With the latest travel alerts recommending Australians reconsider their need for overseas travel, and businesses in many regional towns impacted first by bushfires and then by event cancellations, there’s never been a better time for Aussies to explore our own spectacular (and often-overlooked) backyard.
The great news is you don’t have to spend your hard-earned holidays on the sofa at home watching Netflix. The diverse and stunning natural beauty, adorable native creatures, and unique, colourful and fun towns of our great southern land attract visitors from all over the world – almost ten million last year, in fact! We’re very lucky to have all this at our doorstep.
There’s an equally important reason not to scrap your holiday plans completely, where practical: the bushfire crisis took place during the height of Australia’s tourism season, costing billions of dollars to the economy. Visiting bushfire-affected towns and regions helps rebuild communities that need our support. And with so many gorgeous bushfire-affected places to explore, there’s never been a better time to explore regional Australia and #holidayherethisyear.
So here’s 6 bushfire-affected regional places across the country that are just perfect for your roadtrip itinerary, so you can help regional Australia rebuild and have an amazing time in the process. Get in touch with an ATAS accredited travel agent about your domestic adventure: they’ll have the tools, support and expertise to help you plan the perfect, unforgettable journey to suit your style and budget, and give you some great advice. Have fun exploring!
The gorgeous holiday and fishing town of Mallacoota captured the essence of the bushfire crisis, gaining attention across the world for the apocalyptic photos of its red skies as the bushfires “turned day to night” and thousands of locals and holidaymakers fled to the beach.
But this lovely spot in East Gippsland is already recovering. The bush is quickly regenerating, businesses are open, kids are surfing, and the many attractions of the town and its surrounds are bringing back visitors. A stone’s throw from the NSW border, Mallacoota is surrounded by dense forests, beaches and waterways, making for spectacular views.
Mallacoota is a convenient base for exploring places like Point Hicks Marine National Park, with its incredible diversity and abundance of marine life, and the remote Gabo Island with its unique cultural heritage and wildlife, and stunning landscapes.
Betka Beach, Mallacoota. Image: Visit Victoria
Nestled between Mount Buffalo and Alpine National Parks and situted on the Ovens River, Bright is an amazing place to explore, and the way its scenery changes with the seasons makes it well worth coming back again and again. Truly a year-round destination, Bright is widely known as a perfect spot to see the autumn leaves.
With snow season just around the corner, its surrounding peaks will soon be blanketed in snow and buzzing with families enjoying some of Victoria’s best places for skiing, snowboarding and more. During the annual Spring Festival, you can visit mature gardens full of blooming dogwoods, daffodils, irises, roses, annuals and so much more.
Visitors can enjoy river swimming, bike riding, walking trails, camping, boutique shopping, wildlife spotting and horseriding, as well as fly fishing, golf, tennis, croquet, and bowls. Whether you’re planning a family adventure or a romantic escape, Bright has something for everyone.
Autumn leaves in Bright. Image: Visit Victoria
Jervis Bay (NSW)
Located in the picturesque Shoalhaven Region just under three hours south from Sydney and east from Canberra, Jervis Bay is a 102 km² oceanic bay and village said to have the world’s whitest sand. You’ll find coastal, marine and hinterland National Parks nearby with fantastic bushwalking, cycling, camping, Indigenous culture and stunning scenery. Dolphins frolic year-round in the bay, while the humpbacks and southern right whales migrating through these waters from June to November make it a treat for marine afficionados.
From its thriving arts and cultural scene, charming coastal atmosphere and excellent outdoor activities, Jervis Bay is a firm favourite that’s perfect for a weekend getaway; or stay longer and explore everything that Shoalhaven has to offer.
White sandy beach in Huskisson, Jervis Bay. Mark Fitzpatrick; Destination NSW
Kangaroo Valley (NSW)
Another Shoalhaven favourite, Kangaroo Valley is known as one of Australia’s prettiest valleys, with lush wilderness and beautiful river views. The village itself is quaint, lovely and historical, known for its country charm & heritage architecture including its very Instagrammable bridge. It’s a great spot for a relaxing getaway, as well as getting active with kayaking and canoeing down the Kangaroo River.
Hampden Bridge, Kangaroo Valley. Image: Dee Kramer Photography
Adelaide Hills (SA)
Only 30 mins drive from Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale, with its leafy canopies, adorable animals, quaint towns, farmers markets, wineries and more. The Hills are a great place to sample world-class fare, produce and wine, and the scenery is a feast for the eyes.
Some highlights include the Hahndorf Academy complex (housed in a charming 150 year old building), the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market, Adaminca Alpacas and The Labyrinth.
Golding Wines. Image Adelaide Hills Wine Region
Kangaroo Island (SA)
Kangaroo Island is an exceptional SA treasure, boasting unspoiled rugged coastline, native bushland, abundant wildlife, local wines and stunning beaches. Just under 4 hours from Adelaide, the island has over 500km of coastline to explore, as well as walking trails and water sports galore.
You’ll also find some of Australia’s most delicious produce; the island is a natural microclimate, and famed for its honey, seafood, eggs, olives, wines and spirits. From farm gates to cellar doors, restaurants to food trucks, there’s plenty for the gourmet traveller to enjoy here.
Sunset Food & Wine in Kargaroo Island. Image Elise Cook
Don’t miss our information for travellers, for tips and advice on what to do before you depart on your holiday.