By Kasia Ozog
Published: Thursday, December 16, 2021
Updated: December 23, 2021 at 11:38 am
Hire a campervan, sleep under the stars, savour every flavour and immerse yourself in nature. Slow travel will change the way you holiday, forever.
The notion of travelling has long held the view of fitting in as much as possible in an often-short amount of time. Carefully planned itineraries that have you visiting a new country and travelling to a different city every few days, or sometimes, every day. Overnighters in a bus packed with tourists on the way to the next destination, all scurrying to the front of the photo line to get the coveted perfect snap.
It’s understandable, of course. The world is a spectacularly big place with so much to see and do that we’re often trying to fit in as much as possible in a short amount of time. But how much do you really get to appreciate jumping from place to place? By seeing so much, are you really seeing anything?
If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us over the past couple of years, it’s to appreciate the little things. Walks outside, drives to the beach, family get togethers, dinners by a campfire, or a night sleeping beneath the stars.
Slow travel is about savouring the journey, not just the destination. It’s about going with the flow, connecting with a place on a deeper level, and immersing yourself in your surrounds.
Slow travel doesn’t have a time limit either. You can slow travel for months or even just a few days. It’s simply about being present and embracing what your destination has to offer. Hire a campervan, set the GPS and then simply go with the flow. This is freedom, like you’ve never known it before.
Here, we’ve dug deep to find four experiences that allow us to embody the tortoise rather than the hare.
So, hop in your van and enjoy the slow travel experience.
1. Wellness Warrior
Shinrin-yoku experience, Walpole, WA
There’s nothing like a bit of self-care to really slow our busy minds and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Slow travel is one way to find a way to re-connect with ourselves, nature, and get grounded, before we return to reality. From yoga retreats to waking up with sunrise meditation sessions, there are plenty of options around Australia. Shinrin-yoku is Japanese for ‘forest bathing’ and a practice believed to have been developed in Japan in the 1980s. Now becoming a popular trend around the world, it encourages spending quality, slow-paced time in nature to increase mental wellness, boost immunity and reduce stress. The Shinrin-yoku experience in Walpole explores the Swarbick Art Loop trail featuring a 39m-long ‘Wilderness Wall of Perceptions’ and guides you on a trek to the Circular Pool for a nice dip. Stay at one of the several campsites in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park to ensure a comfy bed is always nearby for a restful night’s sleep.
2. Eco Tourism
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, Flinders Ranges, SA
Nothing says slow and conscious like days spent on a walking trail, and nights spent watching some of the most specular starry skies on the planet. Located about 600km from Adelaide, the Ecotourism accredited Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary offers an opportunity to dwindle days away birdwatching, lose yourself in an astronomy lesson, or lace up the hiking boots and explore the outback landscape. Why not take a self-drive tour to Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole, Bolla Bollana, Yudanamutana, Arkaroola Springs, Stubbs Waterhole, Barrarana Gorge, Mt. Jacobs Back Track and Station Back Track where you’ll also enjoy stunning scenery along the way. There are also several walking trails to enjoy ranging from one to seven hours’ long. When it’s time to rest, choose from powered and non-powered sites for camping and campervans.
3. Epicurean delights
Gourmet Deli Trail, Gippsland, VIC
Don’t just save food-induced afternoon naps for Christmas Day. Not rushing around on our holidays means we also have the luxury to return to our abode-on-wheels, unbutton our jeans, and watch the afternoon disappear from the comfort of our cosy beds. And that’s exactly what you’ll want to do after a 40km gourmet driving trail through the lush countryside, farm gates, vineyards, dairies and local producers of Victoria’s Gippsland. Take your time to journey through this remarkable region, and then end the trip with a feast of fresh, hand-picked produce and smallgoods, that will tantalise your taste buds and your heart.
4. Self-drive cabin stay
If campervans aren’t your thing, hire a car and embark on a self-drive journey that ends each day with a restful night in a quaint cabin. Tasmania is one of Australia’s premier road-trip destinations, that’ll allow you to journey at your leisure through mountainous landscapes, dramatic coastlines, and endless sweeping vistas. Journey from Hobart, Strahan, Cradle Mountain, Swansea and any other village that takes your fancy, where you can spend your days exploring the breathtaking wilderness and reconnecting with nature of the island state.