Australia has seen some pretty tough times this past summer with whole towns devastated by bushfires while hundreds of Aussies have lost their precious homes. However, one of the great things that arose from this tragedy is a show of how incredibly community spirited and big-hearted Australians really are with donations flooding towards bushfire relief efforts.
Another fantastic way we can all help our towns get back on their feet is to get out and visit our amazing Aussie communities, especially those who have been affected by the fires. Tourism Australia has kicked things off with its terrific Holiday Here This Year campaign to let everyone know Australia is “open for business”.
To help support this great campaign, here are our top reasons why we should all pack our bags, grab the Navman and get out and visit bushfire affected parts of Australia.
Tourism will help communities bounce back: As the Australian tourism campaign points out there are retailers, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions and small businesses that need your tourism dollars and support to survive following the fires. So, take that trip, stay somewhere different, try some local delicacies like seafood on the coast of NSW and Victoria, or wineries and breweries in Western Australia (just limit it if you’re driving afterwards!) Enjoy the ice cream, buy the farm produce, grab a coffee and take that fishing trip, visit the club and even fill up on petrol before you get home.
Because these Aussie towns are so darn beautiful! Some of the areas impacted by the bushfires are some of the most stunning places in the country – why wouldn’t you want to visit? There are the clear beach waters of Bateman’s Bay in NSW which is also said to be home of the best oysters in Australia, or The Three Sisters in Blue Mountains. In Victoria the gorgeous Lakes Entrance features Australia's largest inland network of waterways, and amazing cycling tracks, or there are the spectacular limestone caves, scenic walking trails and picnic spots in Yanchep, Western Australia among many other places. Check out the website for inspiration.
Tis the season of public holidays: We have so many public holidays coming up – there’s Labour Day in West Australia, Canberra Day on 9 March as well as Victorian Labour Day on 9 March, meaning there will be long weekends in all these States. Not to mention the four-day Easter Weekend starting on 10 April. These public holidays are perfect opportunities to get out on the road, enjoy our glorious country and help Aussie towns in need. It’s a good time to start planning now or if you take along a Navman Drive Duo device you can even head out last minute as the Lonely Planet Guides will help you find places to stay and eat along the way.
Because … Aussie mateship! ‘Mateship’ is embedded in our culture, and right now the number of international tourists booking holidays to Australia is down 10 to 20 per cent because of the bushfires* (and getting worse due to a lack of Chinese visitors). There are towns that really need us now, and when our fellow Aussies are down, we need to be there to help them get up again.
Some of the places really struggling with tourism following the fires right now include Merimbula, NSW; Bright, Victoria; Balmoral NSW; Lakes Entrance, Victoria; and Kangaroo Island in South Australia, so if these are places you have always wanted to see, or you simply want to help our Aussie towns now is the best time to visit them.
*Australian Financial Review, 17 January 2020