Take a #RecoveryWeekend in NSW

NSW holidays help communities bound back after natural disaster

Domestic travel
The Koala Hopsital in Port Macquarie has been kept busy tending to injured koalas. Photo Destination NSW

The Koala Hopsital in Port Macquarie has been kept busy tending to injured koalas. Photo Destination NSW

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Recharge your batteries and support communities in regional NSW.

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Recharge your batteries and support communities affected by drought and bushfires by taking a #RecoveryWeekend in regional NSW.

Booking a getaway helps give back to the communities that need support the most. You need it and they need it too. It's a win-win.

Here are 15 great reasons to pack your bags and get going:

1 - The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail opens in early April, the first on public land following a disused rail corridor. The cycling and pedestrian trail will be 22km long and informative signage will be installed to tell stories about the region's history, environment and agriculture.

2 - Plan a fishing weekend with friends in the beautiful Riverina region. Start at Mamanga campground in Yanga National Park by the Murrumbidgee River and spend the day fishing, kayaking and swimming. Head into Murray Valley National Park and set up for a day of fishing near Edward River Bridge Picnic area, and enjoy a scenic walk and spectacular birdwatching. Stay the night at Benarca campground, which offers views of the Murray River and majestic river red gums from your tent.

3 - Snorkel with seals at stunning Montague Island off the coast of Narooma. The second largest island off NSW, it is a significant site for local Indigenous people and its lighthouse was built in the late 19th century. The island is home to seals, little penguins and sea birds. Montague Island Discovery Tours can take you to crystal clear shallow bays to swim among the playful fur seals.

Signs of life shoot at North Durras in the Shoalhaven region. Photo Andy Zakeli.

Signs of life shoot at North Durras in the Shoalhaven region. Photo Andy Zakeli.

4 - The South Coast food festival Eat Merimbula has expanded for 2020 and will be held from March 6-8. It will open with a degustation-style dinner featuring three of the region's best chefs on the pans. On Saturday, there's a long table lunch at Wheeler's Seafood Restaurant and you can sample local brews at the inaugural Craft Beer Festival. Sunday's main event is Fishpen - a bustling market with the best of the region's produce.

5 - The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie has been busy taking in injured koalas for rehabilitation, and distributing wildlife watering stations to drought- and fire-affected areas. Visit the cute creatures on the North Coast up close and support the organisation.

6 - Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours take place on the homelands of the Gumbaynggirr tribal nation, which is also known as the Coffs Coast. They are run by Aboriginal people with strong ties to the land. The stand-up paddle tours take place in culturally significant marine parks and are a fantastic way to explore the area.

7 - Learn about the incredible work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service at an interactive exhibition in Dubbo. Watch how doctors treat a patient in a cabin of an aeromedical aircraft via augmented reality, immerse yourself in live operations unfolding on giant control screens, and hear stories of real rescues from former patients.

8 - The Brewarrina fish traps are estimated to be more than 40,000 years old. It's an elaborate network of pools and weirs built along the banks of the Barwon River near Bourke in Outback NSW. Join a guided tour to hear a Dreamtime story told by Aboriginal elders and hear the history of the fish traps and the tribes that live on the river.

Dolphins surround kayakers at Jervis Bay. Photo: Ben Mack

Dolphins surround kayakers at Jervis Bay. Photo: Ben Mack

9 - Broken Hill was Australia's first nationally listed heritage city, and its status is celebrated at the Heritage Festival every April. This year's theme is Secrets and Scandals, and includes dinner in a laneway, an open-air cinema and a cemetery tour.

10 - If you're keen to explore the Blue Mountains but want to avoid the preparation involved in a hike, a tour by Freeland Hiking Co is ideal. The Blue Mountains Explorer tour includes transport to and from Sydney, a hike to the Leura Cascades, a ride on the world's steepest railway and a gourmet picnic lunch of fresh produce and artisan products.

11 - Earp Distillery opened in Newcastle in December, making gin, vodka and absinthe in beautiful reusable ceramic bottles. Visit the bar for an expertly made cocktail and tapas, or book a course at the Spirit School. It includes a tasting flight, distillery tour and a lesson in distilling so you can produce your very own bottle of gin.

12 - If you like to embark on a nature adventure with a glass of sparkling wine in hand, book the Canoes, Champagne & Canapes tour in the Southern Highlands. Run by WILDfest, you'll paddle through a sunken forest on a freshwater lake while sipping wine and eating delicious canapes. In April, WILDfest offers mushroom foraging workshops in Penrose State Forest, to teach you how to identify and pick pine and slippery jack mushrooms.

13 - The Shoalhaven region is known for excellent scuba diving and snorkelling, with clear water to see fish, weedy sea dragons, smooth black rays and giant cuttlefish. Dive Jervis Bay offers snorkelling and diving trips as well as diving courses. If you want to explore on your own, head to the beaches surrounding Currarong and Abrahams Bosom Reserve. Further south, Jones Bay near Mollymook is another excellent location and one of the only pebble beaches in the region.

14 - Sydney has a jam-packed calendar of events all year. Momo Fest happens in April for the first time. It's a celebration of the Nepalese/Tibetan dumplings in Wyatt Park, Lidcombe. There will also be live music, multicultural performances and workshops.

15 - With excellent views of Sydney Harbour at sunset and the animals heading to bed nearby, the Twilight at Taronga concert series runs until March 7. All proceeds contribute to the zoo's ongoing conservation work. See Pete Murray, Kasey Chambers or a comedy gala.

For travel inspiration and planning advice, explore VisitNSW.com.

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