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South Australia travel restrictions: What can I do in October 2020?

With travel bans slowly being lifted, here’s everything you need to know about what you can do and where you can go in the southern state.

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Woman looking at view of Victor Harbor, South Australia, Australia

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South Australians are free to travel within their state at their leisure.

In saying that, if you're after some time in the southern state's backyard, now is the perfect time to sip on the finest wine the Barossa has to offer.

Or, to take a roadtrip to your favourite camping spot.

Accommodation in South Australia

The restrictions allow for up to 50 people to gather in a private home within South Australia. It's still strongly advised that you keep your numbers as low as possible and maintain physical distancing in communal areas.

Can I stay with family or friends?

Visiting friends and family is permitted with that 50 person limit in mind.

In saying this, social distancing of 1.5 metres still applies to ensure both your safety and that of your family and friends.

Can I stay at hotels?

Feel free to book yourself into a hotel for leisure or business in South Australia as they are now back up and running.

Due to the number of people permitted in a hotel, strict hygiene measures are in place to make sure your stay is as safe as possible.

You can book a hotel anywhere, as long as it's within the state borders. In some cases, people are quarantining themselves in specified hotels.

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Can I stay at a holiday house?

With the easing of restrictions, you can now enjoy a quiet stay in a holiday house anywhere in the state. This is also a great alternative if you wish to take a weekend away but want to distance yourself from other members of the public.

Stayz, HomeAway, Booking.com, HotelsCombined and Airbnb offer a wide range of holiday homes, including apartments, cottages, chalets, studios, cabins and townhouses.

Airbnb has placed a worldwide limit of 16pax for rentals, excluding boutique hotels and event venues.

Can I stay in a dorm or private room at a hostel?

Hostels are pretty much the same as hotels: open and ready for bookings. Hostel booking site Hostelworld is only featuring properties that have increased their health and safety measures for guests.

Larger rooms will house fewer guests and there will be extra cleaning of the facilities. Hand sanitation stations will be available and guests will have to follow social distancing rules.

Hostels that are found to not be following the guidelines will be automatically removed from the Hostelworld website.

Am I able to go camping and caravanning?

Yes. If you're looking to stay at a caravan park call the site prior to reserve a booking. Up to six people (not including children) can stay at one caravan park or camping site.

Anyone wishing to get amongst nature by camping or glamping should take extra precautions. While there aren't any restrictions on communal camping facilities you should still keep your distance from others.

We recommend bringing extra cleaning supplies just in case.

Tourist attractions in South Australia

Slowly but surely, South Australia's attractions are opening their doors again. With only select experiences and attractions choosing to reopen, sites such as RedBalloon have introduced a "Now Open" tag to their products. This way, you can book with peace of mind.

In light of COVID-19, many sites let you book further in the future and have vouchers that last up to several years.

RB activity

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The following attractions have reopened across South Australia:

  • Adelaide Central Market
  • Botanical Gardens of South Australia
  • South Australian Museum
  • South Australia Art Gallery

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Can I visit national parks?

Yes, you can now visit the national parks of South Australia. This goes hand in hand with camping and caravanning. However, you'll have to book these in advance through the National Park website.

Currently you can visit Cleland Wildlife Park, Seal Bay, Naracoorte Caves, Adelaide Gaol and all botanic gardens. Caravan parks have also reopened.

Are beaches and parks open to the public?

Beaches are open to the public, but we suggest checking with your local government council as busier beaches may still have restrictions.

Social distancing is highly advised when travelling to parks and coastal areas. Keep 1.5 metres between individuals.

Can I go to cellar doors at wineries and vineyards?

The Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills Wine Region are all back in operation. Before you pay each a visit, get wind of opening hours and pre-book your tastings as capacity limits apply.

All indoor tastings must be seated.

If you're planning to get away for the weekend, maintain a maximum of 20 people per group and practise social distancing.

Getting to and from your holiday destination

Can I drive anywhere within South Australia?

You can visit anywhere within South Australia with your car. There aren't any limits on how far you can go, either.

Car rental companies have introduced deeper hygiene practices for anyone needing a vehicle in the near future. Europcar and are thoroughly cleaning high contact areas such as the steering wheel, gear changer, radio and keys.

