Even with the recent rains, outback Australia is still in drought and regional towns have taken a huge hit, economically and socially. There are still towns that are running out of water. But what can the majority of Australians, live on the coast, do to lend a helping hand? Turns out there are many ways of helping outback residents. Here are several ways of helping rural drought-affected areas from a distance.
The easiest way to help through distance is simply by buying Australian-made products. This directly supports the Australian producers, but if you want to do more, here are other suggestions.
The Buy a Bale program assists rural communities that have not only suffered from natural disasters but also communities that need help to exist. Our rural communities are disappearing and need our help. Some things that you can purchase to donate for farmers are hay, hampers, water, diesel to carry hay and more. Also, through this program, you can volunteer to help a farm or run a fundraiser. There are so many options for helping the farmers. The program has given 160,000 hay bales across four states since September 2013.
The Aussie Helpers charity supports farmers by ensuring their well-being. You can help through this charity by donating, fundraising or general support. You could organise a fundraiser in your local area collecting non-perishable foods from schools, workplaces, churches and community centres. You could get your work company to donate farm equipment and tools to farms, or donate new computers to families suffering poverty so that their children keep up with their education. Through this charity, you could also volunteer your time in assisting farming families in the outback.
Visit your local Farmers Market. At these events, you have the exclusive opportunity to interact directly with the local farmers and producers. Why not buy straight from the source? You can even ask the farmers questions about where the produce is grown and how to best keep and use it.
If you would like a more hands-on experience, volunteering programs are perfect for providing direct support to outback communities and residents.
If you have a trade skill, are traveling around Australia, or retired and just want to help, all you need to bring your own accommodation. Bring your caravan, motorhome, tent or swag, and Farm Community Rescue will feed you. This is a rural aid trip where you can connect with rural communities and make a difference in people’s lives who are struggling through the drought.
Everyone loves travelling, and tourism is a big help to rural communities, especially in drought-affected towns. You support the local community every time you purchase food at a cafe, refuel, stay the night or visit a local supermarket. These things are not just good for business but also good for the morale of the community. If you’re on the road, don’t just pass by these towns. Slow down and relax, grab a bite to eat, spend the night and explore the region.
• Northern Territory The time to visit Uluru is between May and September when the temperatures range between 20oC and 30oC. During August and September is a beautiful time to see the park’s wildflowers in bloom. There are many accommodation options, but the main one that you could stay at is Ayers Rock Resort, which is about a 10-minute drive from the park. This resort has restaurants, a hairdresser, a day spa, a supermarket and anything else you need to make your stay comfortable. Be sure to catch the sunrise at Uluru - it will be worth it!
Uluru’s neighbour, The Olga’s (Kata Tjuta), is a natural wonder made up of 36 domed red rocks. It is an astounding sight in Australia’s Red Centre. Take a guided nature walk around The Olgas and be amazed by the tinted tones of sunset surrounding the red rocks.
Rather than staying at a hotel, why not stay on a farm? Airbnb and Stayz have many beautiful farm locations where you could spend the night. These stays help the farmers directly, and you may even learn some interesting history from the farmers themselves. Some guesthouses are hand-built using local materials, and many places are pet-friendly if you are travelling with your fur babies.
• Northern Territory The Field of Lights attraction is a solar light artwork. Bruce Munro created an installation of 50,000 solar lights at the Ayers Rock Resort. This blanket of colours embraces the surroundings of Uluru with walks that you can take or enjoy the sea of lights from the hilltop. This installation finishes on the 31st of December 2020.
• Alice Springs, Northern Territory See the astonishing red outback from a hot air balloon in Alice Springs. With low cancellation rates due to the predictable desert weather, Outback Ballooning is usually operational every day, depending on the weather.
• Far North, South Australia Add the largest Salt Lake in Australia, Lake Eyre to your outback travel bucket list! It’s a jaw-dropping 144km long and 77km wide and a truly spectacular sight. Most of the time this lake is dry, but you will marvel at the vast white salt that looks just like a snowfield!
• Alice Springs, Northern Territory The Kangaroo Sanctuary is a 188-acre wildlife sanctuary for rescued orphaned baby and adult kangaroos. They offer sunset guided tours, and you can meet the kangaroo family and hold a baby roo!
• Petermann, Northern Territory Why not experience the Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park and George Gill Range from above with a breath-taking, scenic helicopter flight?
With so many things to see and do in the outback, your visit will mean a lot to rural communities. Whether it’s staying on a farm, volunteering or donating food hampers and money, the outback will appreciate it. They need all the help they can get. Please consider spending some time to help them.
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