Plan A Trip In New South Wales To Help Bushfire Recovery

The bushfires that have razed across parts of New South Wales are entirely unprecedented; not just in the damage this crisis has inflicted upon the natural landscape and the loss of property, but also in the flow-on effects it is having upon regional economies. Some of these communities, as well as other parts of NSW, are also currently in the midst of record-breaking drought conditions. Many of the towns hardest hit by the fires often count tourism – especially during the summer period – as one of their major industries. And with visitors staying away for fear of being caught up in the fires, the small businesses in these regions need the support of locals more than ever as the rebuilding efforts start to get underway.

Planning a trip to one (or more) of these NSW towns, or even a bushfire-impacted area in South Australia or Victoria, is one of the most direct ways you can contribute to the recovery of regional tourism. It is as simple as spending with local businesses, from the hotel you choose, to the restaurants you eat at, the markets you shop at, and the attractions you visit. Book a getaway that gives back and plan a #RecoveryWeekend in NSW.

Travel out on a day trip and bring along an empty esky or picnic hamper to stock up on locally-made treats and goodies, or take a bit more time and book several nights’ accommodation to see and explore as much as the area as possible. No matter what your itinerary includes – tours with local guides, grazing platters at wineries, samples at an old-fashioned sweets shop – your support of these townships will become even more important as these destinations recover from decreased tourist numbers, cancelled bookings and altered public perceptions in the months and years to come.

Plus, we're offering $50* off each local hotel stay booked through Webjet.
Plan a road trip, stay in multiple towns and stack your savings.

The more people who visit, spread the word and encourage friends and family to plan similar travels; the more that can be done for those communities impacted by the fires. Below, find some ideas of towns to visit, things to do, and places to put on your travel radar for 2020 and beyond.


Where You Should Go in New South Wales

When planning your trip to fire- or drought-impacted regions of New South Wales, it is absolutely essential that you follow official travel alerts and safety recommendations in regards to road closures, act-and-watch warnings, and evacuation orders. Be sure to check for the most up-to-date alerts here before leaving home.

On the Sapphire Coast

Places to Keep in Mind: Merimbula, Tathra, Eden

What to Do: Hike the Sandy Creek Loop Track, taste just-shucked oysters at Broadwater Oysters or Wheeler’s Oyster Farm, have fish and chips at Bermagui Fisherman’s Wharf, learn about the world-famous fromage at Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, pack for a picnic from Eden Smokehouse, cast a line from Tathra Wharf.

In The Shoalhaven

Places to Keep in Mind: Berry, Nowra, Mollymook, Ulladulla, Kangaroo Valley

What to Do: Pick up loose leaf blends at The Berry Tea Shop, stop at Two Figs Winery, tackle the Grotto Walk, swim or snorkel at Murrays Beach, look at local works inside The Millhouse Art Gallery, wander The Pioneer Village Museum, follow the Coomee Nulung Cultural Trail, visit Australia’s only Aboriginal-owned botanic gardens at Booderee Botanic Gardens.

In the Blue Mountains

Places to Keep in Mind: Katoomba, Leura, Blackheath, Megalong Valley

What to Do: Admire the Three Sisters, check out Wentworth Falls, head to the Evans Lookout, travel in the railway or cableway at Scenic World, take in murals on the Katoomba Street Art Walk, order a pint at Mountain Culture Beer Co, relax with a Devonshire tea at The Megalong Valley Tearooms, visit Everglades Historic House and Gardens.

On the North Coast

Places to Keep in Mind: Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Port Stephens

What to Do: Explore the hidey-holes of Caves Beach, go snorkelling In the Solitary Islands Marine Park, visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, take to the Skywalk in Dorrigo National Park, quench a thirst with craft beers at Byron Bay Brewery, make the walk to Gan Gan Hill lookout, embrace the laidback lifestyle of Nimbin, take a dip in the Newcastle Ocean Baths.

In the Riverina Murray

Places to keep in mind: The Murray, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Junee, Griffith, Snowy Valleys

What to Do: Along the Murray River, take an iconic paddlesteamer cruise from the historic port of Echuca Moama. Cruise Lake Mulwala by Kayak and fish for the native Murray Cod. See some of the contemporary art and important indigenous works at the Murray Art Museum Albury. At the Corowa Whisky and Chocolate factory, enjoy high quality Australian whisky, organic chocolate and licorice products. In the Riverina, enjoy delicious wine, pick your own oranges or taste artisan delights. You’ll find many delicious adventures in Junee, Griffith, Wagga Wagga. Take a road trip to the Snowy Valleys and enjoy bushwalks, mountain biking and horse-riding.

It isn’t just communities directly impacted by the fires that are feeling the effects of a drop in tourism though. Some regional townships, not even close to the nearest-burning fires, are experiencing lower visitor numbers too. Don’t neglect these destinations, such as Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and Hunter Valley, when planning any trips out into regional New South Wales. 

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