Your guide to rediscovering Australia in a post-pandemic world

We don’t know exactly when international leisure travel will return — so it’s time to rediscover our own backyard. Wondering where to visit in Australia? What to do? How to make the most of the trip? Meet your new interstate travel guide.

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Before you move on — this is no ordinary travel guide. No standard city lists here, we’re in the post-COVID world now. As cafes, restaurants and regional travel open up here’s your guide to on the new wave of domestic travel. Because if we can’t travel internationally, let’s go explore our home country.

If you’re used to jetting off to exotic overseas locations, don’t worry! There’s so much untapped beauty in our own country, now comes the fun part of discovering it. We bring you the rising trends and new experiences.

Ready to get re-inspired by Australia?

#1 — Have a staycation and meet the cool class

With more of us travelling domestically this year, it’s a great opportunity for hospitality and accommodation brands to step up. We could see more unique themes, niches and collaborations to deliver distinctive experiences that ‘whisk you away’ in the same way travel would. No need to take a plane anywhere, time for a staycation instead.

There’s already been a move towards distinctively designed and innovative hotel-venues. In 2018 The Calile opened in Brisbane, a modern resort style hotel which photographs like it came out of Spain or Mexico. The central pool was even transformed into a runway for The Iconic’s 2019 summer show. Whereas Bondi’s Hotel Ravesis had a branding makeover in 2017 to play up its art deco history, and wouldn’t look out of place on a Miami strip.

We also have art-led hotels like Hotel Hotel (now Ovolo Nishi) in Canberra which was the result of collaboration with over 50 artists and local artisans. Or custom designed hotels like The Collectionist in Sydney where you can ‘step into a new world in every room’.

Krystal (@houseofharvee) poolside at The Calile hotel in Brisbane

#2 — Go regional with your new travel bucketlist

While we were all busy flying around ticking off countries, a few indie brands were growing roots in the background. Move over Airbnb — meet Unyoked and Riparide. With tag lines like ‘adventure-and-chill’ and ‘soul-fulfilling escapes’ we think you’ll have an interesting time. These guys are Aussie built and know our country. So go regional. Take a getaway in a quirky place or hidden house. Ultimate isolation and surrounded by nature.

Then for the sights — anyone have visiting a pink lake, swimming with Nemo or seeing the aurora lights on your bucketlist? Australia has some of the most colourful and strange natural sights. We’ve got pink lakes in multiple states, the Great Barrier Reef in QLD and Southern Lights in Tasmania — and this is only scratching the surface. Get ready to head off and capture a beautiful destination. (It’s likely going to be a small town you haven’t heard of yet.)

Hanna (@solarpoweredblonde) on a road trip from Perth to Esperance
Carmel (@carmelboyd_) captures the night sky in snowy Tasmania

#3 — Head on a road trip for the ultimate #vanlife

Ah the freedom of a road trip. It provides the ultimate escape (one that doesn’t always need to end). It also offers a lot of the excitement of travel without having to get on a plane or go to another country. Imagine waking up by a beach, or surrounded by desert. At each stop meeting new and interesting people (socially distanced of course). Move when you want to, plan and change plans as you go. Save on accomodation by bringing your own (van or tent). And learn what minimalism truly means — well that or the pain of lugging around way more than you have to!

Anyone can get on board — from Aussie families to travel couples and those who run a business as they go. If they can make a whole life out of it, there’s no excuse for you to get on the road for your next trip (even if for a few days).

Before you get started on your next road trip, learn more about van life in Australia or read about why the humble road trip is making a comeback for millennials. Then when you’re on the road, here’s some interesting reading about the strange world of #vanlife and how the pursuit of a simpler life became a lifestyle brand.

Bec & Gary (@we_who_roam) finding hidden gems on the road in SA
Lex (@lexcello) captures Kimo Estate in regional NSW

#4—Become a hometown hero

For those that aren’t keen on spending time on the road, consider being a hometown hero. These are the people who’ll be guides for the rest of us visiting. They’re the ones currently adding their stories to sites like onthegrid.city, running Airbnb experiences, or being on-the-ground scouts for Broadsheet and Sitchu. They love nothing more than exploring their own town, offering insight into its history and having their finger on the pulse.

This is a great time for locals in the community to come together and create guidebooks to their area. Entice travellers to come by and jump start those businesses that suffered during lockdown. Support by spreading the word about your locals that have moved online. Or get creative and support local collaborations, like Hospo Threads which started in Sydney to help bars faced with lockdown closure sell their merch online.

Luke (@lukesphotographymelbs) captures Melbourne from above

#5—Embrace Australiana (the next hot trend)

With greater focus and time to spend in our unique country, make the most of it. Learn more about a region and showcase what it can do by perhaps, visiting a small winery. Or experiment with making your own products (and it might lead to greater things like Frank Body which grew a simple Melbourne coffee scrub into a global Aussie offering).

Your next trip away could mean catching your own meal, touring a distillery or harvesting native ingredients. Or discovering a new product sourced from our land, like Seljak’s woollen blankets. Tourism Australia is also offering tips on how to approach your first trip away, like visiting bushfire affected regions to boost their recovery and see first hand how the land responds.

Learn more about native Australia, and you’ll appreciate just how special our country is.

Vaida (@vaidasav) capturing the natural beauty of South Australia

There’s so much untapped potential in our home country and it’s time to make the most of it. With the distraction of overseas travel gone for now, let’s make 2020 the year of getting back to our roots. Explore your local and regional communities, seek out the new and innovative offerings or try your hand at harnessing Australia’s unique nature.

We’ve drawn up our new travel bucketlist, what’s on yours?

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