an added security.”   Kathryn O’Connor

“On a month-long trip to California, we opted for holiday homes. We stayed at Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park in two-bedroom holiday rentals. We certainly saved money as it gave us the flexibility to prepare our breakfasts and dinners with the options of packing a picnic lunch. It also encouraged the children to value other people’s property and give an insight into how other people live in the local community, the different styles of housing, their local supermarkets and day-to-day things like seeing the postman. Visitor books were also a great source of entertainment, seeing where fellow holiday makers had come from and what they had experienced.”    Vanessa Kasbergen

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