While bushfires are a regular occurrence in Australia, this fire season was particularly devastating. Our hearts go out to the families and communities who were impacted by the bushfires and our gratitude for the frontline services facing the fires head-on cannot be expressed deeply enough.

The travel industry is rallying around this beautiful and resilient country. Travel + Leisure just chose Australia as their Destination of the Year for 2020 and are standing by it more than ever after the bushfires, a strong show of support from the industry.

You may have questions about what this means for a planned or potential trip to Australia. Reach out to your travel consultant or keep reading for more information, and Esplanade will do its best to keep everyone up-to-date.

Which parts of Australia were affected?

It may be hard to believe based on the media coverage, but the vast majority of the country – 97% – was not impacted by the bushfires. Many regions in Australia, and most tourism businesses, remain unaffected by fires and continue to offer guests the incredible experiences that this country is known for. Popular tourism regions – Kangaroo Island, The Blue Mountains region west of Sydney, Sydney to Melbourne touring route – are all open and back to operating as usual. Where itineraries have been modified in the short term, the experiences haven’t been compromised.

This useful map, provided by Tourism Australia, shows that most areas are not impacted and thus safe for travel.

Please note that this map is current as of February 25th. Please click here to see an updated map.

All international airports are operating as normal.

What’s the latest update?

In the past 3 weeks, most of Australia’s east coast experienced substantial rainfall. In fact, the rains were so heavy that all bushfires in the region are now out.

After the fires in the Australian bush, there is astounding regeneration. With recent rains in many parts of the fire-affected areas, there are already reports of operators directly impacted by the fires returning to the land.

Are tourism entities (hotels, lodges, tours, transportation) still operating?

Yes! Tourism entities are by and large still operating and ready to make your trip to Australia a memorable one.

It is more important than ever to support Australian tourism providers, whether in unaffected regions or those that will recover from these bushfires in the months and years to come. The best way to support Australia, Australian communities, and the tourism sector is to keep visiting.

Do I need to change my itinerary?

Probably not – but best to check with your travel consultant and discuss options.

Should I postpone my trip?

While it is, of course, a completely personal decision whether to postpone your trip or not, the Esplanade Team would like to encourage you to still travel! Most likely, the places you are visiting are not impacted by the bushfires and you will still have an amazing vacation.

By continuing with your plans to travel to Australia in the face of the fires, your trip will have an added layer of importance. There will be many opportunities to connect with communities as regeneration spreads, and traveling to those regions, volunteering, taking part in conservation work, and even just talking to locals can all be part of an unforgettable journey.

Where can I find more information?

For current information on the bushfires at any time of day, go to Tourism Australia’s website.

How can I help?

One of the best ways to support Australia right now is to travel there! Tourism plays an important part in a nation’s recovery after a natural disaster.

Esplanade can assist with planning a specialized “Bushfire Recovery Wildlife Journey” during which you can assist with land rehabilitation activities to refuge bushfire-affected wildlife and critical remaining populations of native species. This trip allows travelers to enjoy Australia’s remarkable wildlife encounters, combined with conservation projects that are timed correctly to create meaningful impact on local ecosystems.

Of particular interest are the Koala Recovery Experience, where you will plant and nurture trees to provide homes for wild koalas, and the Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Experience, where you will work to restore the land and remove key threats on Kangaroo Island so that flora and fauna can regenerate. Both experiences are easily paired with other adventures around the country.

If you’d prefer to help from afar, consider the below organizations:

WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Australian Red Cross
New South Wales Rural Fire Service
Queensland Fire & Emergency
Wildlife Victoria

Now, more than ever, is the time to visit Australia and you will be welcomed with open arms.

Thank you to Tourism Australia, Australia Wildlife Journeys, and Exceptional Kangaroo Island for images.

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