Travel calls. Whether it’s a sunny escape or a cultural experience, Australians are ready to broaden their horizons after two years of pandemic-induced lockdowns.
For some, that means a trip between the states to visit relatives; for others, it means checking the bucket list abroad. Three out of four Australians plan to travel or take a vacation in the next 12 months, with 44 percent saying they would go interstate and 44 percent saying they would stay within their state lines.
The survey results of 1,653 Australians by research firm Pureprofile also show that people are more reluctant to travel abroad than within the country.
Of those with international travel plans, 23 percent said they would travel this year, compared to 47 percent who will postpone it sometime in the next three years.
The places to go if you’re chasing the sun, looking for snow, or just satisfying your taste buds. International and domestic locations.
“There is still hesitation about getting sick with COVID and when there are closures in the countries people are going to, so traveling between states is just a lot easier,” said Martin Filz, chief executive of Pureprofile.
Despite the caution, Australians are still taking to the skies. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that international arrivals increased by 103,370 trips from February to March, and departments increased by 158,980 visits over the same period.
International travel is expected to increase with the onset of the colder months in Australia. The only question is: where to?
Chasing the sun
For many sunbathers, Bali is the obvious answer. Travelers will no longer have to be quarantined on arrival from the beginning of March but must have had two doses of the COVID vaccine. Outer mask rules have been removed, with masks only required inside and on transport.
The number of COVID cases has decreased since the peak in February, with a daily average of about 200 cases of infection.
Vacationers are expected to breathe new life into Seminyak, Ubud, and Canggu tourist towns.
Fiji is a popular winter destination for sun-starved Australians thanks to its beautiful beaches and affordable accommodation. Fully vaccinated travelers can visit Fiji without going into quarantine. Still, if you are 12 or older, you must show proof of a pre-booked Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 72 hours of arrival. Face masks are optional. The country reports an average of only 12 COVID infections per day.
Thailand may be a little further afield (nine hours to Bangkok from Sydney direct), but flights are attractively priced at under $1000 round trip. However, Thailand is struggling with COVID – a daily case average of 5251. Travelers must apply to enter under the Thailand Pass scheme and are advised to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Snow lovers rejoice – Australia’s most popular snowfields are waiting for you!
Thredbo is the place to be for skiers in Sydney. The ski mountain six hours south of Sydney aims to win people over with its traditional mix of ski and snowboard events, village atmosphere, children’s events, and live entertainment.
Also, six hours from Sydney are the vast fields of Perisher. With over 1200 ha to explore, Perishers is a delight for skiers and snowboarders. Accommodation is available nearby Perisher Valley, Guthega, Smiggin Holes, and Jindabyne.
Falls Creek in Victoria, just a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne, is a popular destination for families. It features a ski-in, ski-out village and 450 hectares of land.
Not far from Falls Creek is Hotham, popular with skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The beginner’s area is separated from the rest of the hill, so it’s an ideal place to start. There is also a children’s ski school and a husky dog sled ride on the backcountry trails.
Winter on the Gold Coast is not nearly as cold as anywhere in Australia. June has an average of only six days of rain, and July and August only have five. A big plus is that there are fewer crowds and many activities to visit the rainforests, snorkel on the beaches, and check out the theme parks.
The Barossa Valley, 50 minutes drive northeast of Adelaide, is an idyllic winter journey. Pack your Woolies and sample some of Australia’s finest wines. The surrounding restaurants have over 80 cellar doors and a selection of mouthwatering menus.
Tasmania becomes something of a winter wonderland in the coldest months. Mona (the Museum of Old and New Art) hosts the Dark Mofo midwinter festival every June, featuring the Winter Festival and the Winter Solstice Nude Swim. Then there’s all the natural beauty of Tassie to explore, including the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
Nature lovers will love Western Australia’s Coral Coast, home to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. Adventure seekers can swim with whale sharks until the end of July, while those who can head to various outback wildflower areas after a more sightseeing trip to the Pinnacles Dessert in late July.