Alternative Schoolies destinations for a graduation to remember

Exams are over, summer is fast approaching, and you’re ready to let your hair down for some fun-filled freedom. You know the score—it’s time for schoolies.

Every year, thousands of newly-liberated high-schoolers get together and venture to different Australian destinations to celebrate the end of their schooling life. Although the Gold Coast tends to be a popular choice among many, an average accommodation price of $250 per night can leave a whopping hole in the wallet—and let’s face it, there are other things we can spend our pennies on.

So if you want to get more for your buck, take a look at our six alternative schoolies destinations that won’t break the bank, or mum’s credit card! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beachside sojourn or you’d prefer some round the clock partying, you’re certain to find a destination that’s just right for your personality.

Beach bunny vibes for a Schoolies in Byron Bay

Eugenio Marongiu / Fotolia

Palms gently swaying in the coastal breeze pepper the pristine shore in fluid, green lines. Waves meet the beach in a frenzy of foam, while people dart in and out of the water, frolicking in the summer haze. If this sounds like a fantasy, think again—Byron Bay transforms this idealistic lens into a vision of reality.

Located on the New South Wales coast, this seaside town is ideal for all those beach hopping bunnies wanting to spend their schoolies break quite simply—uhm—lounging bout.

What better way to end the frenetic school year than by soaking up some vitamin D on a pristine sandy beach? Or how about freshening up with a dip in some of the area’s natural streams and lakes? This place is made for bikinis and boardies so get shopping!

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A chill home-away-from-home


While Byron Bay is growing in popularity as a seaside schoolies alternative to Surfers Paradise, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a calmer holiday with a stay at Byron Sunseeker.

There won’t be many arguments about spending time at the pool or beach, as you can do both! Tallow Beach is only a 10-minute walk away, while Main Beach is a half-an-hour stroll.

Rooms are fixed with all the necessary amenities for a summer holiday, such air-conditioning to keep your cool at night, a kitchenette for a quick brekkie and a fridge, so your chocolate doesn’t melt. With a barbeque area on-site, your nights can be spent throwing a sausage sizzle while reminiscing about your school days.

Be an island adventurer in Bali

MISHA / Fotolia

A mix of bars dotted along the bustling thoroughfare draws the attention of party seekers ready to initiate an evening of frivolity. The air is still, but the hub pulsates with sounds of revelry and post-exam freedom. This is Bali. For just a small sum compared to other Australian locations, Bali is an excellent destination for those seeking an after-school island getaway.

With a never-ending playlist of dance bars, cheap drinks, and tasty food at a seriously low cost, you and your peers won’t break the budget for your Bali escape.

A Bali hotel close to the best parties


Most party goers will tell you that Kuta is where the festivity starts and ends in Bali. If this vibrant district sounds like your schoolies paradise, you’ll be pleased to know The Bene Hotel is only a short five-minute walk away.

The hotel is modern in design, reflecting its serene beachside location with soft hues and clean lines. Five different room types are available, and some are even adjoining so none of your mates will be left feeling solo.

If a morning dunk in the ocean is a little rough for comfort, lounge in the tree-lined pool and recharge for night number two. The hotel also boasts in-house DJ performances from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. every day (except Mondays).

The Bene Hotel

8.4 Very good (900 reviews)

Head on an Aussie road trip

jackfrog / Fotolia

A vast horizon awaits you, a crimson canvas bleeding into the land. Twisted shrubbery adorns the desolate plain, sunburnt and brittle, awaiting rainfall. While schoolies may often be associated with sun, drinks, and surf, why not honour Australia’s natural beauty with a true blue coastal road trip with your friends in tow.

Pack the beers, choose your tapes and settle in for an adventure from Sydney to Ulladulla. Get your snorkel out and explore scenic Shellharbour’s Bushrangers Bay or instead gorge on some specialty food and wine in a countryside town, Berry.

