As COVID travel restrictions continue, is it worth booking interstate vacations from WA?
Want to leave Western Australia but are too nervous to book a flight?
You’re not alone.
Since the start of the pandemic, the WA border has been opened and closed to other states on several occasions – and that makes booking interstate vacations a risky proposition.
Currently, WA has a hard border in place with Victoria, as this state is classified as a medium risk jurisdiction.
This means that you cannot come to WA if you have been to Victoria, unless you are in the very limited category of people who can get an exemption.
In reality, this means that unless you are a Member of Parliament, on active duty in the military, or encounter other very specific circumstances, your chances of entering WA from Victoria are almost nonexistent at this time. .
And the latest travel advice, released by the Department of Health on Wednesday, is not good news for those who have recently visited parts of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
If you are returning to WA after recently visiting any of the listed exhibition sites including Jervis Bay, Huskisson, Gundagai and Goulburn, you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of the exhibition and get tested for COVID.
So where can I travel?
All states except Victoria are considered very low risk including NSW so at this time you are theoretically free to go to any of the others as you wish. .
But would you risk it?
This year alone, the WA border has been closed to travelers from Victoria twice, New South Wales once, and Queensland twice, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet.
While it may be tempting to book this trip to the Great Barrier Reef, visit family in Sydney, or hike Cradle Mountain, the Washington state government warns that “the advice can change quickly “.
Its travel advice page goes on to say that WA remains in a state of emergency and that Western Australians traveling interstate “should have contingency plans” ready in case things change.
And worryingly, he advises you to check the fine print if you book something and the situation at the border changes.
“You will need to check with your airline and accommodation provider if they will provide you with a refund or travel credit,” the government said.
There is also no guarantee that you will return to WA if the border suddenly closes.
What about trips abroad?
And these are just the interstate restrictions.
Don’t even think about traveling abroad. It’s definitely off the list for the foreseeable future.
Excluding New Zealand, which is more on that in a second.
Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has repeatedly said he does not expect international borders to be opened until mid-next year at the earliest, and last month’s federal budget was resting on this assumption.
And while the travel bubble with New Zealand is now operational, it was temporarily suspended for Western Australians during our five-day lockdown in April, suggesting that it is as sensitive to sudden changes as the border of Western Australia.
Local vacation boom
So if you can’t travel interstate and can’t travel overseas, what do you do?
Why, vacations in WA of course!
From the coastal beauty of Esperance and the Deep South, to the acclaimed vineyards, beaches and caves of the South West and the charm of Rottnest Island, to the rugged beauty of the hinterland of Pilbara and Kimberley There is no doubt that we’re in a state of many wonders.
There is certainly no shortage of fabulous vacation spots.
Unless you really want to book accommodation, of course.
As anyone trying to plan a vacation to Rottnest in recent months can attest, accommodation in almost all of WA’s major destinations is currently very scarce and almost impossible to book during peak periods.
Bookings for cottages, bungalows and stand-alone villas on Rottnest for next January sold out in less than an hour when they went on sale last month, and finding accommodation elsewhere in the state can be almost as difficult.
Upscale vacations in the Northwest are rapidly registering bookings and the Southwest is also experiencing a booking boom.
So what should an aspiring vacationer do?
Well, as Dorothy can attest in The Wizard of Oz, there is no place like home …