Not all of Australia is burning. Victoria, a popular travel destination for North American travelers, is wide open, safe and continuing to welcome visitors. The bushfires affecting Victoria, Australia, are limited to two of the state’s twenty-one tourism regions, East Gippsland and High Country, both located more than 100 miles from Melbourne. While travelers are advised not to visit these areas until further notice, many key destinations are open and are, more than ever, in need the support of international visitors.
“While some parts of the state are experiencing challenging conditions, many regional destinations have not been impacted and are welcoming visitors. This includes Ballarat, The Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, the Grampians, Daylesford, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, the Murray region and West and South Gippsland, including Wilsons Promontory,” said Brendan McClements, Chief Executive Officer, Visit Victoria in a statement issued on January 8, 2020. “In the weeks and months to come, our priority will be to ensure communities, visitors and tourism operators who have been affected by the bushfires are supported, as well as continuing to support other regions which have not been impacted.”
Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne, remains open for business, welcoming visitors to experience its eclectic bars and restaurants, world class shopping and dynamic arts and culture scene ranging from the street art-filled laneways and renowned National Gallery of Victoria to a vibrant roster of live music performances. The city is home to the most music venues per capita in the world.
Many of Victoria’s other emblematic tourism hubs also remain unaffected and continue to offer visitors incredible tourism experiences. Victoria’s landscape features stunning coastal views and some of the world’s most scenic drives — the Great Ocean Road Touring Route. The route is home to surf capital Torquay, the iconic 12 Apostles, and historic fishing village Port Fairy, and some 200 cellar doors in Victoria’s world-class wine regions of Yarra Valley, and the Pinot Coast.
Travelers seeking to support the Australian bushfire recovery efforts have many avenues to get involved. Donations can be made to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal as well as the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund – organized by Zoos Victoria – to raise much-needed funds for emergency veterinary care and scientific intervention (such as exploring supplementary feeding for the animals who have survived, but whose habitats have been destroyed by the bushfires). One of the most powerful and unexpected ways to make a true impact, however, is to continue to visit.
For the most up-to-date bushfire information, travelers are encouraged to visit emergency.vic.gov.au/respond.