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Life has become particularly challenging for most of us at present due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are living in lockdown, not able to see friends and loved ones, having to cancel travel plans and unable to sit in a public park or on a beach. It’s tough! We need to remember that these restrictions won’t last forever and as soon as things get back to normal a lot of us may be hesitant to travel for a while. So during this period I’ve got some ideas on how to become a tourist in your own town or city.
I realise that being a tourist in your own town or city will differ from place to place. There are obviously more things to do and see, or more tourist attractions in the larger cities or towns. Be prepared to jump in your car or on a bus or train to visit the nearest regional city. Alternatively visit your local Visitor Information Centre and gather some information on what to do and see in your area, including national parks, lakes, rivers, forests and beaches.
The majority of cities have some wonderful attractions with many being located on geographically significant features such as natural harbours, beaches, rivers, mountain ranges or forests. For example, the Sydney Harbour or the Brisbane River.
Here are some ideas for exploring your closest city:
Remember when we were kids? Our parents would load us into the family sedan, (no seat belts and no car booster seats), and set off for a Sunday drive into the country. Sometimes it would entail a stop off at a country Pub, when Dad would quickly go inside for a cold beer and bring us back a raspberry lemonade as a treat. Other times we would go to visit aunts, uncles and cousins that lived in the country. We had cousins that lived on a farm around a 45 minute drive from where we lived and we often went to visit.
So jump in your car and take a drive out into the countryside surrounding your town or city. You will be amazed by what you will discover. Little country towns that exude charm and country hospitality; properties selling fresh farmgate produce; quaint little gift shops brimming with homemade arts and crafts; weekend markets full of all types of wares; and breathtaking countryside with the freshest air to inhale.
Worth checking out are regional food and wine trails. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday than driving around the countryside sampling fine wines and tasty fresh foods. Some suggested itineraries include cheesemaking factories, smallgood producers, chocolate makers, olive groves, vineyards and boutique breweries. There’s a great one in my area called the The Gold Coast Hinterland Food and Wine Trail. You can download a trail map HERE
A favourite pastime of ours is to get out into the great outdoors to go for a hike. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town or city that has walking trails then you don’t need to go too far. Otherwise jump in your car and drive out to the hinterland or mountains to some of our national parks to enjoy a hike in the bush. Our last hike was on one of the walking tracks in the Border Ranges National Park in Northern New South Wales, about an hour’s drive from where we live. Go to your National Parks and Wildlife website in your state or territory for more information, or head to my post called Great Australian Hikes.
Otherwise try out some of the great cycling trails in Australia. Many of these have been created from old railway lines that take you through some picturesque terrain, under bridges, through tunnels and vast farmlands. One such trail is the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, west of Brisbane, that runs from Wulkuraka to Yarraman for a distance of 161 kilometres. During recent times we cycled along the very scenic Casuarina Beach Pathway that runs from Kingscliff to Pottsville in Northern New South Wales.
My husband and I have been known to travel a short distance (an hour at most), from where we live to enjoy a weekend escape in our caravan, staying in a B&B or holiday unit. It’s only around a 45 minute drive to escape to seaside villages of Byron Bay or Brunswick Heads on the North Coast of New South Wales. In most cases you don’t need to travel for hours to totally escape. You just need to have a sense of adventure and pretend that you are miles away from everywhere!
I would suggest trying mountain retreats, beachside caravan parks or camping grounds, country cottages or bush camping. Our last weekend getaway was to Brunswick Heads in Northern New South Wales where we camped along the Brunswick River. Although it’s only a short drive we still felt that we were a world away!
I hope you’ve gained some inspiration from this post. There is always plenty to discover in your own backyard, so don’t be afraid to look outside the square. I think this saying sums it up!
You don’t have to travel a thousand miles to have an adventure.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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