No doubt you are all aware of the ongoing bushfires across Australia.
It is heartening to receive support from many past clients and we thank you.
Whilst in no way trivialising the extent of the devastation perhaps some perspective is needed.
- Australia is a vast island country and only marginally smaller than the United States.
- 17% of Australia is bushland covering 134 million hectares. Of this, an estimated 11 million hectares have been burnt. This is a little larger in area than the state of Indiana – refer to above image.
- Only 2 areas often visited by international visitors have been affected – Kangaroo Island and Blue Mountains (west of Sydney.)
- Sydney, Melbourne and other major cities, Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Great Ocean Road, Winelands, Uluru, the Kimberley and more are unaffected.
More information and updates are available from Tourism Australia. Some of my own comments are found in the recent Conde Nast Traveler article ‘What you can do to help during the Australian bushfires’ (published 7 January 2020)
Of course, the real impact of these devastating fires is to our unique wildlife and native habitats. It will take months and years to realise, recovery even longer. As Epic travellers, the best way to support Australia is to continue with any travel plans you have in place. If necessary re-schedule not cancel your arrangements – and still come to experience our beautiful country.
Yes, the devastation to local regional communities across Australia – on the landscape, homes, livelihoods and wildlife – is horrendous and unprecedented. But as a country we need the far reaching benefits of tourism and conservation to recover and rebuild.
Kangaroo Island Bushfires
Our heartfelt sympathy go to the people of beautiful Kangaroo Island for the loss of life, wildlife and a third of their precious bushland. Many of you will also have experienced the spectacular Southern Ocean Lodge which was sadly lost to fires on 3 January 2020. The owners have committed to rebuild this iconic luxury lodge and we look forward to supporting them.
Festive season in Australia
Epic had several families in country throughout the festive summer period – and worst of the bushfire season. Without exception they all said it was the ‘trip of a lifetime’.
Of course, Epic will never compromise on the safety or quality of our client’s travel experience and, as necessary will make adjustments to itineraries to ensure this.
How you can help Epic Australia:
If you are keen to help with fire-affected wildlife rescue and recovery efforts, below are some suggested local ‘grassroots’ organisations and initiatives to support:
- WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services) is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation. WIRES has been rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and WIRES mission is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same.
- World Wildlife Fund Australia Help save wildlife, and when the fires have cleared, restore Australia’s lost forests.
- RSPCA Australia How to help animals during bushfire crisis or donate
- Many small wildlife sanctuaries (too many to list!) in fire-affected areas across Australia need funds to continue their valuable work. Donations already received by the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital (November images of ‘Lewis the koala’ being rescued) are now being shared with other wildlife organizations.
At a local level there are many stories of bravery and compassion as everyday people help and support one another. And do what they can to get through.
Here are some wonderful initiatives on how to ‘travel to change the world and help regional communities from afar’
I welcome the opportunity to answer any specific questions you may have on the current Australian bushfire situation for the benefit of fact-based decision making around travel to Australia.
And we hope for rain in the places that need it most.
Director, Epic Australia Inbound
Awarded Conde Nast Traveler 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 Australian Top Travel Specialist