BY Nina Greenhill

First of all, you can go literally anywhere. 

Don’t feel you’re limited to the 5 places I’m suggesting. ANYWHERE will be glad for your presence, patronage, and proper social distancing.

PLEASE social distance to ensure these places stay places we can all go and remain COVID Free. Follow the current advice of staying home if unwell and washing hands regularly. It’s not hard to stay 1.5 metres away from people, and it’s not hard to catch COVID by ignoring precautions.

On that cheery note, here are five places that aren’t home that you can go this winter, by car, train, or plane.

1.     South

The Southern Highlands.

Outside of the wonderful scenery, the vineyards, and the local crafts, there is a Southern Pielands trail you can participate in. What is better than a hot pie any day of the week? A good road trip where you can eat as many pies as possible.

Pies not your thing? Don’t worry. The Surveyor General Inn has a great selection of pub fare. It has the legitimate claim of being Australia’s oldest continually licensed Inn, so you can bet your buttons the food is fantastic.

Do me a favour and wave to the horsies and moo cows as you drive past the stunning rural landscape.

2.     South-er

South Coast

The Seacliff bridge is a scenic route to the South Coast of NSW. I hear there’s a place past Wollongong called Kiama which has a naturally occurring blowhole that will threaten to splash you with a wave. It doesn’t, but it gets really close to, and there’s nothing more thrilling than a near miss. Jervis Bay is the only part of the A.C.T which has the sea and you can remind yourself what a beach looks like. It’s also rumoured that it’s a place where you can watch whales. I don’t like watching for whales, but that doesn’t mean you don’t!

3.     South-est

Snowy Mountains

First of all, this is the one place in Australia with guaranteed SNOW. SNOW! Many Sydneysiders may not know what that is, but it’s the white stuff falling from the sky that is softer than hail and isn’t ash. It keeps your drinks cold and is fun to hurdle down on a thin plank of wood strapped to your feet.

While the day ticket prices for skiing are akin to highway robbery, there is still a tonne of stuff you can do in the Snowy Mountains area. You can visit the Yarrangobilly Caves, or the thermal pool. Both very nice places to go.

Lake Jindabyne has a really nice path around the lake that you can take a bike.

One of the things that the Snowies are well known for are the breweries and distillery. Jindabyne Brewing has top notch stein of amber gold. The Wild Brumby Distillery has HANDS DOWN the BEST SCHNAPPS in Australia. They also have a tasting plate that made me re-examine my no-pickles policy, a large feat to accomplish considering I hate pickles.

If ski crowds aren’t your thing, and that’s perfectly fine, there is Bega just down the road with the best cheese in the country and many more moo cows making milk.

What’s great about Jindabyne and the Snowys is the freezing temperatures, and that it’s a place where taking care of the national park is the most important part of being there.

Yes. That was a moment of genuine feeling. Please don’t destroy this place by littering, destroying the mountain pygmy possum and corroboree frog habitats and regeneration areas, or not social distancing. There are lots of short walks, and hikes. I hear that some people do these for fun? They willingly spend 8 hours walking for free and for their own health? Wear good boots and gloves. That’s my advice.

4.     West

Orange, Parkes, Dubbo

I am all too aware that people forget that there are places further west past the blue mountains. WELL THERE ARE!

Orange has a wonderful visitor’s centre with all too much information and an entire wall of things to do. There are farms where you can go pick your own fruit and there are a multitude of well-tended parks to stroll around in that don’t have the hustle and bustle of EVERY SINGLE BUS in existence within earshot.

Parkes has the satellite dish, THE DISH that featured in the movie ‘The Dish’. It’s a massive technological feat in Australia’s scientific history that sits in the middle of a sheep paddock. Its also the home of the annual Elvis festival, so even though you might not get a chance to see it in winter, there’s also something in summer to book months ahead for. (No seriously, you do have to book months ahead cause it’s a massive event where accommodation is booked very very far in advance.)

Dubbo has Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Open air and spacious wildlife reserve. Here’s your chance to see an animal that isn’t your friend’s pet. There’s also an awesome observatory which has the added benefit of being in a part of the country with the clearest skies possible. Take a moment to look up in Dubbo.

5.     North

I hear Queensland is opening? Apparently its warmer up there? I don’t know what else to tell you except Queenslanders can’t really drive so make sure you’re insured.

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