Travel is calling. Whether it be a sunny escape or a cultural experience, Australians are ready to broaden their horizons after enduring two years of pandemic-caused lockdowns.
For some that means an interstate jaunt to visit relatives, while for others it means a bucket-list tick overseas. Three out of four Australians are planning to travel or take a holiday in the next 12 months with 44 per cent saying they were going interstate and a further 44 per cent reporting they would stay within their state borders.
The results of a survey of 1653 Australians by research firm Pureprofile also show people are more hesitant to travel overseas than within the country.
Of those with international travel plans, 23 per cent said they would travel this year compared to 47 per cent who will put it off to sometime in the next three years.
“There is still hesitancy around getting ill with COVID and if there is going to be any lockdowns in the countries people will be going to, so interstate travel is just much easier, ” said Martin Filz, chief executive of Pureprofile.
Despite the caution, Australians are still taking to the skies. Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics show international arrivals jumped by 103,370 trips from February to March and departments also rose in the same period by 158,980 trips.
International travel is expected to surge with the onset of Australia’s cooler months. The only question is – where to?
Chasing the sun
For many sunseekers, Bali is the obvious answer. As of early March, travellers no longer need to quarantine upon arrival, but they must have had two doses of the COVID vaccine. Outdoor mask rules have been removed with masks now only mandatory indoors and on transport.
COVID cases have declined since peaking in February with a daily average of approximately 200 infection cases.
Holidaymakers are expected to revive the tourist towns of Seminyak, Ubud and Canggu.
Fiji is a popular winter escape for sunstarved Australians thanks to it’s beautiful beaches and affordable accommodation. Fully vaccinated travellers can visit Fiji without the need to quarantine, but if you’re 12 years old or over, you must show evidence of a pre-booked Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 72 hours of arrival. Face masks are optional. The country is reporting an average of just 12 COVID infections daily.
Thailand may be a little further away (nine hours to Bangkok from Sydney direct), but flights are attractively priced at under $1000 return. However Thailand is grappling with COVID – daily cases are at 5251 on average. Travellers need to apply to enter under the Thailand Pass scheme and are recommended to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Snowlovers rejoice – Australia’s most popular snowfields are awaiting you!
Threadbo is the place to be for Sydney skiers. The ski mountain six hours south of Sydney has is planning to win people over with its traditional mix of skiing and snowboarding events, village atmosphere, kids events and live entertainment.
Also six hours from Sydney is the vast fields of Perisher. With more than 1200ha to explore, Perishers is a skier’s and snowboarder’s delight. Accommodation is available at nearby Perisher Valley, Guthega, Smiggin Holes and Jindabyne.
Falls Creek in Victoria, just four and a half hours from Melbourne, is a popular destination for families. It features a ski-in, ski-out village and 450ha of terrain.
Not far from Falls Creek is Hotham, popular with skiiers and snowboarders of all abilities. The beginners’ area is separate from the rest of the hill so it’s an ideal place to get started. There’s also a kids’ ski school and a husky dog sled tour of the backcountry trails.
Winter on the Gold Coast isn’t nearly as cold as it is everywhere else in Australia. June averages just six days of rain and July and August, just five. A major benefit is there’s less crowds and still lots of activities to do – visit the rainforests, snorkel the beaches and check out the theme parks.
The Barossa Valley, a 50-minute drive northe-east of Adelaide, is an idyllic winter journey. Pack your woolies and get ready to taste some of Australia’s finest wines. There are more than 80 cellar doors and at the surrounding restaurants, a selection of mouthwatering menus.
Tasmania becomes something of a winter wonderland in its chilliest months. Mona (the Museum of Old and New Art) hosts the midwinter festival Dark Mofo every year in June, which features the Winter Feast and the Winter Solstice Nude Swim. Then there’s all of Tassie’s natural beauty to explore, including the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
Wildlife lovers will enjoy Western Australia’s Coral Coast, which is home to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. The adventurous can swim with whale sharks until the end of July, while those after a more sightseeing trip can venture to the Pinnacles Dessert and from late July, various outback wildflower areas.