You can even choose a completely contactless pick-up and drop-off in select locations.

Are planes flying within South Australia?

Restrictions on domestic travel are easing and internal flights within South Australia are returning.

Flights that are currently running are:

  • Adelaide to Port Augusta on Cobham airlines
  • Adelaide to Olympic Dam on Alliance Airlines
  • Adelaide to Port Lincoln on Regional Express and Qantas
  • Adelaide to Whyalla on Regional Express
  • Adelaide to Prominent Hill on Cobham airlines
  • Adelaide to Kingscote/Kangaroo Island on Regional Express
  • Adelaide to Ceduna on Regional Express
  • Adelaide to Moomba on Alliance Airlines
  • Adelaide to Sydney on Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia
  • Adelaide to Brisbane on Virgin Australia, Qantas and Jetstar
  • Adelaide to Darwin on Jetstar
  • Adelaide to Cairns on Jetstar
  • Adelaide to Alice Springs on Qantas
  • Adelaide to the Gold Coast on Virgin Australia
  • Adelaide to Melbourne on Jetstar

For added peace of mind, Qantas has implemented its new "Fly Well" program. This involves contactless check-in and regular cleaning of the aircraft and high-contact areas, as well as hygiene screening.

Can I take a train?

City services: Trains are running to the city from Belair, Gawler, Gawler Central, Glanville, Grange, Noarlunga, Osborne, Outer Harbor, Salisbury, Seaford and Clovelly Park. However, it's suggested that you only take public transport if you must. It's vital that you practise social distancing while on board. If a carriage looks busy, move to another.

Regional services: Train services between Adelaide and Darwin on The Ghan recommenced on 30 August 2020. The Overland is recommencing on 2 November, pending border restrictions and the Great Southern between Adelaide and Brisbane is anticipated to resume in December. The Indian Pacific is suspended until further notice.

Which states and territories can I travel to?

South Australia's borders are open to Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, NSW, the ACT and Queensland. This doesn't mean the border opening is reciprocated. Here's what you need to know.

  • To NSW: Borders are open to South Australians and you won't need to quarantine on your return.
  • To Queensland: Borders are open to all South Australians with no need to quarantine when returning home.
  • To Western Australia: Borders are closed and only essential workers may travel to Western Australia. Upon entering they will be taken into mandatory quarantine and need to take two COVID-19 tests.
  • To Victoria: Borders are open. However, as Victoria is a hotspot, you may be required to quarantine when you get back. From 20 October Victorians can move to South Australia though must self-isolate. Border communities are allowed to travel between themselves freely.
  • To Tasmania: Only essential travellers may enter. All other South Australians must enter quarantine upon arrival. If you've been to a hotspot in the past 14 days you will be denied entry.
  • To the ACT: Borders are open between the state and territory.
  • To the Northern Territory: Borders are open. If you have been to a hotspot in the past 14 days you must quarantine at your own expense.

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Frequently asked questions about travelling within South Australia during COVID-19

How far can I travel from my home?

Residents of South Australia are free to travel anywhere in their state. South Australians are permitted to travel to all states and territories, except Western Australia and Tasmania, without the need to quarantine.

However, depending on the state rules you may need to quarantine upon your return.

Are there any regional travel restrictions in South Australia?

The South Australian government advises that if you do travel, a distance of 1.5 metres should be maintained between you and others.

Can I travel to South Australia if I live in another state?

Yes. South Australia has opened its borders to Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory, the ACT and NSW.

Borders to Victoria shut at midnight on 8 July. Only returning residents and essential travellers may travel from Victoria to South Australia. When they do, they may be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

From midnight 28 July South Australians wishing to return home from Victoria will no longer be allowed to re-enter the state.

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

There is no gathering limit, though you should keep your party minimal to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Do I need to pre-book to visit dining venues and attractions?

Some restaurants require you to book ahead of time as there is a gathering limit based on the one person per two square metre rule.

Outdoor licensed venues can serve alcohol without food and you do not have to be seated to eat or drink. Indoor venues still require you to be seated to eat and drink. If you're seated at the bar it must not be near the food preparation area.

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

If you are simply travelling within South Australia, you do not have to self-isolate when you arrive back home.

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