In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, travel into and within the South West is currently restricted. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support our local tourism businesses right from the comfort of your living room! Here are some ways you can spread the love to your favourite tour operators, accommodation providers, wineries, restaurants, local creatives and more during isolation.
1. Postpone, don't cancel your trip.
It’s sad that we can’t take our holidays for when we had planned them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t go once this is all over. If you are in a position to do so, think about postponing your trip instead of cancelling it. That way, you’ll help support small local tourism businesses during these tough times, PLUS give yourself something to look forward to for when the time is right to travel again. It’s a win, win!
2. Stock up on hand sanitiser (and gin while you're at it!)
Many of the wineries, distilleries and other businesses throughout the South West have pivoted their operations and started making hand sanitisers which can be ordered online and delivered to your door (depending on where you live).
Local Collie winery Harris River Estate has made a hand sanitiser in their distillery and partnered with other local businesses – so when you buy a 330ml or 600ml bottle you’ll get a discount at Harris River Estate, TraaVerse (SUP & kayak hire), ReDefine Skin Clinic, Black Diamond Lodge accommodation and Toscas Boutique – redeemable only once travel reopens again.
Some other businesses producing hand sanitiser are Great Southern Distilling Co. and Vasse Virgin with their Lemon Myrtle hand sanitiser.
3. Dive under the sea with these virtual tours.
Social distancing regulations mean we can’t take actual tours, so why not take a virtual one? Some of our favourite tourist attractions are now offering virtual tours so you can go on a trip and get some escapism from your own home.
Take the Busselton Jetty, for example, which have created plenty of incredible virtual tours now on offer, such as walking, running, cycling or dancing on the jetty, personal training with weights on the jetty, yoga on the jetty, a virtual train ride, 360 degree tours of the underwater marine life, and marine education workshops! There are also LIVE virtual tours of the underwater observatory running every day at 2pm WA time for just $11. Click here to start exploring.
Fancy a bit more wildlife spotting? Our friends at Whale Watch Western Australia have announced the release of Whale Watch TV™, a Virtual Tours Series that brings you the Whales of WA, wherever you are in the world. Click here to join The Pod™ on board and experience the first virtual tour in the series – a Blue Whale Tour near Perth.
For art lovers, Margaret River Gallery now has a virtual gallery with an outstanding array of artists - exploring
our current society, its people, their place and desires. Click here to take a tour. Word on the street is that the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery will bring online services soon, and some of the other galleries in the region may also be developing virtual tours so stay tuned for your next art adventure!
4. Buy some delicious local wine.
Wine-lovers will know that the South West produces some excellent drops. Just because you’re unable to travel right now, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sensational wines that our local wineries have created. Many of the wineries in the region have started online stores or are offering some great deals on their existing stores.
Local Margaret River winery Bettenays in partnership with Margaret River Nougat are offering an at home wine and nougat tasting experience! Just pick a date, book and pay, and a tasting pack will be delivered to your door ready for your virtual guided tasting. Delish!
Margaret River wineries have crafted something special for you to enjoy with world-class wine to discover online and exclusive offers from Margaret River's finest wineries – click here to start shopping. Great Southern wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries have also got some delicious concoctions ready for home delivery for you! Click here to start perusing. Need a good movie to watch on Netflix while you sip? Great Southern Wine has you covered - click here to get inspired.
You can also find an updated list of all the South West wineries selling wine direct here.
So what are you waiting for? Order that wine to enjoy on your video-call catch ups, while watching your favourite movie, or with a delicious home-cooked meal.
5. Learn how to sip & swirl wine like a pro with this podcast series.
Wishing you were in the Margaret River Region? Experience some armchair travelling from home by listening to Margaret River’s 'Wine Unearthed' podcast series! Available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, the series explores the people, the extraordinary natural environment and the wineries of Margaret River. Get beneath the region’s skin and understand why Lonely Planet named this special part of Western Australia as its favourite place in the Asia Pacific for 2019.
Click here to listen now, or download from Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
6. Treat yourself with these natural beauties.
Isolation can be tough, and we all need to put aside some time for ourselves. So why not buy some fantastic South West products to treat yourself with?
Local Margaret River gem Vasse Virgin have a full online store, so you can treat yourself to beautifully made local liquid soaps, hand soaps, or body scrubs and other extra virgin olive oil based skin care that can be delivered to your door. Our friends at The Lake House Denmark also have an online store brimming with your favourite Lake House wines, delicious Vinofood specialty foods and Winespa natural skincare! Why not indulge in some self-care during isolation with these fantastic South West products?
For the creative types, while the 2020 Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival and Margaret River Region Open Studios events were unfortunately cancelled, you can still support your local creatives from the region by following them on social media, buying their books or artwork and telling your friends about them.
7. If you're residing in the region, order takeaway from a local store. #TakeawayforWA
Many restaurants, wineries and cafés are now offering takeaway and delivery options so you can still enjoy your favourite eats from home. Just make sure you use the hashtag #TakeawayforWA when you share a photo of a takeaway meal on your social media channels and tag the restaurant it was ordered from/available at – and tell your friends to do the same!
Visit the Gourmet Escape website to find a list of Western Australian restaurants, cafés and wineries offering takeaway and delivery options.
8. Follow your favourite businesses on social media.
It may seem like an obvious one, but by following your favourite businesses on social media, you can stay up to date with their operations during the crisis and be the first to know when things are back to normal again. You can also help support them further by remembering to engage with their posts, share them to your own followers, tell your friends about them and tag them in relevant posts.
Many of our operators are also posting great behind-the-scenes content at the moment to help give us all a bit of hope and inspiration during these tough times.
And as always, make sure you are following Australia’s South West on Instagram and Facebook, as we will continue to share the beautiful locations and experiences that can be had in the South West. We'll tell you stories, celebrate the memories and hopefully help get us through these unprecedented times.
9. Plan your trip for when the time is right.
Many of us now have some extra time on our hands now that self-isolation is a thing. So why not use some of that time to plan the trips you’ll take when you get the chance?
From the sweeping Stirling Ranges, epic coastlines and the ancient history of the Great Southern, to the towering old-growth forests and charming country drives of the Southern Forests and Valleys, to the pristine beaches and wonderous wildlife of the Margaret River Region and Bunbury Geographe, there’s plenty in the South West to put on your must-see travel list. Our tips? Download our Holiday Planner and create a Pinterest board so that you’re ready to get on the road as soon as we are able.
Click here for the latest coronavirus updates, advice and safety tips.