How the pandemic has brought back the great Aussie road trip

Posted by: Lydia on 3/06/2021

Category: General



The outbreak of Covid-19 changed life as we know in a huge and rapid way. Seemingly overnight a massive shift to work-from-home operations, social distancing regulations, and other changes made work, study, and play very different. But it’s not just the day to day experience that’s been altered - travel today looks very different for Aussies than it did just a short while ago.


For Australians who adore catching a plane to a destination abroad, the mass closure of borders has certainly been frustrating. But due to this, interest in trips across the Great Southern Land has soared. Aussies are now exploring opportunities for getaways domestically in a big way with the Great Australian Road Trip making a huge comeback. Not only has this redefined how Australians travel, but it’s also become a fascinating trend that’s really worth unpacking bit by bit. 

Home Sweet Home 

Aussies are known the world over to be keen fans of international travel. In 2019-2020, 57% of the Australian population had a passport (compared to just 37% of Americans). But it’s only been in recent decades that the capacity to travel has come so easily to Aussies. The plummeting cost of airline tickets has made the option of travelling abroad more affordable, though the long journey from Australia to international destinations still looms. 


The challenge of distance proves to be a domestic issue for Aussies as well. Although Australia’s large size has meant the capacity to do a road trip and criss-cross dozens of states like Americans, or dozens of countries like Europeans, wasn’t possible, this same distance has also helped drive the creation of many unique and outstanding Aussie tourism attractions. Although there’s no doubt Covid-19 grounding international flights has been a downer, it’s also given Australians a chance to rediscover their own backyard. Many locals are finally getting to visit bucket list destinations that foreign tourists love, that many Aussies haven’t gotten around to visiting. 

Attractions on the Agenda

For anyone looking for inspiration - or perhaps just a few new destinations to add to the bucket list - there’s a whole ton on offer across Australia that can form part of a fantastic road trip. There’s also the potential to combine a drive with time in the sea and sand. For example, a drive along The Great Ocean Road can get you to the world famous Bells Beach. In turn, while you won’t be spinning the wheels in the water, a drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation will take you along the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. From there, it’s easy to hop a boat in the vicinity for a trip out to snorkel or dive.

The Cost of Doing Business in the Covid Era

As a result of the pandemic, Aussies have had a unique incentive to rediscover travel in their own backyard. Given how challenging the pandemic has been in so many ways, it’s good a silver lining can be found in it when it comes to travel. Given the closure of borders has been in place for over a year - and there’s the expectation normal international flights from Australia won’t resume until at least late 2022 - many Australians who’ve acquired a new love of local places will want to revisit them in future. This will mean a new special connection between Aussies and our country.


At the same time, it’s also necessary to recognise that the impact of the pandemic will be visible for many, many years to come. This will be especially the case when it comes to tourism businesses. For those able to successfully navigate the pandemic and come out intact, they may be doing so with considerable debts. So for anyone who is planning a trip in the years ahead, consider supporting some local operations. It’s good to keep in mind that countless businesses across the nation will certainly be appreciative of your support in the years ahead as they seek to get their books back in the black.

On the Road Again

There’s the expectation that international borders will eventually open again, and more or less operate as they did pre-pandemic in terms of travel. Given the lengthy history Australians have of hopping ships and planes to travel the globe, we can presume travellers from Down Under will be found all over! As a result of this, there’s understandably the recognition that many who are right now itching to get overseas will contribute to a surge in international travel once borders open. This, in turn, will likely result in a dip in domestic tourism in comparison to where it is now.


But just the same, there’s no doubt the experience Australians have been offered over the past year is a very special one. 


Not only have locals travelled their own country, but many tourism campaigns and businesses have had a ‘rethink’ about their tourism offerings. They’ve looked to retain the drawcards that have (and will again) entice international visitors, while also tweaking attractions so Aussies can find a new excitement and interest in local destinations. So while the years ahead will surely see Australians do as they’ve always done in pursuing trips to overseas destinations, we can also anticipate domestic tourism’s current renaissance will have a long-lasting impact. This means just as many Aussies will look forward to heading out on a California road trip or drive along Italy’s Amalfi Coast as will want to take a trip along the Central Coast Highway and the Great Ocean Road. That’s great news for gearheads and businesses alike keen on seeing the Great Aussie Road Trip here to stay in future.


What Aussie road trip would you like to take soon? Let us know in the comments below.


Image: Pixabay