We have a big backyard to explore

Tamar Valley, Tasmania: The Apple Isle remains on Hannah's bucket list, and not just for its great wine regions. Photo: Tourism Australia.
Tamar Valley, Tasmania: The Apple Isle remains on Hannah's bucket list, and not just for its great wine regions. Photo: Tourism Australia.

How often have you thought about your own local area as a tourist destination?

If you havent, you should. Literally everywhere in the world is a desirable and interesting destination for someone, so enjoy the convenience of exploring your own backyard for short stays and take the time to learn more about the rest of our great country on longer breaks.

In terms of options, we are absolutely spoiled for choice says Hannah Sparks, local news reporter for the Yass Tribune.

Hannah grew up in the UK, came to Australia as a working tourist six years ago, got sponsored by an employer, and loved it so much she has stayed (but dont tell her mother thats the case).

While visiting other parts of the world Hannah also recalls other peoples very positive impressions of Australia.

Its spoken about in circles when travelling, Hannah revealed. I was travelling through South East Asia and came across a group where they had all recently left Australia [as working tourists] and everyone was raving about it.

Hannah had her own impression of Australia before arriving, based on the iconic structures weve built, the unique wildlife and landscape, the warm climate, and yes, even watching Neighbours as a child.

Her level of anticipation was high and it met all of those expectations.

In terms of what she enjoyed exploring, I would say both city and regional areas. Sydney has to be up there for the iconic buildings and the bridge.

Further north The Great Barrier Reef is an absolute must, especially while theres still colour in it, referring to the fragility of the coral.

On a drive exploring the east coast I loved all the sleepy coastal towns, also noting some of the local characters you can meet if you have the time to stay a while. The Blue Mountains of NSW, Phillip Island in Victoria, and several of our fantastic wine regions have also left her with lasting memories. You need to make the most of the wine experiences on your doorstep, Hannah urged, noting how great it is that you can enjoy great restaurants through those regions or just turn up to a cellar door for a tasting.

We also asked about her preferred method of travel to traverse the landscape and then explore it once there. Looking at my track record, driving and walking, also noting its quite fun because it allows you to detour if something catches your eye.

As such, one of her tips was always have some drinking water with you, and make sure you pay attention to where you can [next] get fuel.

She also likes self-guided journeys, but acknowledges that there are certain things you might want to do where a guide or experienced leader is essential, either for safety reasons or just to learn more about the location and its history.