Australia is one of few countries that has kept its international borders closed, bar exemptions, since its first COVID-19 case. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the country closing its doors, how have residents filled the void of international travel?

The international venturing spirit is particularly strong in Australia. Even before lockdown, we already felt socially distanced from the world, sloshing around in ginormous, land-sparse Oceania, where it takes at least half a day to get anywhere requiring a passport.

It’s also fair to say that a good chunk of Australia’s population have ties to family in other countries. In remote ‘down under’, travel to other lands isn’t just a work break or jaunty escape—it’s often considered a rite of passage.

In pre-pandemic 2019, a record 11.3 million Australians went in search of overseas experiences, according to The Australian Bureau of Statistics. But the spread of COVID-19 put far-off destination dreams and heritage hankerings firmly in a holding pattern.

So what have Australians been doing instead?