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Edition 266 – Going Local

My wife and I recently took a nine day trip to Port Stephens, three hours north of Sydney. It’s an old family holiday stomping ground from the days when our sons were youngsters and Trish’s Mum, Peggy, would join us for a week by the beach. We made the decision to venture back to somewhere we’d not spent a lot of time at since 2007 as a combined result of:

  1. Not wanting to spend hours travelling to our holiday destination; and,
  2. Not wanting to risk a holiday interstate where a state border closure would scuttle our plans.

From our time away, here’s what I observed:

  1. There’s a lot of Four Wheel Drives, Caravans and Motorhomes on the road right now. I don’t see that abating, even when the vaccines return us to some degree of normality.
  2. The quality of food and wine regionally is as good, if not better, than in our major cities.
  3. There’s a wonderous simplicity about strolling barefoot, across a beach, that makes you value time and those you’re with.
  4. Most businesses under invest significantly in the cleanliness of their bathrooms. If your loos are lousy, I’m not that keen on your food!
  5. I was stunned at the number of children not wearing hats during a week of hot and sunny weather. It’s like the sun safe marketing message has missed a generation – their parents.
  6. Ordering via QR code attached to a token on a table at a high class establishment is no substitute for service. Your order is delivered to you no better than fast food drive through.
  7. Everyone is on top of the COVID check-in – from businesses to patrons. It’s become an accepted part of life.
  8. An app on your phone that identifies where your car is parked and is pre-loaded with your credit card details and car registration is infinitely more efficient that a pocket full of coins or credit card reader that isn’t working.
  9. Going the extra mile will always win plaudits. The captain of our dolphin cruise went above and beyond to identify a pod of dolphins that had proven elusive for almost the full 90 minutes of our cruise. Everyone was talking about it as we disembarked a bit later than scheduled.
  10. There are businesses missing out on opportunities simply as a result of the fact that they can’t find staff. One location apologised for not opening up their small bar for that reason only. I wonder if the wind back of Job Keeper and the Job Seeker Supplement will correct that?
  11. Anywhere within 3 hours of the major cities is suffering as a result of the loss of international tourism on, mostly, organised day trips. This is where we, as locals, can step in and support these gems which, ironically, are often patronised more strongly by overseas tourists than by those of us for whom it’s on our doorstep.

Sometimes, we know the best places to go – it’s just that we’ve not thought of them in a while.