Towns and regions impacted by the summer bushfires have plenty to entice families, writes ANGELA SAURINE
Each summer, Aussie families flock to the coast – and increasingly the mountains – to bask in the sunshine and spend quality time together as they enjoy a vast range of leisure activities during their annual break. But this year was different, with many trips interrupted and plans thwarted by unprecedented bushfires that ravaged some of our favourite holiday playgrounds. A few months on, these destinations are continuing to recover, with bushland regenerating and wildlife returning.
Bathurst Region, NSW
Although the Bathurst Region was not directly affected by the summer bushfire crisis, tourism was hit hard as a result of several combining factors. Bells Line of Road, a major route to the region from Sydney, was closed for 12 days in December 2019. The main route, The Great Western Highway, also closed twice over the same period.
The Jenolan Caves
The Jenolan Caves was closed throughout January 2020, as it was under threat from the Green Wattle Creek bushfire. Several outbuildings were lost, and firefighters worked tirelessly to protect the heritage-listed Caves House, which reopened at the end of the month. But a week later, heavy rainfall and flash flooding caused landslides, blocking the only remaining open road into Jenolan Caves, forcing the closure of the popular tourist destination again. It reopened in late February, with a limited timetable, but surrounding bushwalks and some cave tours remain closed due to bushfire and flood damage.