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Canberra and the ACT travel restrictions: What to do in August 2020

This is your complete guide on exactly what you can do in Canberra right now.

Updated . What changed?

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Aerial view from a Hot Air Balloon at sunrise of Lake Burley Griffin and Black Mountain Tower during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular with occurs in March every year in the Australian Capital Territory in Australia

With the worries of COVID-19 decreasing, an easing of social restrictions is slowly making its way into our capital. This means that if you're after the perfect romantic getaway or just a weekend away with friends, Canberra has you covered.

As of 17 July 2020, a maximum of 100 people can gather in an area, indoors or outdoors. That being said, a distance of 1.5 metres is still required to be kept between members of the public.

Borders are currently closed between Victoria and the ACT. Any ACT residents returning from Victoria must undergo a 14 day quarantine.

Accommodation in the Australian Capital Territory

Accommodation providers across the state have their doors open to guests and you are free to stay with family and friends without restriction.

Staying with friends or family

The latest guidelines allow you to stay overnight with friends or family. There is no limit to how many people may gather. The government asks the community to be considerate of people who may be at a higher risk within the home and to keep your distance in such cases.

Staying at a hotel

If you're looking for weekend accommodation, you are now able to book a hotel in the ACT. Hotels are now implementing more cleaning schedules into their routines and making sure high contact areas are being thoroughly sanitised. Social distancing is still being enforced, with 1.5 metres to be kept between members of the public.

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Staying at a holiday house

As well as that home-away-from-home feeling, holiday homes provide a great accommodation alternative if you're looking to keep contact with the public to a minimum.

You can now book a holiday home in Canberra with several holiday house websites. Airbnb, Stayz, HomeAway, Home Exchange, and HotelsCombined all provide a massive selection of lived-in homes, chalets, cabins, townhouses, cottages, studios and apartments.

Staying at a hostel

If you're looking to save a few extra dollars, hostels are now also open for business the same as hotels and holiday homes. Hostelworld is committed to offering its guests a safe stay. The hostels it displays have pledged to increase the cleaning of common areas and bedrooms, book fewer people in larger rooms and offer hand sanitiser.

Any hostel not complying with these new guidelines will be removed from the Hostel World website.

Camping and caravanning

Get ready to sleep under the stars because campsites and caravan parks are back in business. It is asked that people use their best judgement when using communal facilities at campgrounds and parks. Guests also have to distance themselves (1.5 metres) from other members of the public.

Some caravan parks will ask you to make a booking as spaces are limited. A maximum of 20 people are allowed in one area, so small groups are appreciated. Make sure to pack as many of your own tools and goods as possible to also help flattened the curve.

Tourist attractions in the Australian Capital Territory

With another round of restrictions being eased, Canberra's main attractions are opening their doors again. Websites that offer experiences such as RedBalloon and Adrenaline have introduced a "Now open" badge to their products to make booking experiences for the near future a little easier.

Batesman Day tour

Canberra overnight stay RB

The following attractions have reopened across the Australian Capital Territory:

  • National Museum of Australia (booking required)
  • National Gallery of Australia (booking required)
  • National Arboretum Canberra
  • Canberra Glassworks
  • Cockington Green Gardens
  • The Australian War Memorial

National parks

Canberra's national parks are open for hiking and recreational use. Again, groups should be kept to a minimum and physical distancing adhered to.

If the area seems busy, it's recommended that you come back at a later time or date.

On 30 May, Mount Franklin Road, Bendora and Coree areas in Namadgi National Park have reopened. All other areas are still closed closed due to the fires.

Wineries and vineyards

Enjoy a red, white or sparkling at one of the many wineries that inhabit the Australian Capital Territory. These venues are subject to the same rules and regulations, so there is a maximum of 100 people allowed in any given space. Social distancing must also be practiced. We recommend that you call up your prefered winery to pre-book a reservation.

Getting to and from your holiday destination

Driving within the Australian Capital Territory

There are no restrictions on driving within the ACT. You are more than welcome to take a road trip and see the sights. Companies like Europcar and Avis have taken action to make sure their customers are safe if you want to hire a car.

Some of their measures include intensive cleaning of high contact areas and contactless pickup in selected locations.

Flying to and from the Australian Capital Territory

As domestic borders begin to reopen, flights are also beginning to resume. Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Fly Pelican all offer flights, though these are at a reduced capacity to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Routes that are currently in operation include:

  • Canberra-Ballina Byron on Fly Pelican
  • Canberra-Brisbane on Virgin Australia and Qantas
  • Canberra-Sydney on Qantas
  • Canberra-Newcastle on Fly Pelican
  • Canberra-Melbourne on Virgin Australia and Qantas
  • Canberra-Gold Coast on Virgin Australia

Due to border closures these flights are subject to change. While you won't need to self-isolate when arriving in Melbourne the government has stated that it strongly encourages you to stay at home for 14 days when you return to the ACT. You should get tested as soon as you start showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

The only times it is legally enforceable for you to quarantine when travelling from Victoria to the ACT are:

  • If you entered the ACT after 7am on 3 July and have been to a Victorian hotspot within the previous 14 days
  • If you entered the ACT after 11:59pm on 6 July and had been to Greater Melbourne within the previous 14 days
  • If you entered the ACT after 12.01 am on 8 July and had been in Victoria within the previous 14 days

Coach services

If you're a resident of the ACT and wish to explore the south coast of New South Wales, Murrays is provides return trips from Canberra to Wollongong via the Southern Highlands. The service runs between Monday and Saturday, offering pickup points in Collector, Goulburn, Marulan, Moss Vale, Robertson, Albion Park, Dapto, Unanderra and Figtree.

The Wollongong to Canberra service runs on Sundays only.

As of 19 June, you can take a bus between Sydney and Canberra with Murrays.

Train/light rail services

Both city and regional train lines are up and running for passengers with no changes to the timetable. The ACT government urges people to try to avoid public transport unless it's completely necessary. Passengers should keep in mind that:

  • Cash will not be accepted as a form of payment (pre-purchased or MyWay tickets only)
  • You should use rear doors when boarding
  • Light rail doors are automatic so no contact is needed
  • Front seats (closest to the driver) are closed off for the time being
  • You should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and the next passenger
  • You should top up your tickets beforehand

People have also been suggested to spread out while riding the train and to travel outside of peak periods to avoid unnecessary contact.

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Frequently asked questions about travelling within the Australian Capital Territory during COVID-19

How far can I travel from my home?

There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within the state.

Are there any regional travel restrictions in Australian Capital Territory?

There aren't any regional restrictions in the ACT, but the government has recommended that people stay in Canberra in an attempt to help stop any possible spread of COVID-19.

The government has also strongly advised that no Canberrans travel to Victoria at this time. Anyone who does must quarantine for 14 days upon their return. You can quarantine in your own home.

Can I travel to the Australian Capital Territory if I live in another state?

For the most part, yes. The ACT has only closed its borders to Victorians. If you live in any other state you may travel to and from Canberra and the ACT provided that your state allows travel outside of its borders.

ACT Health is closely monitoring developments in NSW and has advised that its residents avoid the declared hotspots of Fairfield, Liverpool and Campbeltown. Those who travel to and through these areas may be required to quarantine upon their return to the ACT.

Do I need to limit the amount of people I'm travelling with?

It's recommended that you try to keep the group you're travelling with to a minimum.

Do I need to pre-book to visit restaurants and attractions?

Seeing that most venues can now allow up to 100 people in each indoor and outdoor area, it's no longer required to book in advance to secure a spot.

Will I need to self-isolate or go into quarantine when I get back from my trip?

No. If you are returning from an interstate trip, you won't need to self-isolate.

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