My last excuse for disappearing of 2020; or how I’ve spent my holidays thus far… (Part I)

Looking at my posts, the last time I was around was the 11th of December, with a week of work to go before the Christmas holidays started.  That last week is a write-off; it was insanely busy with boring details not worth remembering, never mind mentioning.

The weekend of the 18th though, we were both free, and packing up the car for a Christmas adventure; we were taking three days to drive up to northern New South Wales to spend Christmas with MT’s brother and his family, stopping along the way at a few National Parks and a place called Berkelouw’s Book Barn, to go crazy on the new and used books.  We left at the crack of dawn Sunday looking only slightly like the Beverly Hillbillies, and really looking forward to every part of the trip.

Alas, it’s still 2020.

The day before we left, there was a COVID outbreak – a very small one – in the northern beaches of Sydney.  We weren’t going anywhere near that part of NSW, but we got state border permits, to make things easy, and didn’t worry about it.  By the time we got to our first stop on Sunday, 4 hours into the drive, the outbreak had grown significantly and moved further north, dangerously close to our final destination.  Still we weren’t too worried, and we had a date that afternoon for some spelunking at Buchan Caves Reserve:

Afterwards, we explored some of the park around the caves, which is beautiful – I seriously fell in love with the place – took a few photos, and then headed towards our destination for the next two nights, Mallacoota, Victoria.

News-hounds might recognise the name Mallacoota; it’s the town where, during the bushfires, thousands of residents were trapped on the shoreline for a few days before the Australian Navy went in and rescued them.  Fortunately, the lodge we were booked at escaped the fire and both it and the grounds were beautiful:

Unfortunately for everybody, things in Sydney had gotten progressively worse, and during our first night, we received two text messages from the Victorian Department of Health, saying our permits had been revoked and anyone entering Victoria from New South Wales would be required to sit a 14 day hotel quarantine at personal expense.

And just like that, we had no Christmas plans.  (to be continued)

9 thoughts on “My last excuse for disappearing of 2020; or how I’ve spent my holidays thus far… (Part I)”

  1. Hooray — I‘m glad to see you posting again, and also glad to see you were able to turn your virus-interrupted plans into something truly nice as well. Belated Merry Christmas … love the photos and the travel journal!

    1. Thanks TA – I’m still working on the last post, but it takes WP forever to upload the photos. And as you can see there are a LOT of photos. 😀

  2. No home quarantine? They force you to live at a hotel for 2 weeks, at your expense? Did I interpret your last bit correctly? Because that sounds, um, brutal!

    1. Yeah, a Newzealand friend of mine told me the same thing – it was what finally put him off travelling home for the holidays. I guess, this is part of the purpose: to put people off.

    2. Yep, you interrpreted it correctly. At the beginning, it was home quarantine, but too many people ignored the order and went about doing whatever they wanted. Then, the states started doing the hotel quarantine at the states’ expense, but in addition to all the expat/tourists coming home from overseas, it became too expensive. Back in June?, they announced anyone leaving one of the states would not be able to return withough self-funded mandatory hotel quarantine. Which is about 3k per person, depending on which state you’re quarantining in.

      At the beginning of this outbreak in NSW, they had another stage where if you were in zones of concern, rather than outbreak zones, you had to have a test immediately upon your return and home isolate until the results came back. We were prepared for that. But then the outbreak became too widespread so that was that.

      1. Ouch. And no one protests about abuse of power by the State or anything? I’m not casting stones here, as I’m obeying the quarantine laws we have (even while vehemently disagreeing with them on multiple levels).

        1. Nobody complained much about the cost of the quarantines because there are a LOT of people coming in and the govenment would have bankrupted itself paying for it all; they also gave everyone, including overseas travellers, plenty of advance warning before implementing it, giving them a window to get back in before they’d have to pay.

          Back in June/July when Victoria cases skyrocketed to the point that we were getting 700 new cases a day, a lot of people did protest the lockdown, and especially the mandate to wear the masks. Lots and lots of protesting abuse of state powers, etc. though Australia’s constitution isn’t as clear about state vs. federal rights as ours is, so there’s wiggle room for things like border closures.

          But, in truth, the lockdown worked, and we could see it working within a few weeks, and suddenly nobody complained anymore; everybody was either on-board or keeping quiet. 2 months later we were down to zero cases in the state and until 2 days ago, we’d maintained that zero number for 61 days. Now we have 6 new cases from people who came in from NSW in the last few weeks before the hard quarantine order went into effect. Now NYE celebrations have been cancelled and mask restrictions are back in place, making me thankful that we didn’t end up crossing that border.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: