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How to do a big family weekend under $500

13:00 AEST Fri Aug 26 2011
Jules took up the challenge of showing that a family of eight can have a great weekend for $500. The Santillo family is made up of mum, dad and six children aged between 8 and 16, so you can see it was a real challenge to find something to satisfy everyone. Scroll down to see how Jules spent his $500 budget!

They headed to Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula, 80 kilometres south of Adelaide.

Victor Harbor Holiday and Cabin Park

With villas, chalets, cabins, units, onsite vans and large grassed powered and non-powered sites, this proved to be just the ticket for the Santillo family.

To keep within the budget, the family took hampers of food and drinks for breakfast and picnics. Feeding eight can be expensive, and it was all hands on deck when preparing their favourites.

The park has free barbecues, games room, playground, jumping pillow, laundry, two amenities blocks and communal camp kitchen and television room. There's also a kiosk with a coffee machine.

It's an easy five-minute walk to the beach and 10 minutes to town.

Victor Harbor Cycle and Skate

There's a wide range of bikes here and a couple of hours will allow you to take in most scenic points. They have bike seats for children too young to cycle alone.

The Bluff, also known as Rosetta Head, is a 200 metre granite outcrop with magnificent views of Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor and surrounding countryside. There are walking trails you can walk to give some different muscles a workout.

Cockle Train

This is a well-loved local treasure. SteamRanger Heritage Railway runs train trips between Goolwa and Victor Harbor. The Cockle Train leaves from Goolwa Station in the historic Wharf Precinct alongside the Murray River. It heads across the plains to Middleton, picking up and dropping off passengers, then travels on to Port Elliot where it reaches Encounter Bay. There's a small historical museum there.

It's great fun and if you are there in winter and enjoying the views of the Southern Ocean, you could just see Southern Right whales having a grand old frolic.

Flying Fish Cafe

On the beachfront at Horseshoe Bay in Port Elliot, Flying Fish Cafe is famous for fish and chips, served in a paper cone, to be enjoyed on the deck which is heated in winter.

Pop in straight from the beach for morning tea or a delicious meal of Coorong Mulloway, salt-and-pepper squid, prawns, calamari or one of their vegetarian options.

The restaurant provides smart dining at lunch time and elegant fine dining at dinner time.

You might enjoy taking one of their ice creams as you stroll along doing a spot of window shopping. Who knows, there may be a few pennies left in the kitty for a visit to the town's lolly shop.


Victor Harbor, 90 minutes south of Adelaide.


Victor Harbor Holiday & Cabin Park accommodation starts at $82 a night for a two bedroom holiday unit and $67 for one bedroom cabins. There's a $6 charge for each child four years and over. Unpowered sites are $25 a night and powered $27. Rates apply from Sunday to Thursday nights.

Victor Harbor Cycle and Skate hire is $10 an hour, $30 for 4 hours and $40 for 8 hours. Children's seats are $5. Helmets and locks are included. They are open between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday and 10am to 3pm on weekends and public holidays.

SteamRanger Heritage Railway Cockle Train full return trips are $28 for adults and $14.50 for children over five years. The full journey is around half an hour. There are short sector fares and one-way fares available. They operate on Wednesday and Sunday and in South Australian school holidays.

Flying Fish Cafe is open every day from 9am to 4pm.

Prices correct at August 27, 2011.

For further information

Victor Harbor Holiday & Cabin Park
Bay Road
Victor Harbor 5211
Ph: (08) 8552 1949

Victor Harbor Cycle & Skate
73 Victoria Street
Victor Harbor 5211
Ph: (08) 8552 1417

SteamRanger Heritage Railway
Railway Terrace
Victor Harbor 5211
Ph: 1300 655 991

Flying Fish Cafe
1 The Foreshore
Horseshoe Bay
Port Elliot 5212
Ph: (08) 8554 3504

Breakdown of family's $500 weekend:

  • Petrol $60
  • Accommodation $135
  • Groceries $100
  • Bicycle hire $50
  • Cockle Train $54
  • Lunch $90
  • Total $489

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