The Best Motels to Book in Australia

The Shearing Shed Motor Inn is a great stop-off on a road trip through New South Wales
The Shearing Shed Motor Inn is a great stop-off on a road trip through New South Wales | Courtesy of the Shearing Shed Motor Inn / Expedia
Photo of Tim Forster
29 October 2021

Whether you’re on a great Australian road trip or a lightning weekend away, the list of must-visit small towns and cities is as big as this great southern land itself. You won’t see as many corporate chain hotels or their flashy boutique cousins outside of Australia’s major cities, so motels are one of the main accommodation options on the menu. They’re a great choice for those looking for something affordable yet with more amenities than a backpackers’ hostel. Here are a few of the best options across the country – from the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales to the white-sand beaches of Tasmania, all are supremely comfortable and bookable with Culture Trip.

Queechy Motel, for bay views in Tasmania

Exterior view of small cottage with sliding door to stone deck surrounded by foliage
Courtesy of Queechy Motel / Expedia
Here’s a cosy option for visitors to St Helens, a coastal town in Tasmania close to the beautiful Bay of Fires, with its white-sand beaches. Run by a friendly local couple, it has just six air-conditioned rooms ideal for couples and families of up to five. Expect no-fuss comfort with soft beds and views out to Georges Bay in spaces that are bigger than your average motel room. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, you can also get a room with a spa tub in the bathroom.

The Overlander Homestead, for a true Aussie vibe

Bedroom with mahogany furniture, brass lamps, king bed, maroon leather armchairs and sliding door to porch area overlooking courtyard
Courtesy of the Overlander Homestead / Expedia
Heading out of Brisbane towards the Outback? You’d be wise to stop off in the town of Roma and stay at this family-run, four-and-a-half-star motel. The Overlander has a distinctly Aussie vibe, with classic brick-and-tin roofed architecture, vintage mahogany furniture (including king beds) and a large yard planted with gumtrees. There’s a pool with a barbecue right nearby, but those who don’t want to cook for themselves might consider the motel’s stellar steakhouse – this is cattle-farming country, after all.

Bright Colonial Motel, for alpine cycling trips

Large enclosed pool area with wood decking and sunloungers
Courtesy of Bright Colonial Motel / Expedia
In the Victorian alpine town of Bright is this gorgeously refurbished motel. Its rooms are sharply modern with minimalist design enhanced by splashes of natural woody textures, king beds and one- or two-room set-ups to suit singles, couples and families. Traveling cyclists are well looked after with special facilities and tools for bikes, but non-riders will appreciate the luxuriant pool and its pavilion with barbecue, wine fridge and pizza oven. The centre of town, with its cute cafes, restaurants, bakeries and brewery, is just three minutes away on foot.

Jindy Inn, for a stylish ski getaway

Rustic dining room with wood-top tables and windows overlooking the green surroundings
Courtesy of Jindy Inn /
High in the Snowy Mountains, conveniently close to multiple ski resorts, is the small town of Jindabyne – and here you’ll find stellar digs in this stylish upscale motel. Directly across from beautiful Lake Jindabyne, it has rooms that feel splendidly natural, with earthy tones and artwork depicting Aussie flora and fauna. All 15 have king beds, flatscreen TVs and central heating, while some possess balconies and splendid lake views. Ski bunnies can leave sodden gear in the drying room, change and head out – while the rooms don’t have cooking facilities, the town centre, with its pubs and restaurants, is a two-minute walk away.

Cowra Services Club Motel, for a wine-tasting base in Cowra

Large room with king bed, powder-blue couch, wall art and tan carpeting
Courtesy of Cowra Services Club Motel / Expedia
A couple of hours west of Sydney is the town of Cowra. With numerous wineries in the surrounding Lachlan Valley, it’s an unmissable destination for any self-respecting oenophile. All 30 rooms, decorated in a soothing combination of ash and white colours, come furnished with king beds, air-con, workspaces and gleaming modern bathrooms. Travelling en famille? Some can sleep up to four. Conveniently, the motel is right at the centre of town, just a couple of minutes from supermarkets, shops and places to eat.

The Shearing Shed Motor Inn, for a road-trip stop in Dubbo

Exterior of two-storey Shearing Shed Motor Inn with parking area at dusk
Courtesy of the Shearing Shed Motor Inn / Expedia
This retro motel is located in the Central Business District (CBD) of Dubbo, in the Orana Region of New South Wales. Known for its huge open-range zoo, it’s a great stop-off for road trippers. The inn comprises an assortment of rooms with twin, queen and king beds, as well as two-bedroom family spaces with a bunk bed. All are simple yet modern with dashes of Aussie influences (notice the stylised tin siding behind the bed). The motel has extra amenities, among them an outdoor pool and barbecue area. It doesn’t have full kitchens, but plenty of pubs and places to eat are yours, an easy walk away.

Lake Inn Ballarat, for an outdoorsy getaway near Melbourne

Red brick exterior of corner Lake Inn Ballarat facing roundabout at dusk
Courtesy of Lake Inn Ballarat / Expedia
The historic mining city of Ballarat is a great getaway from Melbourne (90 minutes by car), and the four-star Lake Inn will look after anyone who makes the trip. The property is a homey red-brick building one block away from Lake Wendouree, a hub for outdoor activities, and a few minutes from the city centre with its spectrum of restaurants. Expect seriously large rooms with lots of natural light and carpets for the cold Ballarat winter – all have queen or king beds, some come with a spa bath and kitchenette; a self-contained two-bedroom apartment with full kitchen is also available – and is the perfect solution for families.

Mollymook Seascape Motel and Apartments, for a coastal break

Lagoon-style pool with tropical garden
Courtesy of Mollymook Seascape Motel and Apartments / Expedia
In the popular beach town of Ulladulla, a few hours south of Sydney, Mollymook Seascape is a fantastic place for a coastal break. Its rooms have a distinctly maritime feel to them, painted in shimmering white with splashes of blue or green. All have king or queen beds with kitchenettes, and there are also apartments available with extra amenities including a full kitchen. Outside, there’s a lagoon pool, tropical garden and barbecues. Take note: the motel is adults only.

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