Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 14 years of leading travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.
Iconic Aussie Brands Great for Travel
If there has ever been a time to support the #BuyLocal, #GoLocal and #AustralianMade campaigns, it’s now!
When it comes to making some travel plans, travelling in our own backyard is a sure-fired way to support the Buy Local and Go Local campaigns; we’re supporting local business, and the entire travel and hospitality sector that’s in dire need of your dollar for recovery, post the COVID-19 travel bans. You can take it one step further – there’s some Aussie brands, also Australian made, that are perfect for travel packing plans for when you next hit the road.
First on my list; Akubra – it wins on so many fronts; Australian made, family owned, and ever-lasting since 1874. I love everything about Akubra. It has an amazing history that has stood the test of time; it’s weathered World Wars, The Depression, The Spanish Flu, and the demise of the hat wearing fashion that started around the 1940’s. It’s also part of our Australian military history and recognised across the world.
So, if you’re planning your next trip and shopping for some new travel clothes and gear (or for any reason); here’s some home-grown Australian brands to add to your Buy Local, Australian Made shopping list.
You may be surprised; it’s not just hats for country folk. There’s the Akubra Traveller, straw hats and more. You won’t be left short for choices, and we all need a hat on our travels, especially touring around all day, under the Australian sun.
Originating as a Hobart business, then moving to Sydney, it was later in the Akubra history in 1972 that the Akubra factory moved to Kempsey, on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, where to this day it provides many local jobs, and is and has always been truly Australian. For any history buffs, you can read about this superstar Aussie brand. Pick up a copy of their superbly created book Akubra Handcrafted History from their Akubra website. An amazing gift too with beautiful imagery and the incredible story of the makings and workings of Akubra.
Visit the Akubra Online Store
CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES: DRIZA-BONE
Driza-Bone – the famous oilskin coat. If you haven’t checked out their website, take a look. Famed for their Driza-Bone rainwear coat for Australian stockmen but these days it’s an entire range of clothing and accessories for farmers, adventurers and urban city folk. Whether heading to the country or doing some urban touring, it’s great gear, for men and women who love quality and looking good on their travels. Visit the Driza-bone Online Store
Photography: courtesy of Driza-Bone
FOOTWEAR & CLOTHING: RM WILLIAMS
Starting out, RM Williams was about selling saddles but now we know them for their boots, and they’ve used a production technique that’s remained the same all these years. Over the decades the company has expanded to be not just a footwear company but also manufacturing clothing.
A style that doesn’t date; there are all kinds of options for men and women including vests and jackets which are ideal for layering when you pack to travel. Visit the RM Williams Online Store.
SOCKS: HUMPHREY LAW
Socks galore, they only make socks! With over sixty years in the ‘sock game’, a family business with their socks wholly made in Australia, mostly from wool and cotton. And if gift giving to friends or family overseas you can pick up a pair of Kangaroo or Koala sock designs. They’re also the maker of the The Health Sock®, made without a tight elastic top which doesn’t restrict circulation yet does not slip down into the shoe. Visit the Humphrey Law Online Store.
WOMEN’S FASHION: CUE
A family owned, Australian made women’s fashion label icon. Cue’s clothes are predominantly made in Australia and is the largest manufacturer of fashion in Australia. Their first store opened in Sydney’s Strand Arcade in 1968. Cue’s a great label to find that one ‘nice outfit’ for casual-smart dining or outings when you travel. Of course, there’s the full range of fashion, tops, shirts, skirts, pants and dresses. Visit the Cue Online Store.
PACKS: SUMMIT GEAR
Starting as a retail store in 1981 and shortly after in 1983 buying their first industrial sewing machine, and the start of manufacturing outdoor equipment.
A gold star for this local Aussie travel gear brand. When much of our travel gear is imported Summit Gear has stayed true to their origins, still manufacturing their hiking and day packs in their factory in the Blue Mountains in Katoomba, New South Wales. Visit the Summit Gear Online Store.
BOOTS: REDBACK BOOTS
The 100% Australian Boot company, in addition to their extensive work boot range, they have a range of boots for the outdoor traveller. They are also family owned with their boot making tradition spanning five generations. Visit the RedBack Boots Online Store.
CLOTHING: MERINO COUNTRY
Not only Australian made but Australian grown too! A family business with a priority of supporting local jobs. They have an incredible range from thermal wear, active wear, clothes, footwear and accessories. Their lightweight merino wool garments are idea for packing, folded to take up only a small space in your suitcase. Visit the Merino Country Online Store.
WOMEN’S CLOTHING: THE ARK CLOTHING CO.
A Melbourne based manufacturer of 100% Australian made, Australian owned, and ethically accredited women’s fashion, The Ark is a stand out contributor to Australian fashion. Their stores are in Victoria, and also in Mosman, New South Wales and Hyde Park, South Australia. You can also find their label in 70 retail stores across Australia. Visit The Ark Online Store.
TRAVEL BAGS: CRUMPLER
Now known in many corners of the world, this Melbourne based manufacturer has become a fashion label in the world of bags. You can even get your bag customised with your initials. From humble beginnings they now boast 25 stores in Australia and four stores in Germany.
If you’re after more than just your average backpack for your travels, Crumpler have daypacks, carry-ons and more that are a match for any fashion conscious traveller. Visit the Crumpler Online Store.
WOMEN’S FASHION: SUSTAINABLE FASHION
A small family owned business Sustainable Fashion is Brisbane based, and their labels RANT and Bestowed are both Australian made in Brisbane. Their achievements are impressive, when up against the stiff competition of imported fashion. They are a proud supporter of their local community support and make significant donations to local charities.
Their range is extensive with lots of perfect travel outfits. Visit the Sustainable Fashion Online Store.
As the saying goes, ‘we’re all in this together’. Our dreams of travels to far away places across the globe may be quashed for now but with Australia’s coastline covering close to a vast 26,000 kilometres we’re not short of places to visit with all the land between our shores.
Statistics reveal over 6,000,000 million Australians (2018 data) take a trip outside Australia each year for holidays. Imagine the difference to everyday Australians in tourism, if we can flip spend to travel in Australia? Let’s fly Australian, use an Aussie travel agent, and book a tour with local Australian owned tour companies.
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Encounter Travel is 100% Australian Owned. Since 2006 creating small group tours for solo travellers.
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100% Australian; we 'get' the Australian travel style. And, better still, our arms are open to welcome our friends from other countries around the world, who'd like to travel with friendly Aussies.
We've already racked up 13 years of experience creating and delivering the best ever holidays for solo travellers. As a boutique tour operator, we delight in detail, delivering personal service and finding your next best memory.