Bouncing back from the Black Summer

4th February 2021 | Eativity editors

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency and Tourism Australia have launched a special “Open for Business” video series – a 15-part series that illustrates the recovery of communities impacted by the 2019/20 summer bushfires, shining a spotlight on everyday Australians as they rebuild their lives, 12 months on from the Black Summer.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan says that driving tourism to bushfire-affected regions will help to support local jobs and economies.

“Our message to Australians is to visit these incredible regions, stay for a few days, eat and shop local,” he says. “Many of the small businesses impacted by the bushfires are back open for business and they need our support to help their long-term recovery.”

A new episode will be released each Monday. In each video, viewers will see unique stories from communities across NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

The first video in the series features Cobargo in NSW. The historic village of Cobargo, on the Sapphire Coast, lost several shops in the summer bushfire of 2019, but there are plenty of businesses that were not damaged, and the locals are welcoming visitors back to this bustling village once again. To help this town get back on its feet, visitors can spend big when exploring the regions many cafes, galleries and boutiques.

Places to eat and drink in Cobargo

Cobargo has a bunch of cool little eateries such as the Working Dog Bakery (known for great pies) and Kitchenboys, who serve up delicious dishes made from local produce.

Get your caffeine fix at Valiant Coffee before a day of shopping, eating and sightseeing.

Via Luna Tiny Cookery is where the locals recommend picking up a sweet treat and getting coffee. In the courtyard of Via Luna Tiny Cookery you’ll find Valiant Coffee – a cute vintage coffee van serving up its own blend of freshly roasted coffee with freshly made creamy Jersey milk from the Tilba region. The hot chocolate and chai lattes here are a must, with spices and cocoa supplied by Grounded Pleasures in Ballart, Victoria.

Cobargo General Store owners Jane and Alfred Solti have plenty of fresh local produce in stock.

For those looking to fill up their esky, the Cobargo General Store sources fruit and vegetables from local market gardens, and stocks locally-made cheeses, salami, honey, jams, pickles, chutneys and olive oil. Pro tip: the home-made ice cream here is a must!

You can’t leave until you’ve tried the homemade ice cream from the Cobargo General Store.

Cobargo Hotel is a classic Aussie pub and a local institution. Here you can find a great beer garden and regular live music, and it’s always chockfull of locals – so it’s the perfect place to head to if you want an insider’s guide to the town.

Meet the friendly locals at the Cobargo Hotel.

The streets of Cobargo are also full of surprising places to shop, with vintage stores, art galleries, a pottery studio and heritage buildings that house workshops and craftspeople who sell a range of unique goods. There are also plenty of other places to explore. You can head to the Visitor Centre to get information on a great town walk, on which you can learn more about the history and heritage of Cobargo.

From Sydney, the drive to Cobargo takes about five-and-a-half hours, while the drive from Canberra is three hours. There are also a number of delightful places to stay in the surrounding Sapphire Coast region – known as the jewel of NSW’s South Coast.

You can view all the Open for Business videos as they’re released here.