In 2021 I’m answering a list of weekly journal questions. Read about it here.
Talk about a recent travel experience.
Travel in Australia has been very difficult for the last year thanks to covid. Our government’s response has been to go hard and go early, which has meant tight lockdowns.
We have not been allowed to travel overseas since March 2020 (you can apply for an exemption, however they are not easy to obtain), and even within Australia travel has been very difficult. Our state borders also close as part of covid lockdowns, meaning interstate travel is often not possible. All returning Aussies and other Internationals from overseas go straight into hotel quarantine for 14 days (can’t leave their hotel rooms) when they arrive in the country – this has been the case since March 2020.
I live in Canberra, Australia’s capital, which is in the unique position of being in the Australian Capital Territory, or ACT (see map), which is:
- the only landlocked state/territory in Australia
- the smallest state/territory
- contains 1 city – Canberra
- we’re smack dab in the middle of another state (New South Wales)
The problem with closed borders has meant we haven’t been able to leave our territory (translation, city) for much of the last year either. This is in contrast to other states/territories who (apart from times when they have an outbreak) have been able to travel within their state/territory. And over summer, we don’t have a beach and ocean available to us (we’re an ocean loving country, tough when you are landlocked).
What it has meant for me, is that I have spent more time cancelling travel plans than actually travelling. As I write this I should be holidaying in New Zealand with the family. I’ve cancelled a flight to Perth, Western Australia, a flight to Melbourne, Victoria and 3 flights to Brisbane, Queensland in the last year.
There’s a heatwave over the next four days (40’C / 104’F), so with some lockdown restrictions lifting allowing us to travel to the coast, we’re going to bolt down and cool off in the Pacific Ocean. Let’s hope nothing changes and we get there.
While travel has been very tricky, I have no complaints, because Australia’s approach seems to have worked. As I write this Australia has been 6 days since its last locally acquired case – quite a few cases in hotel quarantine for international returns, but they are *touchwood* contained. The reason I write “touchwood” is because the last 2 outbreaks have occurred because of covid escaping from international returns in hotel quarantine.
With the vaccine rolling out this year (our program starts in a month, but we have the luxury of taking our time and having a very well prepared plan for roll out), domestic travel should open up more. Our government has told us that there will be no international travel in 2021, and maybe not in 2022. And that’s okay, we want to be safe.
Have you been able to travel recently?