Queensland is up for the challenge; how to make the most of $500 for a whole lot of family fun.
This week Getaway takes a family of four to Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast with $500 to spend. That amount has to cover all expenses while making sure they have a great family holiday.
Noosa is around 160km north of Brisbane, so we've allowed $50 to cover petrol.
They chose to stay at Noosa Pacific Resort, around 20 minutes from Hastings Street, Noosa's main area. This resort has two- and three-bedroom apartments, with either waterfront or garden aspects. Each section has its own facilities pool, spa, sauna and barbecue. They share a tennis court. All activities are free. Our family chose a two-bedroom garden room and two nights cost them $229.
The resort is right on the Noosa River and all apartments have balconies. They are self-contained with spacious living/dining area, kitchen with everything you need including video, television and internal laundry.
The family hired a runabout at the resort's jetty and went along the river for an hour. That cost $30. There are also canoes and kayaks for hire. It is a colourful place, with the bright sails of yachts and windsurfers everywhere, and is used for swimming, fishing, sailing, skiing, jet skiing and leads to the lakes and open seas.
The family decided to have one night out and one night in and took themselves to the Reef Hotel, a place with great views and a very child-friendly attitude. The Reef Ranger is an area for children aged three to 12, set out like the inside of a submarine, with a labyrinth of rooms and tunnels.
There are videos and Nintendo and the cost is $8 for each child. This includes entertainment, meal, ice-cream and drink. Meantime, parents can relax and enjoy dinner and everyone is happy. Meals start at around $12, so all up they spent $60 for a great night out.
The next night they barbecued their evening meal by the pool at the resort. Food and drinks cost $30.
They took along breakfast provisions from home and bought milk at the nearby market, as well as sandwiches, chicken, fruit and drinks for lunch.
Beaches, of course, are free. Laguna Bay Beach is the best family beach, as it is protected. Window shopping along Hastings Street is free and fun and activities at the resort are free.
Apartments are serviced weekly and there is undercover security parking.