Australia, unplugged

Increasing numbers of people are choosing to shut off electronic devices and get back to nature with a digital detox

Nawurlandja lookout, Nourlangie Rock | Image credit Tourism NT

Human connection is a central part of travelling - we want to show our friends the blissful brunch, the breathtaking views, (and how great we look when we’re oh-so-relaxed!) But the convenience of having the world at your fingertips means that smart phone addiction is mounting, causing negative effects on our minds and bodies. It’s not surprising the digital detox is emerging as a popular holiday scenario.

Tour companies and hotels are now creating options designed specifically to get back to nature, encouraging guests to leave their technology at the door (yes, really!) But if you are looking to do something a little less structured we’ve got some tips for a digital-free holiday.


Friends and family can worry if you suddenly go off the grid so make sure you give them prior warning about where you will be, and when they can expect to hear from you. If you are escaping from work clear out your inbox, set an out-of-office reply and let the boss and your colleagues know you will be unreachable.

Tell your hotel if you’re heading into the bush without a phone, so they know where you’re going and when you’ll be due to return.

Information desk at Bowali Visitor Centre, Jabiru

Ask at national park visitor centres for tips on staying safe when your digital-free.

Set your goals

There are no rules to a digital detox - some choose to forego all technology, leaving laptops, phones and tablets at home before heading out into the peace of the bush. The more hopelessly addicted may need to take smaller increments like avoiding work emails or only hopping on social media for an hour a day. And what about cameras? Some travellers won’t be able to let go of their SLR, but why not try seeing life in the moment instead of through the lens?

Stay busy

People tend to check social media as a cure for boredom or even just out of habit. As holidaying is about getting out of your comfort zone, focus on activities like hiking, kite-surfing, paddle-boarding, mountain-biking, or join a guided walk or cultural activity. You’ll pass hours without even thinking of checking Instagram!

Diving on Christmas Island | Image credit CITA and Justin Gilligan

Choose a location that fits

Somehow going to a big city doesn’t say digital detox. A destination with limited wifi will definitely help with your detox. Somewhere with wide open spaces, fresh air and dramatic landscapes is definitely a great place to start! Maybe Kakadu…?

Stay social

No-one’s suggesting a digital detox needs to be a lonely experience. Grab some mates, toss some swags in the car and get going.

A digital detox can still be social | Image credit Tourism NT

Tell us about your digital-free getaway. Did you love it or loathe it?