Yes, we understand. Holidays have been cancelled. The Easter long weekend is looming and home-schooling is in. Social distancing is the new norm and Zoom is suddenly the most used app on your phone. Life has changed as we know it for a little while and some things are a bit harder to do from the comfort of your own living room.
We totally get that you were planning on visiting that forest cabin on your upcoming romantic mini-break, the beach shack up north for the annual family vacay or that Margs winery retreat with the girls.
You had your artists lined up to visit for Margaret River Open Studios. The truffle shaver at the ready for Truffle Kerfuffle. The jazz playlist set for Jazz By The Bay and your best appetite worked up for Taste Great Southern. Surfers are weeping at the passing of this year’s Surf Pro and book worms are reading away their woes since the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is now a whole year way.
However, now is the time to think beyond our own worries. While all non-essential intrastate travel is contained from today in WA, there are entire communities who rely on tourism and visitors to keep their businesses and towns going. They need your help NOW. If in a few months’ time you want to enjoy your favourite cellar door visit, have dinner at that cosy pub with awesome live music or a long lunch at a winery restaurant; you need to help these businesses while travel is a no-no. Yep, that’s right. No non-essential travel is allowed outside your regional boundary. Check out this link if you aren’t sure where you sit.
So, if you can’t travel, how on earth can you help? There are plenty of ways to ensure that your favourite spots stay alive while we hunker down through this corona hibernation.
Postpone DON’T Cancel
This is a straight forward one kids. If you can manage it, please don’t cancel. Don’t ask for that refund right now. It might be a few hundred bucks in the bank, but to some businesses it can be the difference between pushing through this difficult time and shutting doors forever. If you will be taking that trip once all this blows over (and it will do even faster if you do the right thing and stay at home), then just keep those funds with the business you have already booked with.
Buy A Voucher
Heck, buy a few. Not sure when you’ll travel or treat yourself? Not to worry. Almost all businesses have the option of a voucher to use at a later date. You can pretty much purchase your whole trip in advance via vouchers. Accommodation, lunches, wine packs, massages, tours, horse rides, art classes, surfing lessons…the sky is the limit. Well, actually you can even book a voucher for a helicopter ride or hot air balloon ride if you fancy pushing that limit. Check out these websites for some inspo:
- Australia’s South West
- Australia’s Golden Outback
- Australia’s Coral Coast
- Australia’s North West
- Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia
- Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association
It may seem tempting to book at the lowest rate on booking sites that scan the web for (what seems like) the lowest deal, but these sites take huge commissions from the businesses that you book with. Instead, book direct. You’ll be presently surprised at the outcome too. Normally hotels and the like bend over backwards to make up for a slightly higher cost with goodies like room upgrades, dinner vouchers, late check outs and free breakfasts. Plus, if things do turn pear-shaped and you absolutely must cancel, you have got a much better bet at getting your money back if it’s not locked in with an international booking company.
Even if you’ve got no holidays up your sleeve and or you are budgeting a bit more tightly, then this is the tip for you. Buy direct. Buy direct. Buy direct. Now is the time to enjoy a bargain from your favourite local suppliers. They are hurting with less foot traffic, and many having been forced to close doors entirely.
While this tip isn’t applicable to piping hot food if you are hundreds of kilometres away, this IS applicable to plenty of other goodies. Love wine? Hit up your favourite winery direct. Almost all wineries are offering incredible deals to encourage online orders and you’ll get your wine delivered straight to your door. From free delivery to rare discounts and special wine deals that are never normally on offer to the public.
Some of the current offers for Margaret River wineries can be found here via the Margaret River Wine association. If you really want to help, sign up for a wine club and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Beer lovers, gin lovers, chocoholics, gourmands… you’ll be sure to find something to suit. You can even contact farmers and producers direct, many are now doing Perth drop offs.
Don’t Stop Reading, Listening And Watching
Western Australia’s regional arts communities are a hub of creativity. Now is the time to keep listening to your favourite band or songstress online. Buy their album, support the crowdfunding of their next album or simply just follow them on socials and let them know you are there waiting to hear them again as soon as you can. Open Studios is the biggest event of its kind in Australia with over 110 artists in the South West pipped to take part in 2020. The event has been pushed back to Spring, but you can jump online and get in touch with the artists direct to purchase in the meantime. Pick up a book from a regional author. There are too many to list here, but call or email your local bookshop and you’ll be offered some old fashioned customer service. If you are missing out on the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, the Margaret River Bookshop is a fountain of knowledge on regional publications. Of course, the silver screen is not to be forgotten. Did you know Australia’s richest film prize is actually based in Busselton at CinefestOz film festival each August? Take the chance on the couch to savour some of regional WA’s best cinematic greats on the small screen.
Once you're done with that, here are a few awesome ways to support Perth right now.
Image credit: Louise Coghill