Is it safe to travel within Australia?

Is it safe to travel within Australia? COVID-19 protocols to take note of

Australia has been updating domestic travel protocols to combat COVID-19 and keep everyone safe. Changes over the weeks have resulted in new laws and regulations. Do you need to wear a mask? Can you cross state borders? Learn what each state and territory is doing to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as we answer the question: “is it safe to travel within Australia?”
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Table of Contents
  1. The COVIDSafe app: Australia’s government-approved contact app
  2. Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions by state and territory — what you can and cannot do
    1. New South Wales
      1. Can I enter New South Wales from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask?
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    2. Queensland
      1. Can I enter Queensland from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask?
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    3. Victoria
      1. Can I enter Victoria from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask?
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    4. Western Australia
      1. Can I enter Western Australia from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask?
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    5. South Australia
      1. Can I enter South Australia from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask? 
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    6. Tasmania
      1. Can I enter Tasmania from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask?
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    7. Northern Territory
      1. Can I enter the Northern Territory from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask? 
      3. Is there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?
    8. Australian Capital Territory
      1. Can I enter the Australian Capital Territory from another state?
      2. When do I need to wear a mask?
      3. Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?
      4. Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?
      5. How far can I travel within my state?
      6. Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?
      7. Where can I find more information?

The impact of COVID-19 in Australia has made things unpredictable in the domestic travel space, with border restrictions constantly changing and snap lockdowns making the situation both unpredictable and frustrating for interstate travelers. As Australian states and territories have different levels of restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19, it can be difficult to keep an eye on changes. Here, we answer some common questions about domestic travel restrictions and safety regulations in each state based on information available as of May 10, 2021. Read on to learn whether it is safe to travel within Australia.

⚠️ Due to the evolving nature of the pandemic situation, safety regulations may change without warning. This article should not be treated as legal advice — we recommend that readers check with local authorities for updates on COVID-19 protocols prior to making travel arrangements.

This article covers information regarding domestic travel within Australia. For information on international travel to and from Australia, please refer to our resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions.

The COVIDSafe app: Australia’s government-approved contact app

Australia is committed to making the country a safer place. Consider downloading the COVIDSafe app onto your phone and use it when you are out in public. COVIDSafe is the only contact app approved by the Australian Government. It uses technology to help state and territory health officials quickly and effectively identify and contact anyone who may have been recently exposed to COVID-19 (known as “close contacts”).

Information is securely encrypted and stored locally on your phone. The app does not store or use location data. Health officials may only access app information if somebody tests positive and agrees that their information in their phone may be uploaded.

Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions by state and territory — what you can and cannot do

Here are Australia’s state and territory restrictions for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory.

New South Wales

Is it safe to travel within Australia — New South Wales
Image by Caroline Voelker via Unsplash

Can I enter New South Wales from another state?

Travelers may enter New South Wales without restrictions, with the exception of those traveling from an interstate hotspot. Click here to track hotspots.

When do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are mandatory in indoor public areas and on public transport in the Greater Sydney area. Masks must also be worn at all New South Wales airports and on domestic commercial flights into and out of the state.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

The rule of one person per two square meters applies at all venues, except gyms. Public gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed in the Greater Sydney area. Public gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed in regional and rural New South Wales.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. Venues remain open as long as they observe the one person per two square meters rule; patrons must observe this rule at all times. Diners must provide their name and contact details for contact tracing — this may be done through contactless check-in via scanning the venue’s NSW Government QR Code.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you can travel within New South Wales.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. Most businesses, attractions, and entertainment venues remain open to guests as long as capacity limits are maintained and the venue has an adequate COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. This may include ticketed events with allocated seating reducing their total capacity.

For example, the Sydney Opera House, which has been registered as a COVID Safe business by the New South Wales Government, has implemented the following safety measures:

  • Masks must be worn at all times while inside foyers and theaters, including during a performance
  • Visitors must check-in via QR code upon arrival
  • Theaters and studios operate at a reduced capacity of 75%
  • Hand sanitizer stations are readily available at frequently-accessed areas
  • Regular cleaning of high-touch and high-traffic areas using hospital-grade disinfectant

In public areas such as beaches and national parks, visitors must adhere to social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the New South Wales state government website.

Queensland

Is it safe to travel within Australia — Queensland
Image by City of Gold Coast via Unsplash

Can I enter Queensland from another state?

Travelers may enter Queensland, with the exception of those traveling from a declared hotspot. Keep track of hotspot activity on the Queensland Government COVID-19 hotspots page.

When do I need to wear a mask?

Wearing a mask is mandatory in any Queensland airport and when on domestic commercial flights. While masks are not mandatory elsewhere, you are encouraged to wear masks on public transport, in taxis, and in places where social distancing is not possible.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

  • You are encouraged to keep at least 1.5 meters away from others where possible
  • At outdoor public spaces, there is no limit to the number of people that can gather
  • At a private property, gatherings of up to 100 people are now allowed

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. All hospitality businesses can open and operate at a capacity of two square meters per person. Guests may now need to provide their contact details electronically as businesses are required to move away from paper-based record-keeping methods to make contact tracing more efficient.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you can travel within Queensland.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. Indoor cinemas, libraries, art galleries, museums, historic sites, concert venues, stadiums, theaters, nightclubs, amusement parks, zoos, and other attractions can reopen with a COVID Safe Plan in place. COVID Safe protocols include industry-approved site-specific plans for businesses whose premises have a wide or complex area, such as theme parks and wildlife parks.

