The amount of articles written about COVID-19 related issues are starting to get a bit tiresome and tedious, I know! It’s part of the new normal we are unfortunately having to get used to.
So what’s this article about you ask, why do you have to hear more about the doom and gloom of the coronavirus and its effects on our lives?
What if I was to say it’s not all doom and gloom, that life hasn’t ground to a halt, there is still so much to see and do, and getting out and about is still there for us to enjoy. How is that? Because we live in Regional Australia! More specifically the Holiday Coast… the 3rd most visited region in all of Australia!
We all know how tough they are having it in the cities - if they aren’t locked down already then they know they can be at any given moment, largely due to the sheer number of people and having an international airport with new arrivals still coming in daily.
One of the only negatives I can personally see out of what is currently happening in regional areas is the effect the pandemic is having on the Tourism Industry and small business in general.
The one thing I think everyone can agree on is that international and, to some degree, interstate travel is going to take a fair amount of time to come back to some kind of version of ‘normal’.
In some ways and for some operators, the travel restrictions in place have given regional areas a boost given that people simply can’t go anywhere else or are too scared to, worried that they may get stranded away from home with snap border closures or being present in a hotspot when COVID-19 strikes in an area.
The ’safe’ thing to do is to stay within your own region, something that for some people is what they do anyway, apart from the occasional holiday abroad or interstate.
Having been working in the regional tourism industry for 20+ years, one of my personal frustrations is hearing from locals comments such as “there’s nothing to do around here” or “I wish there was more to do around here” - I could go on!
For the past 14 years I’ve made it a personal mission of mine to challenge these perceptions and work on creating awareness locally of all there is to see and do in my region.
I do get it, in some way, why people are oblivious as to what tours and attractions are on their own doorstep. People are busy with work, school, family, kids, personal lives, sports and hobbies, they are living their lives and don’t think like a tourist unless they are actually on a holiday away from home. If they were to think like a tourist they would be amazed at what they would find!
My former adventure tourism business, in the hinterland of Port Macquarie, would spend an average of $20k+ per year on advertising/marketing, yet still years into our business operating we would get locals come and say things like “you should advertise locally, we’ve never heard of you” or “Why don’t you advertise?”. I always said in reply “when you decided to go horse riding did you find us easily?” The answer was always yes! Because when they think like a tourist they ‘look’ for things to do!
You probably get the idea by now that I am a passionate advocate for local tourism, especially the tours & attractions part of the industry.
I want to do what I can to create awareness of ALL there is to do in people’s own backyard, more than just the big obvious attractions. There are some many demographics and interests to cover. It takes a lot of things to do to keep everyone happy. So many people will be surprised when they look - they will find.
Now more than ever, with the added help of the NSW Discover vouchers, it’s time to think like a tourist at home. Get out and explore, experience and enjoy!
Dine & Discover Vouchers have been extended until 30th June 2022.
If you have already used them up, ask your friends if they have used theirs yet?
We know that most people have used their Dine vouchers but so many of the Discover vouchers are yet to be used by locals.
Here are some suggestions, for the Greater Port Macquarie region where you can use your Discover Vouchers. If you are reading this and you live elsewhere, think like a tourist at home, use up those vouchers, you will be helping a local business and having fun at the same time!
We are lucky to be living in Regional Australia, we can still get out and about so get out and have fun!
Where to go in Greater Port Macquarie?
1. Port Macquarie Driving Range & Mini Golf
Port Macquarie Driving Range & Mini Golf offers fun for the whole family. It's a great place to refine your golf skills or just have lots of fun. Our 18 hole Mini Golf Course is set in beautiful natural acreage with its local wildlife. We also have Target Golf where you could win cash or prizes! For the more serious golfer there is our Driving Range, Pitching Area and Putting Green as well as a Golf Shop and PGA accredited golf instructors.
Hydro Golf and Putt-Putt
Hydro Golf and Putt-Putt is open 7 days a week. It is the perfect activity for all ages, being an all weather activity which is suitable for players of all abilities and experience.
Hydro Golf has a beautiful water setting, with a variety of floating targets providing an opportunity to win various prizes including a chance to win CASH and prizes on our JACKPOT target!
Now it’s time to strutt strutt and play a game of Putt Putt! Get the family and friends together for a fun filled game on our 27 hole mini golf course.
Bago Vineyards & Maze
Discover Bago. A family farm that brings people together, inspires adventure and celebrates local wine & produce. Open 9am till 5pm, 7 Days a week (with last maze entry at 4pm). No bookings required for groups of 10 or less.
For group enquiries call 65857099 or visit www.bago.com.au
Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries
Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries, located just ten minutes north of Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast of NSW, has state of the art computerised technology controlling two acres of greenhouses and produces high quality hydroponically grown tomatoes and strawberries. Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries pride themselves on being an environmentally friendly farm.
"You can come out here and not only see how the strawberries and tomatoes are being grown, but then you can go off and pick your own strawberries," Richard Sarks said. There are large, juicy, fruity, easy-to-find and easy-to-pick strawberries ready for your bucket. The great news is that entry is FREE and you pay for only what you pick.
Step back in time with a visit to Timbertown. Wauchope, where you can ride the steam train on a trip out through the forest and return, experience the carriage ride around the village, observe the timber craftsmen at work and smell the coals of the blacksmith.
To view their daily program please see the website.
At the multiple award-winning Billabong Zoo, you can get up-close and personal with Australian and exotic animals. You can pat, stroke, feed, hold, hear and see over 80 species of mammals, reptiles and birds. They care for over 200 animals in this friendly 10 acre Koala and Wildlife Park.
With a love of exploring new areas and sharing them, Indulgence tours provide by a family oriented Private Tour service. Based in Port Macquarie and travelling in late model vehicles for your safety and comfort, they offer day and multi day tours across the region.
Indulge in your dream getaway, experience the luxury of your very own Private Tour.
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