With international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, Aussies have been turning to our own backyard for our next holiday. Whether your travel style is an indulgent weekend in wine country or an outback hiking expedition, it's time to rediscover what makes regional Australia so special.
While things are slowly returning to a new normal for most of the country (we’re thinking of you Victoria!) there are still precautions to take when planning a trip. If you’re hitting the road, Tourism Australia has launched a new website called the Australian COVID Travel Portal to help you travel safely.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Planning travel in the time of Coronavirus is no easy feat. Where once upon a time you could just Google the cheapest flight out of town or jump in the car and head up the coast, now you need to plan ahead.
There are a flood of questions to consider. Am I even allowed to travel there? Do I feel safe doing so? Will anything be open in that small town? Is their tourism industry back on its feet? Am I allowed to stay in a hotel? Do I have to wear a mask?
The new travel portal aims to answer all these questions and more, putting your anxious mind at ease and allowing you to go forth and book your much needed getaway. It brings up to date information together in one easy to access place.
Most crucially, the travel portal shares state-by-state information on travel restrictions and border closures that you should check before travelling. All states and territories are currently designated as either partially open or closed to non-essential travel.
The site shares travel tips on how to practice good hygiene and socially distance, guidance around travelling while ill (don’t) and advice for if your trip gets cancelled. It has current information on what transport is operating, including the status of flights, interstate trains, taxis and car rentals so you can get from A to B.
It also has a comprehensive guide on what is open in each state and territory, including cafes, museums, wineries, shops, beaches and more so you can plan some fun while you’re away.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison hopes the travel portal will give Australians the confidence to plan and book an Australian holiday, plus the knowledge to travel safely.
“As Australians begin to travel again, it is crucial that travellers feel confident to holiday safely, and that tourism businesses and their communities are ready to welcome them warmly, but also safely,” she said.
“We want travellers to know it’s safe to travel and show how the Australian tourism industry is putting in place the highest standards and stringent COVIDSafe measures to ensure their wellbeing and safety at every point in the customer journey.”