(Last Updated On: December 31, 2020)

With 2020 being a disaster year for travel, I have to admit I’m apprehensive about making any concrete 2021 travel plans. However unpredictable the year ahead may be, I’m still pencilling in a few places that I’d like to see in the year ahead – but I’m also keeping things realistic. In fact, my 2021 mantra is “be flexible” because who knows what the months ahead may hold.

I’m lucky enough to be in Australia which has been fortunate to fare relatively well in the 2020 pandemic. For the most part, domestic travel is open (with the exception of state borders currently being closed to New South Wales due to a cluster of COVID-19 cases) which means that 2021 is likely to be the year of exploring close to home.

Our international borders are closed, and it is next to impossible to leave Australia – you have to get permission from the government to leave and then pay for mandatory hotel quarantine on returning. Add to this the fact that international arrivals into Australia are capped and actually getting back into the country is a challenge in itself, overseas travel seems off the cards for the next year.

With that said, Australia is a huge country with so many diverse places to explore and I’m feeling excited to uncover them. So, whilst these 2021 travel plans may be very fluid, here’s a few places that I’ve got on my list to explore in the year to come.

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January

Sydney

With COVID cases breaking out again in late December 2020, Sydney looks like it will be isolated for a little while before borders open up again. This means that my 2021 travel plans will probably have me exploring a little closer to home this month, including adding a few more ultimate Sydney walks to my bucket list.

A few that I’ve been meaning to try include the Kamay Botany Bay National Park walks and a few more in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Ocean caves

February

Melbourne

With any luck, state borders will be open again and I’ll be able to make the journey southbound to visit family and friends in Melbourne, Victoria. Having had to miss Christmas due to a COVID outbreak in Sydney, I’m hoping to be able to celebrate my birthday in Melbourne and get to see everyone I missed seeing in December. Fingers crossed.

Melbourne City Skyline on a sunny day

March

Canberra

I’ve said this for the past few years, but it is getting ridiculous now that I am still yet to visit the Australian capital city, Canberra. By all accounts, this city is gaining a reputation for a growing arts culture, good restaurants and a stunning War Memorial. Enough is enough – I must go for a visit, especially since it is only a mere two and a half hours drive from Sydney.

A white building reflected in a pool at sunset

April

Blue Mountains

I love visiting the Blue Mountains in Autumn. The air is starting to get crisp and cool and the leaves start turning all shades of red, brown and gold. There are so many great places to visit in the region such as Wentworth Falls, Blackheath and Leura. I’m also massively craving an authentic Napoli style pizza made by Chef Marco at the Alexandra Hotel in Leura.

May

Uluru

Another staple on the Australian tourism circuit and another icon I am yet to experience, this year may well be the year to visit the enigmatic Uluru. Located in Australia’s red centre, this enormous rock formation is sacred to Australia’s first nations people and is said to be an absolute wonder to behold.

June

Royal National Park

It’s getting to that time of the year when humpback whales start to migrate along the NSW coastline and there’s few better places to watch them frolic off the coast than in the Royal National Park. I love walking along the cliffs near Wattamolla Lagoon and trying to spot the spouts of foam in the distance which is the sign that whales are nearby. I might even join an official tour this year to learn more about the park.

A lagoon running into the sea with people swimming

July

Snowy Mountains

I used to absolutely love snowboarding and it has been a very long time since I’ve felt the joy of sliding down a white powdery mountain, all rugged up against the cold. The Snowy Mountains are home to two major ski resorts – Perisher and Thredbo – and I intend to try them both this year!

August

Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley is the perfect place for a winter getaway with cosy, fireside accommodations and a quaint town centre that just embraces rustic hygge. Close to nature and all the unique Australian wildlife that comes with it, this is one of my favourite parts of the world.

September

Byron Bay

Byron Bay has definitely exploded with influencers and intra state tourists this year when state borders closed. Famous for its hippie-chic cafes, gorgeous beaches and the Hemsworths, Byron is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time but have never quite found the time to make the six-hour drive north of Sydney.

A lighthouse on the ocean at sunset

October

Southern Highlands

An early October trip to the Southern Highlands is always a good idea, where the vibrant tulips of Bowral’s Corbett Gardens are on full display. The Southern Highland’s pie trail is also calling me, where you can essentially drive through the countryside stopping to sample a meat pie from selected stores along the way.

November

Mudgee

Mudgee has grown a reputation for food and wine and sounds like the perfect long weekend stay outside of Sydney. This year, I’m planning on visiting this amazing sounding town as well as exploring the nearby Wollemi National Park which has a glow worm tunnel, I can just hear calling out for me to explore. I’m also very keen to take on a hot air balloon ride whilst I’m there.

A hayfield with black cows

December

Melbourne

December 2021 is hopefully the month of the year I can make it back to Melbourne for an extended stay – particularly given the disappointment of not being able to make it to our family Christmas celebrations this year. Fingers crossed by then this crazy pandemic is under control and things are looking bright for the future of travel.

Street Art in a laneway

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2021 Travel Plans - Emma Jane Explores
2021 Travel Plans - Emma Jane Explores

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