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A road trip stopover in Wollongong


For a night’s respite, shack up at halfway point in Wollongong, and book a night at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach. The rooms are elegant in design and offer all the essential features to welcome the weary driver.

Think comfy beds, plasma TVs and an inviting deep-soaking bathtub. The hotel is located within easy reach of North Beach and Stuart Park, but if you’d rather stay put there are two in-house bars which make for the ideal beer-drinking havens for your schoolies entourage.

Novotel Wollongong Northbeach

8.2 Very good (2202 reviews)

A thrill seeking schoolies in New Zealand

Are you an adrenaline junkie who likes to feel the tingling sensation of fear rush through your body? If you’re still running on a high from the stressful pre-exams cram, burn off that extra jitteriness with some seriously extreme sports in Queenstown.

Drop 134 metres in 8.5 seconds at Australasia’s highest bungee jump, Nevis Bungy, or alternatively bounce over rough cascades and falls in a hefty course of white water rafting. Then round up a group of mates and calm the nerves for just a couple of hours with a guided hike or ski session in scenic Queenstown and learn a thing or two about the breathtaking region.

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Play and relax at this Queenstown accommodation


After all of these extreme sports, your body is probably pleading for a comfortable haven to roll up in. For something that’s comfortable and equally independent, head to Scenic Suites Queenstown.

As the name would suggest, these serviced apartments boast spectacular vistas of the lake and mountains, so you can appreciate all Queenstown has to offer right from the comfort of your sofa or bed! All rooms also offer either a patio or balcony, which makes for the ideal spot to unwind in with a beer after your day of active adventures.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (2139 reviews)

Relax your mind with a getaway to Fiji / Fotolia

Bula—welcome to the island life! After all those late nights studying, stressing and rushing from exam to exam, now is the time to slow the pace and enjoy a taste of sun, sand and waves.

Spend your days relaxing by the pool or beach with a mocktail in hand, and let the only stressing be deciding how to spend your day—exploring the island, booking yourself in for water activities or just, tanning.


Splish splash at this Fiji beach resort


Far from the noisy and party-fuelled streets of Gold Coast, Fiji is the place to go to truly kick back and relax, and a stay at Nila Beach Resort is the perfect starting point. After your free continental breakfast each morning, spend your days by the pool or stroll along the pristine and private sandy beach—don’t forget to catch a sunset or two.

If laying on a sun lounger all day doesn’t tickle your fancy, get your adrenaline pumping with kayaking or snorkelling in the lagoon. Once you’re all tuckered out, you’ll be happy to know you can have a comfy nap in the king-size or double bed, just like at home.

Nila Beach Resort

7.4(206 reviews)

Be a culture vulture in Melbourne

Glamour, class, chic! Do these three words resonate well with your idea of the perfect schoolies destination? Would you rather ditch the six-pack of coldies and opt for a double shot, skinny flat white instead? If so, a cultural schoolies getaway to Melbourne is your winning destination, and it won’t set you back too much either.

Spend a day in the CBD laneways, exploring true Melbourne culture in the labyrinth of pint-sized alleys and coffee shops. Then head to the beachside suburb of St Kilda for a spot of live local music at the Prince of Wales hotel to unleash your inner groupie.

In the morning share your tales from the night before over an indulgent brunch of smashed avo on sourdough at Brunswick’s Code Black and appreciate the converted warehouse café space.

A St Kilda apartment hotel near the main attractions


If we’re going for culture this schoolies, a stay at Abode by EasyStay is all the more necessary. Located in Melbourne’s seaside playground, St Kilda, this four-star studio apartment hotel underwent a glamorous face-lift in 2015 and now boasts all the necessary mod cons for the savvy voyager.

Colourful artwork adorns the walls, adding flecks of fun tones to the contemporary aesthetic. You can also document all the fun on your smartphone thanks to the free Wi-Fi throughout.

Abode St Kilda

7.3(15 reviews)