As Australians we live on a somewhat remote island and as such we are full of intrigue and endless dreams of far away places. Always looking for the next big adventure off shore- go someplace each year that we’ve never been before.

But now is the time to look closer to home, our land of sweeping plains is in need of wanderers from far and wide to come visit- after prolonged droughts, ravenous fires and the threat of foreign viruses domestic tourism needs some loving.

2020 is the year be a tourist in your own town and support the local economy- here’s a few beauties across the East Coast to entice.

Discover indigenous flora and fauna in a natural rainforest

The Gold Coast Hinterland was affected by the fires late last year with a large amount of Lamington National Park burnt out and numerous towns under threat. Properties such as O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat built on top of the plateau were largely unaffected and are a safe place to stay, play and explore the natural surrounds of this beautiful region.

There are a plethora of things to do (some free) including the treetops walk which is adjacent to the resort and is as tranquil as it is intriguing. There’s an array of wildlife fossicking along the way and for those more adventurous types take the flying fox across the ridge to the base of the retreat- warning you have to walk back up but its well worth the climb.

From bird watching walks to guided glow worm colonies immersed in the rainforest, O’Reillys is a buzz with nature based activities. On your way back down the mountain taste the array of local wines at Canungra Valley Vineyard and shop and eat at Canungra for a feel good moment.

Book a Bush Tucker & Taste tour on K’gari (Fraser Island)

Fraser Island is one of those places you’ve either visited as a kid and dreamt of going back to or a place you always wanted to go to.

Now’s the time to visit K’gari the traditional name of the island-as it will be known into the future. Kingfisher Bay Resort along with Fraser Coast Tourism have been working hard on preserving the indigenous culture and natural surrounds of this pristine island.

Tastefully built at the entrance of the island the Kingfisher Bay Resort has open breezeways and prides itself on sustainable design-the buildings were built from the natural timbers on the island.

Whether you day trip across the island in your own vehicle (warning it’s a wild ride) or I suggest taking an experienced guided tour from the retreat where you can learn about the flora and fauna along the way.

Take a bush tucker taste tour with a local chef and ranger, then indulge yourself with a degustation of said produce at the retreats restaurant, Seabelle- as night is falling over the worlds largest sand island.

Visit a Regional Art Gallery , cruise the Tweed River & sip local gin

The Tweed Valley in Northern NSW has been on the periphery of the fires that have engulfed regional NSW since September last year, feeling the effects of intense smoke and at times an eerie haze blanketed the sky.

The air has now cleared and there’s plenty on offer at the Tweed Regional Gallery with unsurpassed views across the Border Rangers to Wollumbin Mount Warning and a must see is the Margaret Olley Art Centre which is both interactive and free, bonus!

Head further north along the Tweed River to the charming riverside village of Tumbulgum and take a rainforest discovery tour with Mt Warning Tours, who also do a fresh seafood floating degustation cruise, first of its kind.

On your way back toward the Tweed coast stop off at the newly opened Husk Distillery to sample an array of locally made agricole rums and taste the butterfly pea infused Ink Gin.

If beer is more your jam check out the newest kid on the block, Red Earth Brewery on the Cudgen Plateau after you’ve tip toed through the sunflowers at Farm & Co

Uncover what’s on offer in Newcastle and surrounds

Newcastle has been culturally evolving for over a decade now and if its food, art and nature you’re after this is the place to be.

With a woking harbour you can watch the day go by at a plethora of waterside dining options, then explore the laneway culture and historical buildings that make up the vibe of this urban city.

Take a dip or surf at the six picturesque beaches on offer- there’s even a couple of old school ocean pools and dramatic blow holes to explore.

In just over 30 minutes you can reach Port Stephens where you are immersed in an aquatic playground with an abundance of whales and dolphins to watch. Moonshadow cruises are the tried and tested experience with over 38 years in the business, top tip book their twilight dinner cruise

From scuba diving to camel rides to sand dune riding the quintessential beachside town of Port Stephens has it all plus a lot more!

Visit a brewery at the historical town of Beechworth.

Now more than ever regional towns like Beechworth in the North East of Victoria need visitors to come play and stay awhile.

The fires reached neighbouring areas but the town of Beechworth remained largely unaffected and is open for business, such as the newly restored Billsons Brewery who put a call out on social media to visit the town.

With a newly opened barber shop, cafe, distillery and speak easy bar they have created the ideal day-tripper experience. Beechworth is known for its growth in the gold rush days of the late 1800’s and the town has delicately preserved its history through the many buildings and natural surrounds.

If you’re looking for the best travel blog and podcast on Byron Bay, Australia-make sure to check out As a travel writer and podcast host, I’m dedicated to sharing the best travel experiences, tips, and insights. Join me on my adventures as I explore the wonders of this captivating region and beyond.

Hot Springs & wineries await you on the Mornington Peninsula.

Head south to the lesser known region of the Mornington Peninsula, naturally beautiful and one hour from Melbourne it’s my pick, oh and also where I grew up.

Back in the day its was open plains of apple orchards, natural quarries and back beaches. These days there has been a resurgence of good food, wineries and the awe inspiring Peninsula Hot Springs literally sprung up.

On your way back from checking the surf pop in for an lunch at the iconic Portsea Pub and then head to Red Hill for a tour of Mont Alto winery complete with outdoor sculpture garden.

As the sun sets relax at the many natural hot springs and traditional hamman steam houses at the picturesque Peninsula Hot Springs.


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