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 Best Schoolies Week Destinations to Avoid the Gold Coast

The end of the year is almost upon us and that can mean only one thing, Schoolies Week! Australian high school grads will soon be celebrating their long academic path to adulthood by taking a week long, well deserved pat-on-the-back holiday.

While Schoolies is a time for celebration and letting loose a bit, many grads are looking for a safer and more enjoyable experience.

I have rounded up the top destinations across Australasia where you can ditch the drugs, binge drinking, and violence that often plagues the Gold Coast.

Airlie Beach

Couple on the beach love RF

The gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach offers easy access to day cruises and multi-day cruises.

Take your high school sweetheart on a scenic flight over the romantic Heart Reef or go fishing for some marlin with your mates.

Short on cash? Stay in town and relax in the manmade Airlie Beach Lagoon or take a dip in the natural pools of Cedar Creek Falls.

Victor Harbor

Victor Harbour is home to the annual Encounter Youth Schoolies Festival that takes place on Nov 23-25 in Warland Reserve.

Enjoy a wide range of events including a dress-up theme party, surf lessons, paddle boarding, windsurfing, mini golf, and scuba diving. Take the horse drawn tram to Granite Island or ride a camel along the beach.

For a little more excitement, grab your friends and go on a Waitpinga Farm Quad Bike Adventure. Schoolies can take advantage of  FREE transport to VH from Adelaide on Friday 23rd November and return trips on Monday 26th November.

Rottnest Island

Head to Rottnest Island for Schoolies if only to get your graduation selfie with an adorable quokka. Unlike other destinations, Schoolies on Rottnest is a three day event.

Entertainment wristbands are included in the price of your accommodation and get you access to all of the events held across the 3 nights.

Enjoy day and night activities, beach parties, live DJs and more. Just a 25 minute ferry from Fremantle separates you from all the action.

Magnetic Island

Offering 320 days of sunshine per year, you can be assured of great weather on this Great Barrier Reef island just a short ferry ride from Townsville.

Swim with horses by taking a bareback horse ride into the ocean with nothing but your swimmers. There’s plenty of self guided snorkel trails to explore the underwater world or stay dry and cuddle a koala at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village.

Relax along the shores of Horseshoe Bay or take to the waters for some of Australia’s best jet skiing.


Resort hotel RF beach

Of course nobody says you have to stay in Australia for Schoolies week. Take your mates on your very own Survivor challenge getaway to Vanuatu, minus the lack of food and getting voted out bits.

Vanuatu offers an oasis far from everyday life. Enjoy the Schoolies Vanuatu Party Cruise along with parties hosted by international DJs. For those looking for something more rewarding, Vanuatu offers many volunteer programs that will leave a memorable impression while also giving back to the community.

Head to Hideaway Island in Mele Bay for glass bottom boat rides, golfing, and the refreshing Cascade Waterfalls.


Just because school is finished doesn’t mean you have stop learning. Schoolies in Fiji offers a chance to learn about and appreciate Fijian culture while volunteering to tutor at a local school or through small construction projects.

Of course there will be plenty of time to enjoy the Fijian tropical paradise as well. Fiji sets up Schoolies well, offering a safe environment filled with activities. Enjoy karaoke, pop-up beach bars, speed dating, trivia, and DJ parties.

Things like snorkelling, paddleboarding, and kayaking can often be enjoyed free of charge with the option to take in all kinds of personalized tours.

Survival Tips for Schoolies Week:

Schoolies can be an incredibly fun holiday if done responsibly. A few good survival tips are:

➡ Book accommodation and flights well in advance as they can book out quick or rates may skyrocket the closer you get to the dates.

➡ Always practice safe sex if you plan on getting lucky during Schoolies.

➡ Limit your drinking to avoid ruining your holiday and watch out for drink spiking.

➡ If travelling internationally be aware the punishment for drug possession can be extremely harsh, including the death penalty.

➡ Only book accommodation at registered Schoolies hotels that have been shown to meet safety guidelines which helps you avoid toolies and other dangerous situations.

➡ Travel with a group of friends for added security.

➡ Be careful what you post on social media. Inappropriate photos can come back to haunt you.

➡ Purchase travel insurance to protect you financially in case anything goes wrong.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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