It’s no secret that 2020 has been a disastrous year, starting with the devastating fires that destroyed many parts of Australia. Some of the worst hit places include the south coast of New South Wales, north-east and eastern Victoria and Kangaroo Island in South Australia. All these places rely heavily on tourism.
There are a few campaigns encouraging Aussies to #HolidayHereThisYear (we don’t have much choice!) to #BookThemOut and #GoWithEmptyEskys to bushfire affected towns. After the whirlwind year that it has been, we all deserve a holiday! With COVID cases declining and borders opening up*, it is perfect timing to safely travel to these towns. However, it is important to keep following social distancing measures and keep your COVIDSafe app on when travelling.
When visiting these places, turn the trip into a shopping expedition. Pack light and treat yourself to new clothes, homewares or antiques. Make sure to try out the local food of the region and eat out at restaurants and cafés when you can. Don’t forget to take plenty of local wine, produce and gifts back home.
The town of Bilpin in NSW is located on the historic Bells Line of Road in the Blue Mountains. Known for its apples and fruit orchards, Bilpin was heavily impacted by the Gospers Mountain Fire at the start of the bushfire disaster. The Bilpin community is now calling everyone to come #BacktoBilpin. Only 1.5 hours away from Sydney, Bilpin is great for a day trip or weekend getaway from Sydney. There are some great cabin accommodation options, walks, fruit picking and cellar doors to check out. Try an apple pie from Bilpin Fruit bowl. Try a tasting board of cider at Bilpin Cider and Hillbilly Cider (both have non-alcoholic options). For breathtaking views and a wonderful café, check out The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah.
South Coast of NSW
The bushfires devastated towns and land all the way from Shoalhaven region down to Eden and across to Mallacoota over the Victorian Border. The NSW south coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and some of the whitest sand in Australia. Make a road trip out of it and travel with an empty esky to the towns all the way down the coast.
Some places to check out include Green Patch in Jervis Bay, Batemans Bay, Mollymook, Ulladulla, Narooma and Merimbula and Mogo Zoo.
Kangaroo Island, SA
During the 2019/2020 summer, Kangaroo Island suffered its worst bushfires in recorded history. However, the best of Kangaroo Island is still open and ready for you to visit. With stunning beaches, interesting walks, kayaking, fishing, camping, cellar doors, seals and penguins, there is something for everyone. Located just off the south coast of Adelaide, you can take a day trip, or stay longer at the range of accommodation options on the island.
You can find out more information and plan your itinerary here: https://www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/
Gippsland & East Gippsland, VIC
You may recognise Mallacoota from the haunting images of people huddled on a wharf and the beach as the smoke turned the air and landscape bright orange and black. Mallacoota is a popular holiday town in East Gippsland Victoria, nestled in the midst of the Croajingolong National Park. It is the perfect place to relax and explore the pristine coastal wilderness.
While in the Gippsland area be sure to check out the waterways of Paynesville and experience riding camels along the beach at Lakes Entrance.
Bright and Wandiligong, VIC
Although Bright and Wandiligong did not lose any buildings, their bustling tourism industry was completely desolate last season. Bright is a bustling holiday town set along the Ovens river. It is perfect for water activities, hiking and cycling. Make sure you check out the Bright Brewery and picturesque ‘Wandi Pub’ in neighbouring Wandiligong. For the adventurous at heart, be sure to travel to Mount Feathertop and hike the 22km return trail to the summit of the second highest mountain in Victoria.
*Border openings are still subject to change due to rising COVID cases in some areas. Please keep an eye out for updates and call ahead to check cancellation policies.
Important: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. Consider the appropriateness of the information in regard to your circumstances.