Holiday here this year and don't forget to take along your empty esky

22 October 2020
Holiday here this year

Rural towns in Australia have been hit hard in the past twelve months. They have faced droughts, bush fires, and now COVID-19 keeping visitors away. As restrictions begin to lift and the weather warms up Aussies will be looking to plan their holidays, and with limits on international travel many of us will be looking to domestic trips.

Before Australia experienced the first lockdown earlier in the year my family took a short trip to regional Victoria and NSW, taking along our empty esky after coming across the #emptyesky pledge on social media. 

The Empty Esky pledge is to get people to visit townships and support small businesses affected by the Australian bush fires. Travellers are encouraged to take along their eskys to fill it with local produce and wares. 

I documented our road trip hoping to inspire others to holiday here this year and support towns in need of visitors. 


Holiday here this year

Our destination was the Southern Highlands to visit my parents and attend a wedding in Kangaroo Valley. To break up the journey we visited Mansfield and Adelong in country Victoria and New South Wales, two communities impacted by the bush fires. 

On day one, our lunch stop was in the small town of Yea. We stretched our legs with a walk along the main street and visited the Y Water Discovery Centre and Wetlands. My three year old enjoyed the interpretive displays and we learned more about the area too. There is an information centre on site, tables and BBQ outside the building. There were some antique stores I would have loved to check out but a tired toddler derailed this idea. We made a note to return here in the future for explorations of the region.

Holiday here this year
Inside the Y Water Discovery Centre and Wetlands

We spent our first night at Delatite Hotel, Mansfield. Arriving late to the town meant we didn't get to see much. After dinner we walked along the main street and played at the Mansfield Botanic Park with our toddler. Mansfield does offer many activities and is a great jumping off point for exploring Victoria's High Country. Coincidently I ran into a friend from high school at the pub bistro running Hidden Trails a local horseback adventure tour company and got to hear first hand how the fires hurt the regions tourism over summer. 

The next morning we woke early, collecting breakfast from the local bakery. We usually sit down and eat in, keeping our reusables for collecting snacks. 

As we moved past the town of Holbrook there were hints of burnt landscape here and there along the Hume Hwy. Turning onto the Snowy Mountains Hwy the evidence of the catastrophic fires is everywhere. We saw homes and sheds destroyed, the country turned black. It was heartbreaking to see. 

I chose Adelong specifically because this part of the snowy region was one of the worst affected by bush fires. It's an area known for apple and pear farms, most being destroyed during the natural disasters. Blaze Aid are still on the ground lending a hand between the south coast and snowy region. 

My husband, The Builder, has not traveled around this part of Australia. The snowy region is one of my favourite parts of Australia and I like to drive through on the way to Batemans Bay to see my grandparents. 

Adelong is a village with less than 1000 people nestled in a valley next to Adelong Creek. The main attraction is remnants of the gold rush at Adelong Creek Falls Gold Ruins. The town consist of two pubs, a hotel, local supermarket, RSL with a Chinese restaurant, Op Shop, antique store, Post Office, real estate, community bank, local wares shop...pretty much the usual operations a small town offer. Most rural towns will boast an Op Shop as their only clothing retails store. I really like that about Australia.

We visited the Adelong Creek Falls Gold Ruins. When we arrived we kicked ourselves because we forgot the hiking carrier for our son back in Melbourne. We got as far as the water but couldn't go further down the track. Which was a shame as the creek walk looked beautiful from what we could see. 

Adelong


Our accommodation was very cute. An old house brought back to life. It could easily fit a larger family or two small families inside. 

Adelong

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the local Chinese restaurant inside the RSL. We weren't the only ones that liked it, with many locals popping in to pick up takeaway throughout the evening. 

The following morning was the final drive to Moss Vale to see my parents. Before leaving we ventured to the main street to visit some of the local stores. First stop was the Op Shop (thrift store).

Adelong



A cute top that I had to take home with me. I rarely buy new to me clothes, mainly because I'm nervous my son will spill something on it. But I couldn't resist this one.

We walked down the street to Rustic Creations and walked out with arms full of locally made soap and jams. 



We filled our empty esky at a farm gate before leaving Adelong. Raspberries, pumpkins, more jams and chutneys went in, to be shared with my parents. We got to chat with the owners of the road side stall about the fires and how they have hurt business, including hers. She hadn't heard of the #emptyeksy initiative but liked the idea of people visiting gems like Adelong on their adventures. 

#EmptyEsky

#EmptyEsky

Having grown up in a country town I know visitors are important for sustaining local business and adding to the wellbeing of a small community. I'm excited to see where everyone will holiday here this year and fill up their empty eskys with locally grown and made food.

It might sounds weird for an eco blog to encourage a road trip. Aren't cars bad for the road? Yes, they are. We all know that. Unfortunately the most eco friendly options are not the easiest for all. Getting to many of these small towns by public transport requires two-three days of travel and sometimes costs more than a flight or road trip. It's not impossible and is part of a growing movement called slow travel. We have travelled by train many times between Sydney and Melbourne, and highly recommend the trip.

One way to reduce your impact is to offset your trip through an offset program or by personally owning your carbon through volunteering to restore habitats in your local area as suggested by Zero Waste Dork

Holiday here this year


Powered by Blogger.