Local Lockdown Blues Cures
The border closures brought by COVID-19 have created a sense of restlessness and itchy feet. No longer able to travel interstate or internationally, Australians have begun to look within their own states for places to visit.
There’s no better time to explore locally, and with a 4WD and a rooftop tent or a camper trailer in tow, there’s no need to wait. Escape the COVID blues within state border restrictions by checking out these great locations near some of our capital cities.
If you’re keen to give the 4WD a spin and take in some breathtaking landscapes, the Victorian High Country is the ideal location. The Mt Buller region has 4WD tracks of varying intensity, as well as walking, bike and horse trails. A popular sight in the region is Craigs Hut, a replica of the hut used in The Man From Snowy River, and is reached by a 4WD track that begins near the summit of Mt Buller, only about 2.5 hours from Melbourne. Various other tracks are available on the mountain, each leading to lookout points, summits or historic huts.
There are numerous camping areas on the mountain, including Carters Mill Camping Area, Craigs Hut Camping Area and the Howqua Gap Hut Camping Area. Pack your winter woollies because it can get cold in the High Country, particularly at night.
Pack your things Sydneysiders, we’re headed to the Watagans. Only a short drive from Sydney, the Watagan Mountains offer a 4WD bonanza. With water crossings and views of the eastern coastline, this location is sure to help chase away the COVID-19 blues. Given its location, the Watagans can make a great day trip, but to get the most out of your visit, it’s advisable to set up camp in one of the many camping grounds in the region. Cessnock and Gosford are the closest towns, but camping is available in the area itself. Bangalow Road Camping Area, The Basin Camping Area and Casuarina Camping Area are just three of the many camping spots on offer.
The Watagan Mountains encompass both state and national parks, so there is a lot to see and do.
Border closures are no big deal to Brisbanites, who have the Conondale National Park on their doorstep. Conondale is just over two hours away from Brisbane, so a weekend trip is more than manageable. Featuring camping grounds, mountain bike tracks and challenging bush walks, Conondale National Park offers some excellent four-wheel driving opportunities.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there is a Conondale Range Great Walk Track. The track will take four days (56km) to complete and there are camping grounds along the way to rest and refuel. Booloumba Creek camping areas one and three do not allow campers or caravans, so if you’re towing a rig, you should stick to Booloumba Creek camping area four, which requires a 4WD. Please note that rubbish bins are not provided at the Conondale National Park, so visitors must take their own rubbish home.
Adeladians seeking a weekend or mid-week escape should consider Goolwa Beach. Only one and a half hours out of Adelaide, this location is close enough to be convenient and far enough away to provide that holiday vibe. Free camping (for self-sufficient campers) is available at the Murray River mouth, but for those seeking a little more luxury, there are numerous caravan parks nearby, including Discovery Park, Goolwa.
The beach itself allows 4WDing in parts, and has tracks ranging from low to medium difficulty. Goolwa is a unique and beautiful location, described by South Australian Tourism as ‘a historic river port where the Murray mouth and Southern Ocean meet’. Located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, there is loads to see and do, including pleasure cruises, distilleries and art galleries.
There’s a lot we can see and do in our own backyards. So, break out your campers, tents and 4WDs, head off into the sunset and support the local communities who have been doing it tough during the COVID lockdowns. Happy travels!