The recent bushfire season has left many communities around Australia in a state of utter devastation. Though the worst of it is behind, there is a long road ahead before these towns are back on their feet.
There are lots of ways you can do your part to support these communities as they rebuild. As many of these regions are reliant on tourism, they are eagerly awaiting visitors to consider spending their tourist dollars. So, with Easter coming up why not spend the long weekend (or any weekend) visiting some of these places affected by the fires?
To give you a little bit of inspiration, we’ve rounded up a few ideas worth considering for your weekend plans – from where to stay, what to see and things to do. There’s definitely something here for everyone!
Please note, some of the places and attractions on this list may be closed due to continuing serious conditions or as they rebuild. Please check prior to travel.
Yarra Valley, Vic
Less than an hour from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley offers an indulgent experience of quality food and wine amongst terrific scenery. The Yarra Valley is famous as one of the world’s premier wine growing regions, known for the endless vineyards and cellar doors. If wine isn’t your thing, explore the markets to try the local produce, visit some of the local art hotspots or book in for a luxury spa experience.
Mogo may seem like a sleepy highway stop at first glance but pay this quaint South Coast town a visit and you’ll quickly fall in love with its charm. Mogo’s history goes back to the Gold Rush era, evident in the beautiful heritage buildings. Wander through the many artisan stores and take a look at the exquisite range of locally crafted items. And you can’t forget about the Mogo Wildlife Park!
Home to an extensive collection of native and exotic animals, the zoo proudly boasts the largest collection of primates in Australia. Due to the fires, the park is temporarily closed but from March 1st, tourists can visit once again.
The Blue Mountains, NSW
The Blue Mountains is an easy day trip or weekend away from Sydney by train or car. Put on your hiking boots and follow one of the many bushwalking trails to be rewarded by sensational views. If hiking isn’t your thing, book a ticket for a ride on the Scenic Railway as it travels into the Jamison Valley, or try the Scenic Skyway for views of the Three Sisters and beyond.
Halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, this coastal town on the Sapphire Coast is a haven of clear water and white sand. Make the most of the natural surroundings and try your hand at an outdoor experience like snorkelling in Kianniny Bay or paddling on the beautiful Bega River. The region is renowned for its oysters and fresh produce so take some time to enjoy a delicious meal at a local restaurant such as the Tathra Beach Cafe or Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill.
Kangaroo Island, SA
Kangaroo Island was hit heavily by bushfire season but there remains a lot of rugged natural beauty to be explored. Swim with dolphins on a marine adventures tour, take a scenic drive across the green plans and towering cliffs or explore Flinders Chase National Park. There are some amazing offers available right now to entice visitors to come and support Kangaroo Island – everything from luxury accommodation, guided tours and experiences.
Jindabyne’s rich wildlife and rugged landscape make it the perfect region for immersing yourself in the outdoors. From 4WD and bushwalking trails to the abundance of bric-a-brac stores and cafes, there is plenty to do and see – both in Jindabyne and it’s surrounding townships. Why not take the opportunity to camp beneath the stars? If doing it rough isn’t your thing, book a stay in one of the many luxurious lodges nestled among the mountains. Tantalise your tastebuds with a visit to the Wildbrumby Distillery for a free tasting tour of award-winning Australian schnapps made from locally sourced fruit. Jindabyne thrives in the winter so if you want to try your hand at snowboarding or skiing, make sure to come back and visit in snow season.