So who loves a Road Trip?

Safety Stuff

​By Sandy Blunt

I thought I did until just recently. After having to cancel our planned road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane at Christmas due to the NSW Northern Beaches COVID-19 outbreak and the sudden snap border closures, we thought we would be safe to finally take a family road trip within Victoria to Paynesville, East Gippsland.

My husband, our two boys and I set off for a four-day long weekend last Friday. We knew we had about a 3 ½ hour drive to get to our accommodation and we couldn’t check in until 2pm so we didn’t leave Melbourne until around 10.30am. We don’t travel lightly (even for just four days) so we had our trailer with four bikes, beach gear, boogie boards, clothes, essentials etc. all behind the Holden Captiva. My hubby likes to listen to “his” music while driving so we had on the Bluetooth to his phone and the music was pumping and the boys in the back had their own headphones on watching/playing on their iPads (kids nowadays)….happy days!

It wasn’t until we were three hours into our road trip that I got a text from a friend asking if we had heard the news that Victoria was going into a five-day lockdown and would that affect our short trip away?

Ummmm….what????

We had no idea that this was even on the cards. The last we knew was that there had been a few (it turns out there were five) new COVID-19 cases related to the Holiday Inn cluster but they were already in quarantine and supposedly under control.

Things can certainly change very quickly. Due to the more contagious variant, the Victorian government was concerned that the outbreak was getting out of control and needed time for the contact tracers to catch up and the only way to do this was to shut down the whole state, as a “circuit breaker”.

So 20 minutes from our destination we had to make the decision of whether to keep going and be in lockdown at our accommodation, where we were only allowed out for exercise for 2 hours/day and have to stay within 5km and potentially be stuck there for longer than 5 days if the lockdown was extended or drive home. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed. We decided we wouldn’t make a snap decision as we had time (until 11.59pm) to get home.

We kept driving and got to Bairnsdale and went to the local café and ordered a VERY large coffee and fish and chips for the kids. I was madly Googling the latest news and my husband was ringing his work mate who was across everything COVID-related.

Sadly, we decided to turn around and drive the 3 ½ hours back to Melbourne. So now we have twice been bitten by interrupted travel plans due to covid-19 and we are very shy to even plan the next holiday.

Needless to say it was a very long way to go for just a coffee and fish & chips!

covid, life in lockdown, road trip
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1 Comment.

  • How extremely frustrating Sandy! You would think travel within your own state would at least be a safe bet. My wife and I were set for an international holiday in April 2020 when COVID first struck but fortunately we received a full refund on everything. Since then I haven’t committed to anything more than an overnight stay. Hopefully the rollout of the vaccine will improve our local travel options very soon!

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