While I love travelling overseas, Tourism Australia’s recent campaign for locals to Holiday Here This Year has really resonated with me.
Okay, so I might have a New Zealand trip coming up, but that was booked last year, before our country’s tourism economy dipped significantly, largely due to the bushfire crisis.
Other than New Zealand, my husband and I won’t be going overseas, and have instead planned a few smaller trips in our minds, maybe to Queensland or northern New South Wales. We love the East Coast, so later in the year it might be a nice place to go (we’re thinking Byron Bay or the Sunshine Coast).
A weekend getaway
Last weekend, we took a trip to Phillip Island, Victoria. It’s a beautiful place, with so many drawcards, including the pristine beaches (Smiths Beach, YCW, Forrest Caves to name a few), a newly renovated Winery, which we were told was recently bought by 3 young couples who (obviously) know the market really well, food and wine galore (Isola Di Capri, Cape Kitchen, Rusty Water Brewery are some examples) and a laid back feeling of being with nature. It’s a quiet place with clean air and plenty native Australian gum trees, visible from most aspects.
For locals, it is worth spending at least a few days. For overseas visitors, I would recommend spending at least a week. The town of Cowes is right on the coast and is a beautiful spot to grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine, while looking out to sea. Go for a stroll to the end of the pier with a gelato in hand and watch the local kids jump into the water, or look out across the stretch of blue-green ocean to the mainland.
It’s only an hour and a half or so drive from Melbourne, or there are buses you can jump on to get there. I encourage locals to take their dog, who is bound to a have a wonderful time splashing in the waves and running along the beach during doggy friendly beach hours in the summer. During the winter months when only the seasoned wet suit clad surfers tackle the rough waves, dogs are allowed on the beach at any time in most places.
Choosing somewhere to stay
I would even recommend staying outside of Cowes, for that real beachside experience. If serenity is what you are after, I would suggest checking the Moto GP calendar, as the side of the island where the track is can get very noisy on race days, but in my opinion is the best side to stay. There are so many houses for rent, many at affordable prices. It’s a great place for a group of friends wanting to have a good time, or a family looking for an escape from city life.
For locals, it’s a small slice of paradise that isn’t too far away, and for overseas visitors, the relaxed vibe definitely make it worth the visit. I should also mention the penguin parade, the chocolate factory, the go karts and the amusement park if you’re looking for more reasons to go. When planning your holiday research which side of the island will suit your needs best, and how far away you want to be from the main town, and you’ll be set.
Please leave a comment if you have anything else to add, I would love to hear from you!