It’s almost time to start packing your cars and exploring Australia again as intrastate travel restrictions begin to ease across the country starting 1 June. Tourism Australia’s picked some adventure-filled road trips that you’ll be allowed to take, which is perfect timing given there’s a long weekend coming up.
Even if these haven’t been on your radar before, it’s time to give domestic tourism a boost and explore some hidden gems and local towns, while supporting communities and businesses that have taken a hard hit.
Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, said in an email to Lifehacker Australia many Aussies are keen to travel again.
“We know people still want to travel and that they want to get out and explore,” she said.
“Our recent consumer research showed over 60 per cent of Australians are keen to travel around Australia once restrictions ease The process of rebuilding tourism is likely to be gradual, starting first with day trips and weekend getaways as people begin exploring their local and regional gems.
“And while taking a road trip to a local region might not seem like much when compared to big extended break, each time you choose to explore and spend locally you’ll also be helping regional tourism businesses and communities to get back on their feet after what has been perhaps the most challenging period the industry has ever faced.”
All of you who’ve been dreaming of travelling again, here’s where you can go, state restrictions permitting. Call ahead and make sure all the spots you’re planning to visit are open, take all the necessary precautions, and keep washing your hands.
As Australia begins to re-open, state border restrictions are being eased giving many of us the chance to visit family and friends as well as take some much-needed day trips. With each state and territory announcing their own plans, however, it's gotten a bit complicated as to where you can go and when. Here's a breakdown of the new rules and we'll keep updating it as the situation changes.Read more
Day-trips from Canberra, ACT
From Monday 1 June, travel between and throughout the ACT and NSW is permitted.
- Visit the Southern Highlands where pretty towns take after quaint English villages set amid lush green landscapes. Drive out of Canberra to Mittagong, Yass and Young for day trips. Some of the highlights include Bungendore, which is known for its art, craft, antiques and restaurants. Walk around Leighton Gardens in Moss Vale and visit Australia’s oldest jail. You should also stop by the award-winning Gumnut Patisserie before heading to The Bradman Museum if you’re a cricket buff.
- Enjoy the outdoors with a trip to Snowy Mountains and head to one of the towns in the regions like Jindabyne, Thredbo, Tumut and Perisher. Tumut, for instance, is a perfect mountain escape where you can bike, hike, fish or go golfing.
Weekend beach getaway or support a bushfire affected community from Sydney, NSW
NSW residents will be able to take a holiday anywhere in their state from 1 June.
- Take a break from the city and drive northeast to Palm Beach which sits at the top of a long peninsula and is surrounded by clear waters. Walk the take the 800-metre trail to Barrenjoey Lighthouse and lightkeeper’s cottages for panoramic views over Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
- Alternatively, head to Australia’s second oldest city — New Castle — for surfing or a lap in its heritage-listed ocean pool, Bogey Hole.
- The Blue Mountains suffered a devastating blow earlier this year. Over 80% of its area burned in Australia’s summer bushfires. However, it’s coming back to life again and given temperatures are dropping, a trip to the mountains would be ideal. The most picturesque trip up the mountain is via Bells Line of Road stopping in at Bilpin for 100% mountain-grown apple ciders. You can also visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and of course, the Three Sisters.
Outdoor adventure loop from Darwin, NT
Come 5 June, restrictions on the designated biosecurity areas in the NT will be lifted for residents on 5 June, including East Arnhem Land. Keep in mind that travel restrictions are still in place for interstate and overseas visitors.
- Explore the Greater Litchfield Loop for stunning landscapes, waterfalls and walking trails. Most areas in the Litchfield National Park are open so it’s worth visiting Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole for a swim. There’s also the options of camping at Wangi Falls or alternatively, stop in at Dundee Beach for world-class fishing and camping.
Getaways under 150kms in Queensland
In Queensland, only recreational travel for day trips within 150km of your region is currently allowed. Otherwise Queensland borders are still closed and interstate travel not permitted.
- Set on a day trip from Cairns to Mission Beach and on the way, enjoy breakfast at the iconic Babinda Bakery. At Mission Beach, take a dip in the swimming hole at Josephine Falls but if that’s not your cup of tea, do the 750m rainforest walk instead. Once you’re done, explore the Babinda Boulders scattered across Babinda Creek.
- Those residing in Brisbane can take the help of Google Maps for a look at countryside options within 100km of reach such as Lamington National Park, whose rainforest are worthy of World Heritage-listed status.
Adventure out from Adelaide, SA
There are no current restrictions on intrastate travel within South Australia.
- Travelling to nearby regions for short overnight stays is now allowed in South Australia. You could potentially drive to Flinders Ranges and visit the Wilpena Pound (around 5 hours away from Adelaide), a natural phenomenon that looks like a giant crater.
- If you’re not feeling the long drive, just an hour away from Adelaide’s airport and CBD lies the coastal town of Goolwa known for its unpretentious beauty, historic charm and laidback locals. In case you weren’t already sold, it’s legit the only place in the world where you can board a steam train on Australia’s oldest railway and ride a steam powered paddle-boat that is over 100 years old.
Cross the whole island of Tasmania
Tasmanians can take day trips within the state but overnight trips will only be allowed 15 onward.
- Visit Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay on a day trip from Hobart. Clean air, stunning views and great walks: that’s the post iso life you need right now. You can visit one of the seaside towns — Orford, Triabunna and Swansea — as you head to the park. When you’re hungry, grab some fresh oysters or abalone from Freycinet Marine Farm (open for takeaway) or head to the fishing centre at St Helens.
Explore the coastline from Wangaratta, Victoria
From 1 June, further easing of travel restrictions in Victoria will allow travellers to stay in a holiday home, private residence, or tourist accommodations such as caravan parks and camping grounds, where there are no shared communal facilities. Victorians will be only be allowed to cross the border into NSW and ACT.
- Make your way along Victoria’s Great Alpine Road for a 340km adventure, from Wangaratta in the north-east across to Metung on the gorgeous Gippsland Lakes. From mountain ranges to valleys, lush green forests and vineyards, you’re going to be spoilt for choice.
- In case you’re slightly rushed for time, head to Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges for a relaxing weekend away from Melbourne. Take in the native wildlife at play, find out why it’s Victoria’s spa centre, or head down to Lake Daylesfore and paddle around in a kayak on Jubilee Lake.
From sea to lakes, visit the open national parks in Western Australia
As of 29 May, regional travel restrictions have been lifted. However, this does not include travel to biosecurity zones within the Kimberley region, parts of Shire of East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and remote Aboriginal communities.
- Esperance to Kalgoorlie (four-hour drive): Some of the highlights include white-sand beaches of Lucky Bay, watching local kangaroos chilling on the beach, the famous pink lake (Lake Hiller) and seeing the sheer size of the Super Pit, the biggest open gold mine in Australia.
- Spend a few days making your way along the rugged coastline from Exmouth to Geraldton. Some of the highlights include hiking the Mando Mando Gorge track in the Cape Range National Park, taking a dip in the turquoise waters of Ningaloo Marine Park, popular for its tropical fish and multi-coloured coral of World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, and the incredible Carnarvon blowholes.
- Perth to Albany: Art lovers should drive along the PUBLIC Silo Trail to admire a series of world-class murals and have a meet-and-greet with the resident bottlenose dolphins in Rockingham, about 45 minutes south of Perth. You could also visit the Margaret River Region to check out a whisky distillery or walk through Torndirrup National Park and see the wave-carved rock formations including Natural Bridge.
For more inspiration, you can visit Australia.com.
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