There is so much joy to be found traveling in and around Australia. This country has for a long time been on the top ten countries to visits personal lists for many travellers. With golden sand beaches, crystal clear waters all the way through the red deserts and to our impressive mountain ranges. Australia as a country really does have something to offer everyone and there is such a simple joy of traveling in Australia.
At the time of writing Australia is still suffering greatly from bushfires in every state and territory. I haven’t been able to find exact figures about the damage, including the lose of homes, natural bush lands, impact on tourism and the incredibly high death toll of native animals and animals indeed. And then there is the many human lives that have also been lost, and those that have been reported missing and not yet found. I wish I could bring y’all some better and brighter news on this story, but the harsh reality is that we are at the very start of the summer season, and many regions of Australia have been dealing with bush fires for months now. With several months left of bush fire season. Without a doubt climate change is affecting the Australian people and landscape.
At the time of writing 20 lives have been lost and an estimated 2,000 homes destroyed.
The importance of tourism to Australia
Now there are a lot of areas that have not been burnt out and are not currently under threat by the bush fires. Due to the media coverage a lot of tourists have cancelled their plans to come visit Australia, which is severely crippling the smaller tourist towns and leaving a lot of people having to answer some very difficult financial questions. Summer time in Australia is some of the busiest times for these small communities and they do rely heavily in the tourist dollar to keep them afloat across the year. Across Australia tourism is one of the largest employers, employing an estimated 646,000 people, making up 5.2% of Australia’s workforce (statistics from the 2017-18 Tourism Australia report) More importantly tourism in 2017-18 generated $53.7 billion to the Australian economy. Now I won’t deep dive into the stats here but it’s an interesting split between domestic and foreign tourism. Us Aussies do like to explore our own back yard just as much as we like to pop over the pond and explore a very different country and culture.
What’s happening with tourism in Australia?
Well for a lot of places business is slower then usual. but at the time of writing all international airports are open and operating. A few domestic areas have been affected with a few cancelled and many delayed flights. For most travellers it’s easy to get caught up in travel delays even when there isn’t a national disaster happening, and I’ve had my fair share of delayed and cancelled flights over the years.
To find out if an area has been affected and you should not travel there firstly check out the Australia Tourism website, and then double check with the local state based emergency services. All the links are listed on the Tourism Australia Travel Alerts page.
These bush fire affected areas need your tourism
Here are a few areas in Australia that are well worth visiting. Quite a few (ok not so much Melbourne or Sydney) are in dire need of tourism dollars to continue to boost the economy and help keep people employed and housed. You know that whole thing about ensuring that people have a job, that makes money so that they can live and continue spending in the areas, creating more sustainable work. That whole economic life cycle thing that I’ve just simplified down quite a lot.
Melbourne is such a fun city to visit. If you had plans to head across to East Gippsland, why not spend a few more days in Melbourne. The city is famous for it’s colorful laneways, coffee culture and cultural events. There’s literally something happening every weekend, whether you want to watch some sort of sport or if you want to go experience an art gallery or ten.
Ready to spend some sweet cash? Stay a night or two at The Adelphi and enjoy true luxury hidden away in Melbourne.
South Gippsland is an area that has not been affected by the bush fires. The current figures suggest that tourism is down 90%, due to the fires happening in East Gippsland. Now South Gippsland is exactly as famous as her eastern sister with beautiful areas such as Wilsons Prom. There’s lots of camp sites and hotels down here so you can stay in some level of luxury, yet spend the days exploring beautiful beaches and hiking to your hearts content.
Raymond Island, Gippsland.
Just off the coast and a short ferry ride from Paynesville (as in 10min ferry ride) is Raymond Island, home to the Raymond Island Koala sanctuary. If you do want to see koalas both in the wild and close up then Raymond Island is the place to pop over to. Now we have family in Payneville and I will admit that there is sweet nothing to really do in the town. I call it a retirement village and for good reason, it’s a town pretty much set up for summer visitors and retirees who want to enjoy the quieter life. It’s a nice enough town, with a few things to do. I’d almost suggest that you do a day trip from South Gippsland to Raymond Island. You’re an adult you can make up your own mind.
