Travel has changed across the globe, and overseas holidays as we remember them will probably be on the backburner for a while. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a change of scenery and make new holiday memories.
Australians now have the opportunity to embrace travelling on home soil like never before, by exploring some of the fantastic destinations we have right here in our own backyard and supporting local businesses along the way. Not sure where to start? We’re here to help with a few ideas to fire up your wanderlust and get you inspired to plan your next holiday here in Australia. And best of all? Most of these are driving holidays, so you can travel at your own pace and have wheels to explore when you reach your destination.
Live the farming life
Whether you’re a city slicker or just love the feeling of dirt under your boots, there’s a farm stay experience for everyone. Saddle up and take part in a cattle muster on horseback, help out with fruit picking season or just enjoy the fresh air as you observe day to day life on a real working farm.
Kids will love the good old-fashioned muddy fun, collecting farm-fresh eggs from the chook pen and learning where their food comes from, while parents will breathe a sigh of relief to see them outside and offline for a few days. Farm stays let travellers of any age escape city life and enjoy some big sky gazing, day and night. Some offer farmhouse accommodation with all meals included while others have self-catering options in cabins or shearers’ quarters, depending on the farm you choose.
Pitch a tent or hitch up the caravan
Packing up the car and going camping is a time-honoured Australian tradition. In fact, according to Tourism Research Australia, it’s our preferred method of holiday accommodation as a nation, with a total of 59 million nights spent caravanning and camping in 2019 alone. Add this enthusiasm to an increase in local travel post-COVID, and it’s no surprise that the future looks bright for this sector of the tourism industry.
What that means for the rest of us is that, ideally, we can expect better facilities and greater choice as more camping and caravan tourism providers compete for travellers’ dollars in a booming market. There are great options available for caravans, camping and even glamping at major operators such as NRMA Holiday Parks, plus they can help you plan your whole trip to ensure the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.
Alternatively, you can go it alone and stay at independent parks or campgrounds, but booking ahead is advisable, especially in peak periods. Ask other friends who are experienced campers for their advice on the must-stays (and the must-avoids). And of course, before you set out make sure your vehicle is serviced and safe, and your car and caravan insurance is up to date.
How about a house swap?
As the name suggests, when you house swap you literally exchange homes with someone else for a holiday. Aussie House Swap (winner of the Travel and Tourism Award at the 2019 My Business Awards) is a site that connects people willing to swap houses via an annual membership. Interested parties exchange photos and details about each other’s homes, align their dates and swap. As the site puts it, “You have a holiday in their house, and they have one in yours. You spend nothing on accommodation. It’s really that simple.”
Be a tourist in your own city
If you can’t get away for any length of time or a staycation is more your style, being a tourist in your own city is a great opportunity to find out more about the place you live and uncover some of its hidden gems. Do a deep dive on your city’s tourism website and see what’s on offer. You might be surprised to find there’s much more to see and do than you know. From walking tracks with a beautiful view, to multicultural eat streets and ghost tours of historical sites, you can plan any number of days with activities to please the whole family.
Just as you would if you had a week in any other city, set an itinerary, make a few restaurant bookings and get out there. And if you can’t face the thought of coming home each day to the usual chores, consider booking a hotel or an AirBnB for a night or two to really treat yourself.
Whatever your preferred holiday style, one thing’s for certain: Australia has so much to offer. And while we have the place to ourselves for the next little while, why not make the most of it? Go bush, swim off our beautiful beaches and gaze at our amazing landscapes. Just enjoy what we have on our own doorstep and keep supporting our fellow Australians and their businesses along the way. Safe travels.