Great Ocean Road suffers major tourism hit due to COVID-19

Empty roads of the Great Ocean Road captured from Teddys Lookout in Lorne.

The winding roads are left quiet. Towns are vacant. Shops are closed. Landmarks are empty. The famous 243km road with spectacular views of the Southern Ocean falls silent as Matt Jones locks up his vans, uncertain of how long until he will be able to return to the road.  

He greets me with an unnatural smile, one that showed politeness rather than happiness. Replying “I’m good thanks” when I asked how he was as though he was reading from an English textbook, but his tired, dark eyes told me otherwise. He looked stressed. Worried even. Like any business owner who has no idea what the future of their business will entail. It’s been six months now since Matt Jones was forced to shut down his business due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. He owns a company that operates private customised tours and experiences of the Great Ocean Road and surrounding regions in Victoria and South Australia. As restrictions are beginning to ease for regional Victorians, local hospitality businesses are able to open back up, but Jones’ business is still left in the unknown, with the majority of its tour guests being international and predominantly interstate guests. Similar many other small business owners in Victoria, Jones is holding onto a glimmer of hope that one day soon this pandemic will be over, and his business will be operating as normal. 

Looking back on how it unfolded, Jones is shocked by how quickly COVID-19 affected his business. 

“We went from a summer where we were booked out every day with all our vans on the road to virtually nothing overnight. Back in March, I thought this lockdown would only be going for a month or so. It’s now September and there are still no answers on when our businesses will be able to operate again. No one expected it to go for this long. I definitely didn’t.” 

“It’s strange seeing what was once a busy road has now become so quiet with no tourists. I still go down towards Lorne to surf, and the iconic landmark Great Ocean Road sign has no one taking photos in front of it. It’s the first time I’ve seen it empty like that in my lifetime.” 

When I look at him sympathetically, he changes his sadness and expresses that the locals have formed an incredible bond during the restrictions. 

“It has been great to see the strong local community support for existing tourism and hospitality businesses that are still open. The camaraderie has been incredible with everyone looking out for each other.” 

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic destinations and is known as one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world. With incredible views of the pristine beaches as it hugs the scenic coastline and cliffs, it’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in Victoria. With over 2.8 million tourists visiting the Great Ocean Road between July 2018 and June 2019, the number of tourists has dramatically decreased due to travel bans and restrictions. Many of these small towns rely on tourists for their main source of revenue with things like accommodation, hospitality, tours and equipment hire. There are many tourist-attracting events on the Great Ocean Road that are uncertain whether or not they will be able to go ahead yet. Lorne is one of the popular Schoolies destinations in late November, along with the Pier to Pub swim that occurs each year in January. The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race is also a large tourist attraction that happens in January and is also assessing plans to see if it will go ahead. After major world surf event, The Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro was cancelled in April, it saw a huge revenue loss as the event which attracts thousands of tourists each year and creates more than $2 Million into the local economy annually. 

Meg Law, creative director of Chatterbox Marketing explains that tourism on the Great Ocean Road in 2020 has taken a huge hit in COVID-19 and it will be at least 12 to 18 months before we see the Great Ocean Road operating again. 

“Depending on the duration of the crisis, the potential aftermath of this devastation could result in anywhere between a 60-80% decline in the international tourism economy in 2020/21. To support the tourism sector, we will need to shift our focus and develop some serious recovery measures and fast, before the industry simply cannot get back on its feet. These include considerations on lifting travel restrictions, restoring traveller confidence and rethinking the tourism sector for the future.”

Regular holidaymaker on the Great Ocean Road, Ella Toone reminisces on her weekends in Lorne as she pulls out photos of her surfing. She moans as she shows me a photo of her surfing. “Wow, I was actually getting so good. Now I probably won’t even be able to stand up.” She jokes but with a slightly disappointed tone in her voice. Her face says it all. She misses it. She looks at the photos with a small smile and her eyes light up. You can tell it’s her happy place. She pulls out another photo of her and her friends at the beach in Lorne. “I mostly miss my friends. I haven’t seen these girls since March, it’s so hard to believe it’s now September and there is still no information of when we will be able to start travelling down the coast again. I’m totally over these stage four restrictions in Melbourne. Everyone is. There is only so much longer we can all do it for before we go insane.” 

Globally the iconic destination has taken a big hit. The reputation of Melbourne and Victoria has been damaged and are being targeted as ‘areas to avoid’ for overseas travellers. This alone will take a significant amount of marketing to repair the stigma and aftermath effects of the damage already done. 

Jones, like many other business owners, are praying that restrictions will begin to ease up in time for the peak season between November and April. 

“The most challenging thing is the uncertainty of when we’ll be able to recommence tours and the planning for this. Seeing our tours stop virtually overnight was difficult to see after putting in so much hard work to establish brand awareness and generate regular tours. However, we have used this period to put our energy into developing some exciting new experiences and refreshing existing experiences and General business development. We’re hopeful that the travel restrictions for Victoria will be over before our peak season.”

As the roadmap for restrictions to ease is slowly being released, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for these small businesses on the Great Ocean Road. The focus on domestic tourism products will be paramount to getting business back up and running. Victorians should be paying attention to where they source their products from and try buying locally. By booking a tour or purchasing a gift voucher to give to friends or family for birthdays, anniversaries or even Christmas which is just around the corner will be more important than ever to keep these small tourism attractions and products afloat. 

Despite her frustrations of not being able to visit her favourite holiday destination, Ella Toone is optimistic that she will be able to return in the near future. “These tough restrictions for Melbourne can’t last forever.” She reminds herself, presenting her with something to look forward to. “I will never take travelling down the coast for granted now, I’m beyond excited to get back to Lorne. It’s where I’m most happy.” The way her face lights up when she talks about it, you know she is telling the truth.  

Meg Law is hopeful that Victorians will be able to help boost the tourism economy as soon as restrictions begin to ease. “Victorians can help small businesses get back up on their feet by travelling regionally and intrastate and supporting tourism as much as possible. While the Victorian borders are closed now is the time to hit the road and explore your own State. Forget about doing the ever-popular ‘Lap of Oz’ or international travel for a while and focus on local road-trips and staying at the quality regional accommodation providers dotted throughout Victoria”. Law is encouraging businesses to adapt their business strategies, as marketing on a shoestring will be more important than ever with businesses relying on social media. “Essentially we are moving into the age of adaptivity. As the world tries to anchor itself amidst the COVID-19 crisis and the new reality of an impending economic downturn, tourism destination, attractions and providers will need to apply a new perspective on marketing, destination development and community engagement.”

In the face of these uncertain times, Jones still has hope that he will be able to dust off his vans and remove the cobwebs to do what he loves, showcasing his favourite winding road. It will be a slow but gradual return for his business until interstate and international visitors are able to return. But, like he says, “Afterall, seeing the Great Ocean Road or Twelve apostles online in a virtual setting is one thing but travelling there in person will always win tenfold.”

Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence

This video discusses how artificial intelligence is used in our everyday lives, and how technology is constantly advancing, and we are soon to have a future filled with AI. Through researching and creating my video, I discovered that I already was using artificial intelligence more than I thought I was. I didn’t realise how common it is used in my everyday life, through using my car, uber, google maps, spotify, and google searches.

The message I wanted to convey to the audience is that artificial intelligence already exists, and whilst it may seem like it’s a large and technical term, we all know what it is because we use it daily. The main idea I chose to explore was how we are currently using artificial intelligence in our everyday lives, and how it is advancing In the future for travel and weather.

Throughout the creation of my video I made sure I planned ahead of time, considering it was going to be a long 6 – 8 minute video. I researched and read scholarly sources surrounding the topic to make sure I knew what I was going to be talking about. I tried to engage a lot more with my audience by using a lot of face-to-face talking to the camera as well as the audio narration compared to my previous videos which contained less time on the camera and more audio narration. I feel a lot more comfortable filming myself, so it was less time consuming to film.

Editing is not my strong point, so I ensured that I watched lots of YouTube videos to help me learn new and advanced tools on iMovie, to create a better video, and more advance edits. I used fade in and fade outs to create a smooth transition between music and narration and had to edit my music volume so that my audience wouldn’t have to adjust the sound themselves throughout the video.  I tried to be as engaging as possible, using different tones in my voice, and using hypothetical questions to make the audience think and stay engaged. I added in a “like and subscribe” overlay over a video, which I never knew how to do before, and it seems really affective at the end and stands out.

I also ensured I used the rule of thirds to position my face slightly to the left of the camera with my eyes on the top line. This helped make sure I wasn’t too close or far away from the camera, and that my audience had a clear shot of me.

The music I used was  Visions By Lakey Inspired (CC BY – SA 3.0). I chose to use this music as it was slightly upbeat without being over the top and it’s a nice transition to mask the silence between clips.

I tried to film as much content as I could to make it easier for myself, however as I was away on holidays throughout the time of the assignment, I wasn’t able to get as much footage as I had of liked. I sourced a range of royalty free videos to use that were the most appropriate and fitted the topic.

I learnt a lot through creating this video. Firstly, being time management. I was away for 2 weeks in Port Douglas on a family holiday, and time slipped away from me to complete the assignment. Next time I won’t underestimate the amount of work that needs to go into a big video like this and start planning it sooner. Secondly, as I wasn’t in my own home filming, I had to make use of the materials around me trying to get the camera, so it was light on my face, but without background noise. As my family were home, and the pool was directly outside, it was hard to film without kids screaming and people talking. I overcame this issue by filming one afternoon when everyone was out of the house, so I could not get distracted or interrupted.

Overall, I am extremely proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone throughout this unit. I have noticed myself becoming more confident on camera every time, and my editing skills have improved immensely. I look forward to continuing using the knowledge I have gained to create videos in the future and continue learning new things!

Mollie Quinn.


Music: Visions By Lakey Inspired (CC BY – SA 3.0)

21st Century robots by Ralf Steinberger (CC BY 2.0)

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence by Mike MacKenzie (CC BY 2.0)

Women Using Social Media On Her Phone – by Free HD Stock Footage.(CC BY- SA 3.0)

Social Media Animation by Free Stock Footage 4K (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Science by Free HD stock footage (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Working at the office by Free HD stock footage (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Royalty free Military footage by isloationfilms (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Free Stock Video Experimental Clip / Artificial Intelligence and Internet Technology, Cyber Big Data by Finding Footage (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Haenlein, M. and Kaplan, A. (2019). A brief history of artifical intelligence: on the past, present and future of artificial intelligence. Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2019].

Weber, R. (2019). Hey, Siri! Is Artificial Intelligence the Ultimate Oxymoron?. [online] Journal of Financial Service Professionals. Available at: [Accessed 26 Sep. 2019]. (2019). What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? – Definition from Techopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].

I’m Watching you… Always Watching!

This video discusses how surveillance is constantly surrounding us, and how it impacts our everyday lives. Throughout the creation of the video, when I went out to find footage of surveillance cameras I was shocked about how many I found. In fact, the first step I took outside my house, I saw a camera on the neighbours house that I had never noticed before. The more and more I looked around, they were everywhere and it was rare if I couldn’t find one in a shop.

Originally I had planned to make this video have a positive view on surveillance, but after further research it made me question our freedom and privacy, and whether this type of security was it was over the top, and possibly a bit too much? 

So I combined the positive outcomes of surveillance such as public safety and deterring of criminals, whilst still including the ideas that we are constantly being watched even in our own homes. One way I tried to create a sense of fear was by using scary and dark music The house in the Middle of Nowhere By Darren Curtis  (CC BY – SA 3.0). It was a creative commons license that allowed me to use and adapt the music. I also made the decision to put a black and white effect over my videos to make it look more like CCTV footage and to also attempt to accentuate the fear in my audience. 

I filmed myself at the beginning, middle and end to ensure I was being authentic and personal with my audience, by greeting them and also finishing off the conversation by showing my face, rather than just a voice over the video. I thought that if I showed my face again in the middle, it helps the audience stay interested and involved. 

I ensured that I adopted the correct filming techniques, such as making eye contact with the lens to create the feeling of inclusiveness for my audience, and also used the rule of thirds so it was appalling to watch, and not feel claustrophobic. Surprisingly I was more confident, and it was a lot quicker to film than my first video. 

The editing of the video would have to have been the most difficult part. I haven’t done much editing before, so this was the biggest challenge for me. I used a combination of my own footage and creative commons footage to use in the overlays, to give visual images of what I was discussing. I struggled to find relatable videos for my topic of surveillance, but I managed to find a few that could fit in nicely. 

Problems that I encountered was during some of my filming, as some people were walking past constantly, so I was trying to make sure I didn’t accidentally get them in my footage. I struggled at first with not reading off my script and sounding like a robot, however I overcame this by practicing over and over again until I learnt my lines and it came naturally. I used iMovie to edit my video, however would like to try another application in my next video, to create a more engaging and advanced editing video. 

Overall, I am super proud of how confident I was making this video, and very happy with how it turned out! I’m excited to continue making videos, and will allow more time for the editing in future videos so I can try out some new things. 

Keep posted for more to come!!

Mollie Quinn. 


HINTZ, A., DENCIK, L. and WAHL-JORGENSEN, K. (2017) ‘Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society’, International Journal of Communication (19328036), 11, pp. 731–739. Available at: (Accessed 30 August, 2019).

Comparitech. (2019). The world’s most-surveilled cities – Comparitech. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August, 2019].

Cameras. (2019). Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Security Cameras. [online] A1 Security Cameras. Available at: [Accessed 31 August, 2019].

IFSEC Global | Security and Fire News and Resources. (2019). Role of CCTV Cameras : Public, Privacy and Protection – IFSEC Global | Security and Fire News and Resources. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 August, 2019].

Music: The house in the Middle of Nowhere By Darren Curtis  (CC BY – SA 3.0)

People Walking Past the Camera – Free Stock Footage For Commerical Projects by Cinesim Media.(CC BY- SA 3.0)

Women Using Social Media On Her Phone – by Free HD Stock Footage.(CC BY- SA 3.0)

People Passing by by Free Stock Footage 4K (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Social Media Animation by Free Stock Footage 4K (CC BY- SA 3.0)

New York City – Manhattan at night by Free Stock Footage 4K (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Instagram’s Attempt To Improve Mental Health Causes Outrage Amongst Influencers

Influencers are outraged by the recent trial to remove the number of ‘likes’ on Instagram. Users can no longer view the number of ‘likes’ on another person’s posts, and must click a prompt in order to see the number of likes on their own posts. The trial is taking place in Australia and several other countries, Instagram says in attempt to improve the mental health of young people.

With 1 billion active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. A study in 2017 found that Instagram was the most damaging social media platform to the mental health of young people aged 14 – 24.

Instagram hopes that the removal of likes will help improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people, and prevent them from comparing themselves to others based on the number of likes they get. Instagram tweeted it’s reason for the move.

 “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”

Despite Instagram’s attempt to improve mental health, influencers are raging about this huge decision. This change potentially means that Instagram influencers’ content will need to be of much higher quality in order to appeal to users and brands who wish to collaborate.

19-year-old Australian Instagram model, Mikaela Testa, among many other influencers, is devastated by the trial saying it is affecting her job. She took to Facebook to voice her fury.

“Regardless of what you may think Instagram is a REAL job and those in the industry have worked hard to get where they’re at. I’ve put my blood sweat and tears into this for it to be ripped away.”

Influencers who have created a business around their use on the social media platform, are questioning whether Instagram is removing likes for financial reasons. Businesses are going directly to influencers and to advertise their brands, and Instagram is missing out on the financial benefits.

Some believe it is a cover up to make them look socially responsible, and they’re actually removing likes so they can control all engagement on the platform and force influencers and businesses to turn to buying Instagram adverts.

Social Media Animal Rights Activism Podcast


We live in a digital world where social media is constantly growing, and new, upcoming ways of communicating are always being made. This led me to creating a podcast which discusses the potentialities and risks that social media activists face, in attempt to drive social change. In particular, my focus is on animal activism, and the way in which social media has helped create further awareness surrounding this issue. I choose to form my podcast around the idea of animal activism as it’s something I am extremely passionate about and find interesting, therefore was much easier for me to research the topic. I choose to express both the positive and negative sides of social media activism, and how powerful it is if we use it correctly.

In addition, the word activism can often raise false ideas from some people, as they sometimes associate the word with breaking into facilities and large aggressive protests. However, throughout my podcast I wanted to demonstrate that there is so much more to activism than what we see through the media and how it can be used in a variety of different forms.

The creation of my podcast was supported by my research and the use of academic sources throughout my discussion. The academic resources provided me with credibility into the terms of activism and slacktivism, and the role social media plays when it is used correctly. They also gave me a different insight to social media activism, and I was able to use direct quotes to support my arguments. I simply stated the names of these authors and linked the references in the description box below the podcast.

The music that I choose to use throughout was from SoundCloud. I was able to narrow my search by using Royality Free Music and putting in Creative Commons licence so that I could navigate a song that I was able to modify and use for free. I was able to find Positive Ukulele by Sokolovsky Music (CC BY 3.0) The music I chose is bright and happy, as it aims to sets the mood and keeps the podcast interesting, and my audience engaged.

The challenges I faced while making the podcast was definitely the audio. Writing and scripting my arguments was simple, however it was the recording that I struggled with. To record my Podcast, I used my smart phone, as I attempted to record on my laptop, but the quality wasn’t good. After many attempts of trying to get the sound and quality to an adequate level to share, I finally was able to start the editing. Despite this, I noticed my recording has a large emphasis on the letters “P” and “T”, which I found distracting. I have learnt that next time to keep the microphone further away, to prevent this from happening.

I then attempted to use Audacity, however soon decided that it would be much easier for me to use Garage Band, as I was confident in this platform as I had used it numerous times before. Garage Band allowed me to to fade my music in and out and crop my recording and I found it easy to piece together.

Overall, I learnt that creating a podcast is time consuming, but a lot of fun! I really enjoyed creating this podcast as I love a challenge. It is a lot of trial and error and I believe that my future podcasts will be quicker and easier to make, and I will be more confident in the process. Learning by doing really does work!


Music: Positive Ukulele by Sokolovsky Music (CC BY 3.0).

Hansson, Niklas and Jacobsson, Kerstin 2014, ‘Learning to Be Affected: Subjectivity, Sense, and Sensibility in Animal Rights Activism’, Society & Animals, pp. 262-88.

Petray, Theresa. Taking back voice: Indigenous social media activism’, AQ – Australian Quarterly, Vol. 86, No. 1, pp. 24-27. (2018). [online] Vegan Star Miley Cyrus Praised For Speaking Out For Animals. Available at:…dvocate-award [Accessed 21 May 2019].

PETA. (2019). About PETA | PETA. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 25 May 2019].

My Travel Experiences Shaping My Online Identity?

Santorini Greece by pedro Szelkely (CC BY SA 2.0)

Last year, I embarked on a five-month trip around the world, leaving me addicted to travelling and surrounding my life around it. When I’m not travelling, I’m planning my next trips by reading blog posts, watching YouTube videos and following travel instagram accounts. I believe that this trip had a huge part in creating my online identity, and has transformed my online persona on Instagram, Facebook, and my blog, to becoming travel-oriented. It was as though I finally found an interest that I was passionate about and wanted to share it with the people around me to inspire them to travel the world and discover these amazing places, just like I did. I feel that by sharing my photos of travel on Instagram, people would be inspired and interested in where these places are. By starting my blog, I have also found a love for writing about my own experiences in different countries and to share with the world.

Already, I have had an unbelievable amount of people message me about certain places I have posted photos at, asking me for advice on what to do and where to go in these countries. It amazes me that from photos I have posted, people are planning trips to these countries and are asking me for advice. Which is what has led me to creating this travel blog to talk about my experiences, and what to do in countries, so that more and more people can get the same advice that I would give them in a message.


Screenshot of my instagram

Instagram allows me to share certain images that convey a message, and a theme. For me, it reflects my light-hearted personality, my love for the beach, and travel. I display my social life, through posting photos of myself smiling and having fun, I am only showing a specific part of my life, and therefore creating an online identity that isn’t quite my whole self.

As seen through Professor David Marshall’s article ‘The promotion and presentation of the self’, he states that “Social networking can reveal the private self, but in its design it has the potential of complete revelation to a wider public world” (Marshall, 2010).

Supporting Marshall’s ideas, I believe that even though I am not displaying my whole authentic self through instagram, I’m not being any less real or authentic. If I posted photos that weren’t related to my theme of travel, social life, and fitness, it would be irrelevant to the idea I am trying to convey.

View this post on Instagram

In heaven 💧🇲🇽

A post shared by @ mollie_quinn on

My photo from 17th August 2018 via my instagram
My photo of India and I at Venice beach 2018

Social media has many incredible benefits that makes it so amazing. Throughout my travels I met so many friends and inspiring people, who I am lucky enough that I can still stay in contact with, even though they live on the other side of the world, through Instagram, Facebook messenger and Snapchat. I met one of my best friends India from England, in Los Angeles and only spent one day together last year, and through staying in contact using Instagram and Facebook, she came over in December and stayed with my family for a month over Christmas. Whereas 15 years ago, it would have been much harder to keep in contact with those living in different states and countries.

Social media plays a significant role in my life and is continuing to grow and develop, as twitter has just become apart of my online presence. My twitter online identity is quite different to that of my instagram identity, as it is a lot more casual, with photos and my everyday thoughts.

Marshall emphasises the idea that there are 3 different levels of self presentation. The first being the “public self” which I believe that my instagram reflects, where I am only showing a certain amount of content of my identity which is related to what people want to see and a more public persona. The second level of self presentation is “public private self” which I would consider to be my twitter platform. (Marshall, 2010).

My twitter identity is posting my thoughts and what is on my mind in the moment, talking about an issue on the news, a TV show I have just watched, or even that it is a nice day outside. This allows others to see a different side of my online persona, not so focused around the ideas of travel, but more around my everyday life.

Despite the fact that social media plays a huge role in today’s society, there is still a negative stigma surrounding social media, and being online is often frowned upon. Fleur Gabriels article talks about the ideas that social media can negatively affect the development of youth in today’s society, as they are forced to conform to online social norms. Through creating an online identity, Gabriel explains the concerns of “the possibility that social media absorption is creating a generation of ethically degenerate careless zombies” (Gabriel, 2014).

Gabriel also addresses that there is a “popular conception that social media engagement is harmful to young people in the process of self-development.” (Gabriel, 2014).

We live in a world where social media has developed to be a significant part of our everyday lives, and if we continue to disregard this, we simply won’t be able to embrace the benefits and advantages that it adds to our lives. How can we possibly grow as a society if we aren’t willing to accept that social media is a positive platform that we are fortunate enough to have in our lives?

Through my experience with different social media platforms, I have been able to create an online identity that reflects a part of me that I want to share with the world. I am lucky enough to have found a strong passion for travel, allowing me to create an online identity surrounding that idea. Through both Twitter and Instagram, I have two very different online presences, however both of these are my true self and reflect my identity in different ways.

Twitter Profile

instagram profile


Marshall D 2010, The promotion and presentation of the self: Celebrity as marker of presentation media, retrieved 13 April 2019, Ebook Library database.

Gabriel, F. (2014) ‘Sexting, Selfies and Self-Harm: Young People, Social Media and the Performance of Self-Development’, Media International Australia, 151(1), pp. 104–112. Retrieved 13 April 2019, Ebook Library database.