Lock Down Chaos Strikes, Travel Bubble Bets Off

snow action team 21.12.2020

Australia’s chaotic response to the NSW COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t bode well for any international travel bubbles.

Forget skiing New Zealand, at this rate you won’t be able to ski NSW from South Australia, Queensland or Western Australia.

South Australia announced that travellers arriving after midnight last night (Monday) had to go into quarantine for 2 weeks at their expense, or return to NSW.

We would love to back smashing Mt Hutt in 2021 too, but no guarantees we can .. © Owain Price / Snow Action

Then they proceeded to start enforcing those rules much earlier so 550 people who boarded planes in good faith were told to go into 14 day quarantine or fly back to NSW. According to the ABC News report another 100 were turned back at road borders, despite arriving hours before the announced deadline. Today the SA government is telling those affected they may be able to claim compensation.

Also today, the Northern Territory suddenly expanded it’s hotspot area definition, catching travellers mid-flight. They will be offered the option of a free flight home, or a cost-free stay at mandatory quarantine in the NT.

Meantime other state and territory governments are imposing their own border closures – Western Australia already reverted to total isolation, Queensland and Victoria are re-introducing “hard border” road controls and flights are being cancelled.

The ACT announced renewed road travel restrictions, which mistakenly included their close south NSW coast, where a big chunk of the ACT population normally spend Xmas / New Year. These were corrected, but if there are cases in the next few days they will likely be imposed.

Regardless of the merits of all these measures, the bottom line is that 11 months into the pandemic there is still no uniform policy or procedure on dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks across Australia.

So the idea that New Zealand could institute an international ‘travel bubble’ with quarantine free movement if Australia can’t decide on a coherent national strategy looks pretty far fetched.

Australia’s cautious approach to vaccination approvals and roll outs, with nothing envisaged to start until March 2021, means the general public will be unlikely to get vaccine access for months after that.

As it stands, you might want to hold off even making 2021 Aussie snow season holiday bookings, certainly interstate ones.

For example if the current Sydney/NSW outbreak happened during ski season it’s likely the NSW resorts would have had to shut down like their Victorian counterparts did. Ironically, Victorians skiing Victoria looks the safest 2021 ski bet at the moment.

But it’s watch this space, this isn’t over yet, however full your in-tray and social feeds get with snow holiday offers. If and when things do improve look up the latest deals from booking.com for your dates here:


Right now Victorians skiing Victoria looks the safest bet for 2021 © Mt Buller