It seems a lifetime ago that the worst bushfires on record ripped through regional towns across Victoria and New South Wales, with many people around the world donating to counter the devastation they caused. And while they were contained back in March, it is still very much a living reality for the people who reside in these areas, the recovery efforts made worse by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dramatic scenes that dominated the media are forever etched in our minds, and we’ve been itching for the opportunity to get out and support these communities as they rebuild and appeal for tourism to return.
Now that travel within the state is permitted again, we hope you will rally behind these towns or others nearby. Here are 3 Victorian bushfire affected communities The Gospel staff will be visiting in 2021.
Bright, Victoria’s High Country
Bright, known for its scenic beauty and outdoor adventures, was particularly hard-hit by the bushfires, with 30,000 people fleeing the small community and surrounding areas. There is a never-ending list of things to do: Mount Beauty Gorge Walk, mountain bike riding, driving the Great Alpine Road Touring Route, visiting Bright Brewery or Reed and Co Distillery, or wandering through the local shops.
We are keen to get around the Bright Autumn Festival (23 April – 2 May 2021), which is fanatical about celebrating the Autumn harvest. A 10-day festival devoted to items handmade, baked or grown, it is the perfect way to support local business.
Mallacoota, East Gippsland
Mallacoota, one of Victoria’s most isolated towns, was nearly wiped out by the bushfires, with the deep red burning skies and naval evacuation making news around the world. The town is eager for tourism, with the sounds of camping, fishing, water-skiing, kayaking and bushwalking, to return over summer.
As big bushwalkers, we plan to explore Croajingolong National Park, a UNESCO biosphere wilderness, that looks as remote as it does stunning. If we get the timing right, we will also attend the Wild Harvest Seafood Festival (9 – 11 April 2021), and feast on the local fresh seafood.
Whether you go over summer or autumn, tune into the community radio station 3MGB, who were instrumental in delivering 24-hour news to the locals during the fires, which is no small feat and a resource worthy of our support.
Milawa, King Valley
Milawa, while not claimed by bushfires, saw a dramatic 60% decrease in tourism as a result. Located in the Milawa Gourmet Region, it is famous for wineries, restaurants, local produce and craft, and has been on our list to visit since learning about the Pedal to Produce trail, to relive the bike wine tour experienced in Mendoza, Argentina by our Marketing Manager, Laura. What is not to love about biking from wineries to producers, tasting fine cheese, nuts, honey, wine and olives along the way?
If you can’t make it to the town, you can always support the community through online stores such as Wines of the King Valley. It’s deliciously easy.
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