MORE CHOOSE BACK­YARD BREAKS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRENDING DOMESTIC TRAVEL - LISA MAYOH

Aussies are re­dis­cov­er­ing their own back yards, tak­ing an ex­tra two mil­lion do­mes­tic hol­i­days last year, ac­cord­ing to re­search.

The NSW north coast, stretch­ing from New­cas­tle to By­ron Bay, had the most vis­ited des­ti­na­tions last year, when 2.6 mil­lion peo­ple played tourist in their own coun­try, show the fig­ures from finder.com.au

Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia’s Na­tional Vis­i­tor Sur­vey showed a 6 per cent in­crease in do­mes­tic overnight hol­i­days – the ACT and Vic­to­ria en­joyed the great­est growth in do­mes­tic hol­i­day vis­i­tors, with overnight trips climb­ing by 13.5 per cent and 10 per cent re­spec­tively.

Hel­loworld Travel Pak­en­ham direc­tor Ari­anna Al­ber­tazzi told

Es­cape book­ings for do­mes­tic travel had in­creased in the past 12 months. “We ac­tu­ally ask clients why they are trav­el­ling do­mes­tic and we get all sorts of an­swers – some pre­fer to ex­plore Aus­tralia and the beau­ti­ful places that it has to of­fer, while oth­ers have a fear of fly­ing so they drive, or take a bus or train in­stead,” she said. “Some peo­ple feel they are too old to fly long dis­tances, or may have a back in­jury and can’t cope with long flights. Oth­ers can’t af­ford to get pass­ports, or find over­seas travel too daunt­ing.”

Bessie Has­san from finder.com.au said hol­i­day­ing at home was al­ways a good op­tion for bud­get-con­scious trav­ellers. “Avoid­ing ex­pen­sive long­haul flights is one way to get more bang for your buck on your yearly get­away,” Bessie said. “The real win­ner is the Aus­tralian econ­omy thanks to the ex­tra tourism dol­lars.”

Licia Curro, 36, from Mudgee in NSW, said she loved to take her fam­ily of three young boys on lo­cal road trips, ex­plor­ing Aus­tralia’s stun­ning coun­try­side. “We love trips to the Dubbo Zoo, or go­ing down to the South Coast to Huskisson – we’ve even got­ten in the car and driven to Surfer’s Par­adise,” Licia said.

“There’s some­thing very spe­cial about trav­el­ling around Aus­tralia. I want my boys to see how lucky we are, to have all of this beauty to ex­plore, right on our doorstep.”

NSW Min­is­ter for Tourism Adam Mar­shall said the North Coast was the state’s top re­gion for vis­i­tors and ex­pen­di­ture, for good rea­son.

“In the year ended March 2018, the North Coast wel­comed 5.3 mil­lion do­mes­tic overnight vis­i­tors who spent an incredible $3.3 bil­lion in the re­gion, an in­crease of al­most 15 per cent com­pared to last year,” he said.

“With its stun­ning beaches, fresh lo­cal pro­duce, na­tional parks and water­front ac­com­mo­da­tion, it’s lit­tle won­der the North Coast con­tin­ues to at­tract trav­ellers from across Aus­tralia and the globe.”

Tourism Aus­tralia man­ag­ing direc­tor John O’Sul­li­van said he’d en­joyed some won­der­ful hol­i­days in re­cent years, in­clud­ing McMasters Beach on the NSW Cen­tral Coast, North Strad­broke Is­land in Queens­land, Tas­ma­nia’s Barn­bougle Dunes, North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s Uluru, Vic­to­ria’s Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, and Mar­garet River in Western Aus­tralia.

“Each trip has re­minded me just what an amaz­ing place Aus­tralia’s back yard is to hol­i­day in,” he said. “We re­ally do have it all.”

PIC­TURE: DAL­LAS KILPONEN/DESTI­NA­TION NSW

Dig­gers Beach at Coffs Har­bour, NSW. The state’s North Coast had the most vis­ited des­ti­na­tions last year.

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