Hit The Road: Here Are The Best Post-Lockdown Destinations In NSW

Having suffered through the Black Summer bushfires – a season that usually generates a third of annual income for NSW tourist hotspots – small towns were barely piecing themselves back together before COVID-19 hit.

Travel bans and social distancing restrictions forced the travel industry into more months of impacted business but as of June 1, people are free to travel around NSW.

Venues such as restaurants, pubs and cafes will be allowed to host 50 people which means bigger venues like wineries and surf clubs may reopen in time for the June long weekend.

Shoalhaven boasts beautiful seaside rock pools.

Deputy premier John Barilaro said June is a time to help NSW’s travel industry “fill their registers.”

“We’ve opened up the regions and now it’s our happy hour, time to wine and dine,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“We want to see people visiting the regions visiting hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes.”

With the official word from authorities, it’s finally time to pack the car up, download the best podcasts and explore our own backyard again.

Whether it’s mapping a pie trail in the Southern Highlands, exploring antique shops for that one-in-a-million find on the South Coast or hitting the best surf beaches at Port Macquarie – here’s your guide to rediscovering NSW gems after two months in quarantine:

Lighthouse beach seen from the lighthouse in Port Macquarie in the summer

Lighthouse beach seen from the lighthouse in Port Macquarie in the summer

Port Macquarie

NSW’s Mid North Coast bore much of the brunt of the extensive and unprecedented nature of the 2019 bushfire season. According to Royal Fire Service statistics, the Lindfield Park fire in Port Macquarie burned for 210 days, more than 420,000 hectares of bushland was lost, one person was killed and local wildlife suffered greatly.

Liesa Davies, Group Manager Economic and Cultural Development at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council told HuffPost: “The Port Macquarie region is excited to start welcoming visitors back soon, and we’re certainly in a great place to do so.

“As one of the first areas to be affected by bushfires, our land and businesses were badly affected however the recovery we’ve seen here is tremendous – Port Macquarie Koala Hospital releasing 26 koalas into the wild earlier than expected due to recovered habitat is a testament to that.”

And you can actually visit the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and see the great work director Sue Ashton and her team have done since going viral last year.

Port Macquarie is known for its 17 beaches but it’s not just surfing and water sports but lush hinterland, wineries, the Billabong Zoo, river cruises and great camping that’s on offer to visitors.

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