Caravanning and camping with a conscience
Travelling with a conscience has never been so relevant or important. Visiting a drought-stricken town or post bushfire affected town is the best way to help the economy and support our country and coastal communities.
We all want to see our country recover quickly from the bushfires and drought and for many of us the best way we can offer support is to spend our travel money in towns impacted. It's also nice to think that enjoying the great tourism attractions and amazing natural landscape these towns offer, may go a way in helping to boost the towns morale.
Also something to consider is supporting the smaller establishments rather than the big you-beaut places where your dollars can make a big difference. Travelling with children we have found the best camping experiences we've had are at the nature based locations, we would choose to give our kids a nature based experience over a splash park any day of the week.
Camping and caravanning holidays are the most affordable types of holidays and with some of the very small towns in our outback communities offering free camps, you can then afford to further support their local community by buying a coffee, dining out, buying raffle tickets, buying drinks, refueling, groceries.
After towns have been given the all clear by authorities and it's safe to visit, you can plan a road-trip or stay, however please before turning up with empty fuel tanks, bare pantries / empty eskies, empty water tanks, please phone ahead and ask what supplies they have available, you don't want to be a further strain on already limited supplies and resources and be getting in the way.
Bushfires aside for the moment, lets talk about the drought. Australia's total rainfall last financial year was 24% below average, it was the driest financial year since 1969-70 and the 5th driest on record. Below average rainfall for many areas exacerbated severe drought conditions. It was also the 2nd warmest financial year on record, with these hot and dry conditions affecting water supply and the lowest ever soil moisture level was recorded.
We called out to our online community to uncover towns they were aware of in need of support and we heard some heartbreaking stories of caravan parks in drought affected areas really struggling.
New South Wales
NSW is suffering, the drought map above shows pretty much the entire state in drought and there's currently catastrophic bushfires. Many businesses are doing it tough and it's only going to get worse before it gets better.
So many places to visit when it's safe to do so, here's a few suggestions:
- Baradine + Coonabarabran - great tourist sites, Warrunbungles, Sand Caves, Pilliga Pottery, Sculptures in the Scrub, Observatory & Baradine Discovery Centre.
- Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures - these guys have been affected by fires with many cancellations, they are now asking for visitors. It's a great stop just north of Sydney, offering horse riding and other activities.
- Gloucester - gateway to the Barringtons, caravan park in town
- Braidwood (between Canberra and the South Coast) is really struggling as it has been affectively cut off for over a month now.
- Areas in central West NSW, are very drought affected and virtually out of water, towns like Tottenham, Tullamore, Condobolin to name a few
- Located on the New England Tablelands in the stunning town of Walcha is the Walcha Caravan Park. These guys have been really doing it tough and in danger of closing due to recent bushfires and road closures.
The Granite Belt in Queensland's cool climate country was affected by drought and then catastrophic bush fires in September 2019 which ravaged properties and affected businesses in the area. One of the areas big farm stays Foxbar Falls near Stanthorpe although not directly affected by fire, have been intern affected with many cancellations from people worried about the recent fires in the area, but they are very much open for business and would be grateful for anybody who stops by.
Fraser Coast: 700 acre working cattle property and orchard, drought declared and had a fire burn grass which was going to be used to bale feed the cattle and it also burnt their young orchard. Click here for further information and bookings - property name is Evergreen.
Drought is affecting farmers in East and Central Gippsland, the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District and Millewa in north west Victoria. And there are significant fires burning in East Gippsland.
Towns in these areas who rely on the Summer holidays for much of their income, towns such as Mallacotta and Lakes Entrance will be needing support in months to come. As will Central Gippsland, beautiful towns such as Briagolong, with camping at the quarries, is a stunning safe place to stay in Central Gippsland.
If you are planning a holiday, look beyond the big players, try checking out farm stays in your State, many farmers are opening their land to campers to derive some income, especially important during these tough times.
The drought and bushfire affects are widespread, we don't even scratch the surface, but rather than letting this blog sit as a draft, we wanted to get this out to spark conversation and consideration. If you're forward planning day trips / weekends away / holidays throughout 2020, please consider a visit to one of our drought or bushfire affected areas to help support these communities and the rebuilding of towns and businesses.
Coastal towns in Southern NSW, towns such as Nowra, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Jervis Bay, Narooma, Eden, Bega and surrounding areas will be welcoming visitors later this year. As will popular holiday destinations in East Gippsland such as Mallacoota and Lakes Entrance. And Kangaroo Island in SA. And sadly there will be many more affected towns to come needing future support.
Some excellent Facebook pages to follow to find out how you can further help include: