At least two more states are opening their borders to New South Wales giving fresh hopes to Sydneysiders looking to travel to the Northern Territory and South Australia for the upcoming school holidays.
And even Queensland relented a little, opening up its borders to more postal codes in NSW – just in time for the school holidays.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has been implacably resistant to calls to open one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations, said the state’s “border bubble” will, on October 1, include five additional local government areas: Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes residents can soon enter Queensland
The extended border zone will include 41 New South Wales postcodes, spanning 11 local government areas. Those NSW residents will have to apply for a border pass to travel into Queensland.
Queensland residents will also be able to travel to those areas from October 1.
“I think this is a great effort to consider how we can make our border zones more effective,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “These areas have a lot in common with Queensland, they do a lot of their business in Queensland so we believe this is the right measure to take,” the Premier said.
The news saw airlines start their engines.
With NT reopening its borders to NSW from October 9, Qantas will resume daily flights from Sydney to Darwin from 9 to 24 October. There will be three Qantas flights per week from October 25 confirmed a Qantas spokesperson.
South Australia is also reopening its borders to NSW from Thursday.
SA Premier Steven Marshall said that the borders will reopen provided there is no community transmission of coronavirus in NSW today.
“This will be massive relief for people dislocated from family, friends and business opportunities,” he said.
SA borders will remain closed to Victoria but anyone from other states and territories is allowed to enter.
Qantas currently does not fly between Adelaide and Sydney but with the reopening of borders, the airline is looking to resume flights, a spokesperson said.
Virgin Australia will recommence Canberra to Adelaide flights, three times a week from 12 October and Adelaide to Sydney daily flights from 2 October and twice daily from 2 November.
There will be daily Virgin flights between Brisbane and Canberra and five flights per week between Canberra and Gold Coast from the end of October.
Some travel agents are also seeing greater interest from Australians wanting to experience nature-filled wonders of the NT.
“We’ve had some enquiries from couples, families and high-end clients who are interested in visiting NT’s top end.
“I often advise them to use their frequent flyer points to book Qantas domestic flights. FF flights are much easier to cancel than online flights.
“Many Australians have never been to the NT which is all about nature. However, October is the start of the wet season in NT.
“We specialise in booking tailored-made tours and experiences,” said Orley Makler, owner of Sydney-based Above and Beyond Experiences.
“Many people are still nervous about travelling as they do not want to deal with cancellation of their holiday plans.
“My advice to my clients to go on nature-focused holidays with lots of bush walks and nature-based activities. It is what I would do with my own family. Nature-based holidays are much safer,” she added.