Destination / Wish You Were Here

The bushfire-affected regions to visit on your next trip

bushfire affected travel

Although most states in Australia have shut their borders, there are currently very few restrictions on travel within your own state or territory. Australians are almost entirely free to travel within their state lines - with the exception of Western Australia, which has some restrictions on how far you can go from home.

Australians are extremely lucky to have such a rich and diverse landscape with countless travel destinations. So, how do you pick where to go?

We have a proposal: why not try and take your trip to a bushfire-affected destination?

With so much devastation and so many hardships to hit humanity this year, you'd be forgiven if the 2020 bushfires aren't at the forefront of your mind. But the reality is, the impact of the bushfires is still hurting many of our communities, and it is going to take a lot of work to reach recovery.

Many of these bushfire-affected regions rely heavily on tourism as a source of income. To move straight from raging fire to COVID-19 travel restrictions, it's been a tough year for these regions.

We've put together a list of some of the tourist destinations hardest hit by the 2019/2020 bushfires. These are the wonderful locations that should be next on your travel list.

 

For those in New South Wales

The Shoalhaven region

NSW South Coast destinations were some of those hit hardest by the fires and even six months on, these communities are struggling.

South Coast's Shoalhaven includes coveted locations like Nowra, Mollymook, Jervis Bay and the wonderous Hyams Beach - which claims to have the whitest sand of any beach in the world. You're spoilt for choice in this region. Find a beachy Airbnb or check out the lush Bannisters Hotel. It's perfect for those looking for a family escape or even a luxury couple's weekend away.

 

Batemans Bay

This is another South Coast destination (close to but not technically in Shoalhaven) that was devastated by fire. It's a great place for a sleepy, sea escape. Perfect for those who love hikes, beaches and fishing.

 

The Sapphire Coast

Rounding out the South Coast destinations is the Sapphire Coast. Can you guess how it got its name? One look at the region's coastline is enough to make it clear. This region has some of the most beautiful blue water you'll see. A haven filled with pelicans, craggy beaches and fresh seafood. And if you go at the right time of year, you might even see some dolphins and whales around Tathra.

 

The Hunter Valley

A pick from the North. You've probably been before, but with so many different wineries in the area, you'll find something new every time. While The Hunter didn't burn down like some other locations, many of the wineries had to throw away literal tonnes of grapes due to smoke taint. The talented wine makers in this region need our support more than ever.

 

The Blue Mountains

Areas such as Bilpin and Lithgow were devastated by fire. And at only two hours out of Sydney, this is a great place for a weekend away. There are more than a few lovely hotels that would appreciate your business. Make sure you head out to the art galleries in Katoomba and the orchard at Logan Brae while you're there.

 

The Southern Highlands

Another region hit hard by fire, much of the damage was done in the Kangaroo Valley. But the entire region was affected. Winter time is a perfect occasion to visit the sleepy Southern Highland which includes towns like Berrima, Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale. These are places to eat well, find antique treasures and discover lovely handmade wares. There's also a lovely nearby wine region.

 

For those in Victoria

The Gippsland Region

You probably saw some of the chilling photos from Gippsland during the height of the fires. People were stranded on the banks of Mallacoota. It was a town under siege. East Gippsland was on fire for almost three months. But not even the fires can take away the natural beauty of this region. To the East are beaches and lakes, and to the West are rolling hills, wineries and dairies. It's perfect for Victorians looking for a coastal escape or for those who want a foodie weekend away. The best brie I've ever eaten was from Gippsland, so try all the cheese you can find when you travel here.

 

High Country

The North East of Victoria which is referred to by some as High Country is a beautiful wine region. Here you'll find "Prosecco Road", a food and wine trail in the King Valley region. In fact, the entire area has been nicknamed Little Italy because of the wonderful Italian wine and food you'll find here. A 130,000 hectare blaze burned through this region, so it's an area that could benefit from some tourism support.

 

For those in South Australia

Kangaroo Island

This island was absolutely devastated. Half of the island burned, including the Southern Ocean Lodge - the island's internationally-renowned luxury hotel. Finding a new normal in this region is going to be hard. But after the devastation, it is now ready to accept tourists again to help revive the island's small economy. It's just 45 minutes by ferry from Cape Jervis - which is two hours by car from Adelaide. There is still plenty to see and do on this island, including some of the most spectacular views in Australia. You won't be disappointed.