10 Reasons You Should Still Visit Australia
Australia is extraordinary at all times, but if you need some reasons why you should visit stat, we've got them.
Time for a trip Down Under
We’re heartbroken over Australia’s bushfires, but many of the country’s most wonderful attractions are far from the fires and are still safe to visit. Plus, visiting now will help Australia’s economy at a time when it could really use the support. Wondering where to go? These are the most popular travel destinations in Australia.
The country needs our support
People are stranded and homes have been destroyed. But we can help. “Whilst bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected and most tourism businesses are still open,” says Phillipa Harrison, managing director of Tourism Australia. “It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities that may have been impacted.” There are still plenty of places that have been relatively unaffected and are welcoming tourists.
You can help rescue koalas
Approximately 500 million animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles, have died in the bushfires, according to estimates by Chris Dickman, PhD, an expert on Australian biodiversity at the University of Sydney. If the videos of thirsty koalas and grateful kangaroos are hitting you in the gut, you’ll be happy to hear you can volunteer to rescue and rehabilitate animals stranded in the fire. Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service, Inc. (WIRES), Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, is organizing teams of search and rescue volunteers to help save the native wildlife. These are the animals that are at risk of going extinct because of the wildfires.
It’s summer season now
You wanted a warm-weather getaway, correct? It’s summer season in Australia at the moment, and with massive areas of the country safe from the fires, this could be your beautiful sunny beach vacay. In Sydney, for example, highs in January reach into the 80s with lows in the 60s, making this the perfect beach vacation. These are 11 more places to visit where it’s summer right now.
The Australian Open
This is the tennis tournament we’ve been eagerly anticipating, and it’s scheduled for January 20th in Melbourne. While Australians were nervous that the fires were going to wreak havoc on the matches, Australian Open organizers say the tournament will most likely go on as planned, though if there are extreme smoke conditions, the roofs will be closed. This is the first of the four Grand Slam matches of the season and it’s incredibly exciting to see it in person. Fans will be watching to see if Serena Williams can nab her elusive 24th Grand Slam win, which would tie her with Margaret Court for Most Grand Slam wins. It’s not just people who set records—these are 20 of the biggest, tallest, fastest record-breaking travel destinations.
There are plenty of places unaffected by the fires
Yes, the bushfires have ravaged many parts of the country. But according to Simon Westaway, executive director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, there are vast parts of Australia that are unaffected. These include Melbourne, the Gold Coast (shown above), and Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney has experienced some smoke haze, but as of this writing, it is still open for business. The areas that are more severely affected include parts of the Outback, the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, and Canberra, the country’s capital. Check out Australia.com to stay up to date about changing conditions.
You need to drink goon
Goon is the generic name for a 4-liter box of Australian white wine and it may possibly be Australia’s most famous drink, though few people beyond Australia have ever heard of it. It’s ridiculously inexpensive, and many people mix it or drink it on ice. Goon costs between $9 to $15 per box and has about 10 percent alcohol. Not a fan of cheap wine? Check out some of the notable vineyards in Victoria. These are 14 more gorgeous vineyards around the world everyone should visit at least once.
The perception of the fires may be even worse than the damage
The fires are bad, no doubt. But Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement that, “There is always a risk that the widespread media coverage of these bushfires will also impact other regions of Australia.” They are closely watching how it’s affecting tourism throughout this massive country. “We are monitoring the global media coverage and its impact on future bookings closely and assessing how to address the impact of this as the situation unfolds,” he says. The nation is investing record amounts of money into the tourism campaigns, and we need to remember that Australia is still a wonderful place worthy of a visit.
Qantas, Australia’s largest airline, recently added new partners including Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Air France, and KLM Royal Dutch Airline—and they announced that they will lower their prices for their economy class by up to 10 percent. Plus, they’re increasing the availability of award seats on their flights and their partner flights by up to 30 percent. In the near future, we also expect non-stop flights from New York and London to Australia’s East Coast via Qantas’s Project Sunrise. A trip from New York to Sydney is already one of the longest nonstop flights in the world.
It’s inexpensive at the moment
The exchange rate between the Australian dollar and the American dollar is the best it’s been in more than a decade, according to the Guardian. Translation: $1 U.S. is worth $1.46 Australian, which is a pretty nice bargain. These are the currency exchange secrets you need to know before your next trip.
Local businesses need our support
Now is the time to help, and with social media, it’s easier than ever to find local Australian businesses in need of support. Find the small businesses that are open via Instagram on @spendwiththem then show your support via Twitter with the hashtag #Gowithemptyeskies.
Other ways you can help Australia
In addition to visiting and helping Australia’s economy, you can donate to a number of worthy and reputable organizations. Each provides much-needed assistance and relief in a different way—from helping affected communities and rescuing koalas to supporting the volunteer firefighters, many of whom are unpaid and have put their own lives on hold to help.
- Victorian Bushfire Appeal, which helps families and communities affected by the fires
- The Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund
- The CFS Foundation of Volunteer Firefighters
- WWF-Australia’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund
- WIRES, an organization committed to helping the wildlife of the country
- The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
- Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie NSW
As they say, every little bit helps—and it truly does. Now, learn what the Australian bushfires mean for the rest of the world.