Droughts have some very well-publicised adverse effects on the Australians who live in the country towns that dot our currently parched landscape. Graziers struggle to feed their cattle and farming families struggle to cope with the lack of water. But less well-known is the range of indirect impacts that hit every part of the community.
When the large farms and stations in drought-affected areas are struggling with a lack of rain and a lack of income, the wide network of businesses in that area also struggle. That can range from the local pub and lodging houses that would normally benefit from the money spent by temporary workers and landowners looking to enjoy themselves, right through to the hairdressers and mechanics in local towns.
A Tangible Way to Help
All Australians have recently shown the spirit that makes this country great, with initiatives like “Parma for a Farmer”, “Buy a Bale”, and temporary drought assistance levies on milk as well as state and Federal Government initiatives announced in recent months. It was exciting to read this month about the 4200 bales of hay that were delivered to a grateful community in Charleville (Maree, good pic at https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/5756618/helping-hand-rolls-into-charleville/)
But for many of us, we want to be able to contribute something a little more direct. And there is nothing better for these communities than for others to actually visit and experience the hospitality and unique culture of the bush first-hand.
The simple act of driving through and spending some time in a town has spillover effects that most of us don’t think about. But driving into a town, refuelling the car, buying lunch at the pub, restocking the groceries from the local supermarket, and buying a coffee from the café all contribute to the local economy and jobs. Many country towns have invested in improving the tourist experience in recent years as well, making it a great time to visit.
So what are some of the main reasons to visit country and rural Australia?
Reasons to Go
Of course, everyone loves an excuse to actually pack the car or caravan up and go for a drive. Here are some of our favourites:
- Touring trails – “Long Paddocks” are the colloquial term for the hundreds of kilometre-long stock routes that criss-cross rural Australia. Some of these trails now run alongside modern highways and roads, and take in country communities that are full of character.
- Race days – country towns love a race day, and these events are annual highlights of the social calendar for locals and visitors alike. The Birdsville Races have gained national interest in recent years, but events as far and wide as Barcaldine, Cessnock and Goulburn in late November, and in Roma, Wagga Wagga and Grafton early in the new year are all dates to mark on the calendar as great times to visit.
- Farmstays – in decades gone by, country families would welcome extended family from the city during holiday times to help out on the farm. This tradition has grown less common over time, so farmstays are a great way for kids and adults to reconnect with the land and lend a hand to those who work it day in, day out.
- Rodeos, horse mastery events and festivals – whether it’s music, a rodeo, a campdrafting exhibition or a mixture of all three, local councils are trying hard to give visitors a reason to come to their country towns. Searching online for these events is a great way to find events that you can make a weekend of visiting and enjoying.
Do you have any specific rodeos or events that you recommend our readers to visit? Let us know!