Emily Elizabeth May

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How Can We Help Australian Towns After The Bushfires

I put a question to my Instagram story a few days ago, asking if anyone had been to visit small towns directly affected by the bushfires, or towns that are seeing knock-on effects from the nearby bushfires.

Alex and I intended to visit some small country towns, to spend our money there over the Australia Day weekend.

I had an overwhelming amount of responses to my Instagram story, asking if I would share everyone's answers to my question. But no one actually answered my question!

I realized that the information wasn't very clear yet.

After speaking with a few people, I found out that most were worried about whether or not it was appropriate to visit these towns. They wanted to help but they didn't want to get in the way.

I wanted to create a quick blog post that made some of this information accessible and clear for anyone who might want to visit small country towns soon.

Below you will find a section of helpful information and links to plan your trip as well as pictures and stories from our day trip inland!

Information & links to plan your trip

- DO NOT visit a town currently fighting a bushfire. This is not safe for you or others.

- DO visit towns that have seen bushfires go through them. BUT first, check here to see if they are welcoming visitors yet. (For example: East Gippsland in Victoria has been partly affected by the fires, some areas are closed off but some areas are now welcoming visitors.))

- DO make a plan. Plan which towns you may want to visit, and take a moment to call businesses to check if they are open. - DO research local markets that are on in rural towns. This is a great way to support many of the locals at once.

- DO take an empty eski. Fill it with local produce from small businesses. Cafes, bakeries, corner shops, gift shops.

- DO NOT drive into regional Australia without checking current fire warnings. You can find your state's fire authority below.

State fire authority updates:

New South Wales www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Victoria www.cfa.vic.gov.au

Tasmania www.fire.tas.gov.au

Australian Capital Territory www.esa.act.gov.au

Northern Territory www.pfes.nt.gov.au

Queensland www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au

South Australia www.cfs.org.au

Western Australia www.emergency.wa.gov.au

Australia-wide links

Bushfire alerts. Safety advice and alerts for travel to Australia.

Victorian links


Best events in regional Victoria to visit after the bushfires

If traveling to rural Victoria, this is the link you want to use to check fire warnings: http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/

Check up to date information here...

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio – tune into 891 AM

Bushfire Information Hotline – call 1300 362 361

Our Daytrip to regional Victoria

We covered over 600kms on our day trip! We drove out of Melbourne, straight up the Hume Hwy towards the border of Victoria and New South Wales (we didn't quite make it to the border!)

We stopped at 5 small towns as well as a local market. We filled our esky with delicious local produce, ate the best food and drank some amazing coffee.

We spoke to a few of the locals about their summer.

It was confirmed that summer had been very quiet. Business had been slow and they had seen a significant decrease in visitors since the bushfires began.

This is in towns that haven't had any bushfires themselves! These towns are welcoming visitors with open arms and need our support.

My Advice

If you're deciding on planning a trip I would recommend making a rough plan of what direction you want to go. Check warnings first. Stay overnight if you can, to support local hotels!

If you are doing a day trip only, make sure you know how far you can drive one way. Share the driving and stop off for lots of breaks.

Take an empty cooler/esky, fill it up and play sing-along road trip music!