So it might seem odd to suggest Sydney, but this city does have the largest international airport in Australia. A lot of people have already cancelled their Australian summer vacation plans due to the bush fires in the state of NSW. Which is having a flow on effect throughout the region. Even big cities like Sydney do rely on the summer tourist trade to keep the small cafes, tour companies and retail industries afloat while the corporate folks are away on vacay.
Whenever I go to Sydney I love staying with the fine folks at the Hyatt Regency.
Hunter Valley, NSW
Now if you are popping by Sydney and want to escape the concrete jungle then a few days out in the Hunter Valley should cure whatever ails you. This region is one of Australia’s most well known wine regions. You’ll find it a great place to explore by car and enjoy the many large and small cellar doors on offer for your wine tasting enjoyment.
Please note that the Blue Mountains area has been heavily affected but there are many areas open and welcoming visitors. The Blue Mountains National Park is still closed , as are a lot of the walking trails but areas such as Katoomba, Leura and Blackheath are welcoming all visitors. Also Bilpin is open for fruit picking! Which is always a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Launceston & a visit to Cradle Mountain
Launceston is in the north of Tasmania and in my opinion is the most delicious port in Tasmania to begin your adventures. Tasmania has had areas affected by the bush fires but between Launceston and Cradle Mountain you shouldn’t have any issues. Cradle Mountain Lodge has recently refurbished their rooms and it looks simply stunning. This part of Tasmania is the perfect spot to spot wombats and paddymelons.
Don’t forget that this is the perfect Instagram spot on Dove Lake.
South Australia has also suffered greatly from this seasons bush fires. Adelaide might be the quieter of the Australians state capital cities but never far, you will have the opportunity to have an amazing time here. Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of new eateries, cafes and general nightlife. Sadly some of the more popular wineries and wine regions have been decimated. But there’s still a lot to see and do in this part of the country.
Fraser Island, Queensland
Perhaps you’re more so in need of a tropical escape than perhaps you should consider a relaxing week on Fraser island? Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island and appears on the UNESCO World Heritage list as a place of natural scenic beauty, the entire island plus a couple of smaller islands offshore are recognised for their significant ecological, geological and hydro-logical value.
There’s so much natural beauty on Fraser Island it was really difficult to pick just one photo to share! Thanks to Two Aussie Travellers for this great photo of Lake Wabby.
A few things to consider when traveling in Australia after the bush fires.
Whether this is your first time to Australia or you’re enjoying some local experiences there’s a few things to be mindful of. Firstly try travelling with an empty eski. You can search the #emptyeski campaign on Instagram. basically we are asking people to travel to regional areas and not to be self sufficient, ie don’t bring all your own groceries. Instead invest your money in the local supermarkets, local cafes and bakeries.
Pack yourself some supplies. I have just topped up the basics for my car road trip kit. Meaning that if I do get in trouble I can take care of myself and the puppies.
Be prepared and be aware.
Please ensure that you have access to the latest state emergency apps on your smart phone. If you are an international guest without data on your phone, be listen to ABC radio in the area you are traveling within. This radio station will have the latest up to date emergency information if there’s an issue you need to be aware of.
If you want to stay connected I can highly reccomend buying and using a Skyroam Solis. Buy a SkyRoam today, use the code HONEYBIRDTRAVEL and get 10% off!
How long will the recovery take?
Years. I wish i could say months, but sadly we still have months over bush fire season ahead of us here in Australia. The international community has banded together, sending supplies and fire fighting personnel to help where ever people can. While we are very grateful for all that everyone is doing this recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint. Communities are broken and will take years to heal, grow and restart. Some people and some areas may never return to their former glory and that’s ok.
You may have seen that I am donating all blog income from December and January to bush fire relief organisations. You can read about where the funds are going on the Bush Fire Tally post.
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Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.