The great Australian road trip will be the way we holiday in the coming months.

We’ll take to the open roads and give back to the regional areas which were first affected by drought and bushfires. And now the COVID crisis.

Famous Australian personalities, too, will be heading to these hard hit areas.

Celebrities like TV presenter Edwina Bartholomew, singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte, gardening guru Jamie Durie, celebrity  chef  Adam Liaw and their families are some of the first to take the #RoadTripPledge  – and encourage others to holiday in Australia this year.

New mum Edwina Bartholomew said it was “an unusual summer of highs and lows,” after she welcomed her first child.

“It was hard to watch it all happen at a distance. It was both a beautiful time in our lives and a sad time for Australia with bushfires then COVID-19,” said Ms Bartholomew.

“I have been lucky to visit so many beautiful parts of Australia through my work and now is the time to return to those places as a family. We took the pledge, knowing that in doing so, we are helping to get businesses get back off the ground and small towns humming again.”

The new initiative, which is in partnership with booking website, Stayz and Tourism Australia, has a special promotion where travellers can get a $100 VISA gift card, which can be used in the regional holiday destination they visit.

“We are extremely proud, even during hard global times, to launch the #RoadTripPledge this month in support of regional tourism and ensuring this is remembered across 2020,” says Simone Scoppa, Travel Expert for Stayz.

“We have seen since travel restrictions have eased in Australia, that the demand to stay in a holiday home has increased significantly, where people are wanting to stay in a spacious whole home with their family and friends but away from other people. Stayz has always been committed to driving tourism in regional Australia but this year more than ever it is so much more important.”

On the Stayz website, there is a dedicated section to the #RoadTripPledge that has suggested locations to visit, things to do in regions like the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains, as well as a travel checklist by child psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg.

He has created a seven-point checklist that lists out things to be mindful of, like be aware of the restrictions in place, be compassionate, and take a positive attitude towards the members of regional communities, as well as your family.

“While we must still be careful and diligent, we need to also remember that connecting, exploring and spending time together as a family unit is now more important than ever, and doing this locally by road a safe option,” he said.

“Travel will have a positive impact on our kids’ minds and education. Visiting regional towns presents the opportunity for children to learn about their history, indigenous culture, nature and wildlife, inspiring curiosity beyond what they may learn in the classroom.”

Here are where the Aussie celebs are taking their drive holidays:

Edwina Bartholomew

“We will be heading out to Orange in the Central West to visit friends and enjoy the fabulous food and wine. We also want to go down the South Coast where we went on our honeymoon and take Molly to all the places that hold such special memories for us.”

Road trip songs: “I’m going to be (500 miles), The Proclaimers, I’ve Been Everywhere, Geoff Mack/Johnny Cash.”

Natalie Bassingthwaighte

“It was an honour to take part in this wonderful campaign. With all that has played out over the last six months from fires to floods and then Covid, it is more important than ever to support all our fellow Australians and show we care.”

“As a family we always drove from Wollongong to Narooma. It was such precious time we shared as a family growing up and if I can share that we my kids and support the local communities even better.”

Cameron Daddo and Alison Brahe

“Watching Australia struggle with drought, fires and Covid 19, makes me realise how much as an Aussie I need to spend money at home. By taking a road trip not only am I seeing parts of my homeland I’d never visited before, I am also helping the small businesses, and local tourism, it’s a no brainer!”

“There are a few, Orange, Batemans Bay, Port Maquarie, Kangaroo Valley, just to name a few.”

Road trip songs: “Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons and Down in the Valley by Head and the Heart”

Jamie Durie

“It is important for all Australiana to contribute towards the internal growth of our economy.  It’s time for us to all fall in love with our own backyard again.  I’m sure we all have that special place somewhere in our dear land of Oz that we have never quite found the time to get to.  It’s never been a more important time than now to support our fellow Aussies post the fires, post Covid19 and into our economic reboot.”

“Take me to Exmouth WA, put me in a tent on the beach and give me a snorkel and a pair of fins so I can swim with one of those majestic creatures across the stunning waters of WA #whalsharks #can’twait #bucketlist”

Road trip songs: Anything Kyle Lionheart – loving his stuff right now”

Benji and Zoe Marshall

“We can’t forget what happened to our country 6 months ago. There are people still overcoming trauma, still many broken pieces to put back together. As soon as we are given clearance we need to support these communities.”

“Kangaroo island, north coast NSW – the list goes on…”

Road trip songs: “Benj and I are a sucker for old school RnB – we sing really loud together!”

Catriona Rowntree

‘Regardless of the fact our regional towns needed both our emotional and financial support right now, we hand down have the most awesome nation to holiday in. There’s no language barrier, the food is world class, the smiles are a mile wide, the accommodation is inspired, stories aplenty to share and the Bucket List is infinite. Let’s roll!”

“I’d love to take my children back to my Dads hometown of Quirindi, set amongst the heavenly Liverpool Plains. We’d swing by Tamworth for a bit of fun, then hopefully be in time for a rodeo or country show, check out the Rural Heritage Village and Railway Museum. Definitely shop at the General Store, eat the best steaks on the planet at Graze in Werris Creek and fingers crossed we could stay there too. If we have time, we may wander home via the Hunter Valley, or a few days spent on the north coast beaches like Terrigal or Avoca. If I can keep my children busy, they’re happy and I just love the locals here too.”

Road trip songs: “For this neck of the woods, we need some toe tapping crowd pleasers. Anything by Keith Urban, love that man, maybe the New McClymonts, Dixie Chicks, The Best of John Williamson goes down well, we just like to sing and not get a headache in the process.”

Tom Williams

“Bust open the front door, load up the wagons, its time ! We’ve all been good and Stayed At Home, so let’s celebrate and hit the highway to good times…”

Tom and the family are taking a trip with their good friends Blackwells and Fitzgeralds. They’re going down the South Coast for the first weekend of the school holidays.

Road trip songs: “I love LCD Soundsystem – Ally My Friends and Tame Impala – It Might Be Time”

Dr Katrina Brown

“This campaign is a beautiful reminder to travel locally and support towns and businesses to help them recover from an extremely difficult year. There has never been a better time to hit the road and explore regional Australia – our own backyard bursts with so much beauty and incredible places to discover.

“I love the NSW South Coast as there are many beautiful and accessible dog friendly beaches and accommodation that welcomes pets.”

Road trip songs: “I always love the Eagles Greatest Hits for a car sing-a-long”

For more information about how you can support regional Australia, click here.