For example, Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast has implemented the following safety measures:

  • Guests must now download the Village Roadshow Theme Parks app and load their entry tickets through the app
  • Character meet-and-greet sessions and locations have been changed to meet physical distancing requirements
  • High-touch points throughout the park now undergo increased sanitization

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane encourages all guests to adhere to social distancing and good hygiene practices, as well as download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app to help with contact tracing. Additionally, guests are required to electronically provide contact information upon arrival via a QR code platform.

Public areas such as parks, beaches, outdoor facilities, off-leash dog areas, playgrounds, gym equipment, and barbecues remain open.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the Queensland state government website.

Victoria

Is it safe to travel within Australia — Victoria
Image by Matt Zhang via Unsplash

Can I enter Victoria from another state?

You must apply for a permit if you wish to travel into Victoria from anywhere in Australia. You will need to declare which areas in Australia you have been to in order to apply for a permit. The type of permit you receive depends on where you are entering from and the places you have traveled to. Areas are designated different colors according to their risk. Find out more about red, orange, and green permit zones here.

When do I need to wear a mask?

Across Victoria, everyone aged 12 years or older must carry a face mask outside of their home and wear it indoors unless they have a lawful reason not to. In addition to indoor spaces, you must also wear a mask on public transport, when in a taxi or a rideshare vehicle, on domestic flights, and at airports.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

Social distancing in public must be adhered to. Maintain at least 1.5 meters apart from others. Up to 200 people are allowed to meet outdoors in a public space.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Hospitality and retail venues are allowed to reopen, subject to strict capacity limits. You may be required to submit your contact details so that businesses may keep a record of your visit. This may be done electronically or via QR codes.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you may travel within Victoria.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Most businesses are allowed to reopen, subject to strict capacity limits. You may be required to submit your contact details so that businesses may keep a record of your visit. This may be done electronically or via QR codes.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the Victoria state government website. 

Western Australia

Is it safe to travel within Australia — Western Australia
Image by M.Fildza Fadzil via Unsplash

⚠️ Western Australia is currently under an extended State of Emergency. Restrictions are in place until at least May 21, 2021. This period may be extended depending on the situation. Click here to stay informed of further extensions.

Can I enter Western Australia from another state?

Travelers may enter Western Australia, subject to where they have come from and who they have had contact within the last 14 days prior to travel. They must complete a G2G PASS declaration in advance prior to entry.

When do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are mandatory on public transportation, at airports, on flights, and at certain facilities such as health care facilities.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

You must adhere to the one person per two square meter rule. There are different capacity limits for different types of venues; click here to learn more.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. Restaurants, cafes, bars, and food courts are permitted to reopen, subject to capacity limits. You will be required to submit your contact information upon visiting the premises, either via paper-based formats or digitally using the SafeWA app. Businesses may refuse to let you enter if they are unable to collect your details.

How far can I travel within my state?

Travel within Western Australia is permitted, except to certain remote Aboriginal communities that may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. Businesses remain open, subject to capacity limits and social distancing protocols. You will be required to submit your contact information upon entry for mandatory contact tracing. Many attractions have implemented safety requirements. 

For example, Perth Zoo has the following safety regulations in place:

  • Mandatory contact tracing applies — you are encouraged to download the SafeWA app and scan the QR Code to check-in
  • Physical distancing signage for one-way traffic flow and capacity limits in assigned areas
  • Increased cleaning throughout the premises with a focus on high-contact surfaces and high-traffic areas
  • Pre-purchased online tickets are encouraged instead of over-the-counter tickets

Outdoor parks, such as the popular Kings Park, have increased the cleaning schedule of public restrooms. Anyone feeling unwell is encouraged to avoid playgrounds and shops on the premises.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the Western Australia state government website.

South Australia

Is it safe to travel within Australia — South Australia
Image by Ryan from Pexels

Can I enter South Australia from another state?

Travelers to South Australia must complete the Cross Border Travel Registration form prior to travel.

When do I need to wear a mask? 

Masks are not mandatory for the general community at this time but is recommended.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

Venues must not exceed the capacity of one person per two square meters. Private functions can host up to 200 people, while gatherings at private residences are limited to 50 people.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. Restaurants, cafes, bars, and food courts are permitted to reopen, subject to the one person per two square meter rule within venues. You will be required to submit your contact information, either via paper-based formats or digitally using the COVID SAfe Check-In.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you can travel within South Australia. However, there may be temporary restrictions to visiting remote Aboriginal communities.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. Businesses and tourist attractions remain open, subject to capacity limits and safety protocols outlined in a COVID-Safe Plan. You will be required to submit your contact information upon entry for mandatory contact tracing. Many venues now encourage visitors to adhere to their safety requirements.

For example, Adelaide Central Market urges its customers to keep the following in mind: 

  • Use card instead of cash, where possible
  • Use bags to pick up produce
  • Avoid picking up products that you don’t intend on purchasing
  • Nominate one member per household to do the shopping — avoid visiting in groups

South Australia’s iconic holiday island, Kangaroo Island, is also open. Visitors are recommended to adhere to social distancing measures, practice good hygiene, and check-in at venues when asked to do so by business vendors.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the South Australia state government website.

Tasmania

Can I travel in Tasmania?
Image by Tamara Thurman via Unsplash

Can I enter Tasmania from another state?

Travelers to Tasmania will need to provide contact and travel details before entering the state. This can be done through Tas e-Travel (if coming from low-risk areas) or G2G PASS submissions (if coming from medium-risk and high-risk areas).

Travelers who have spent time in a high-risk area within the last 14 days prior to travel may not be permitted to enter Tasmania unless approved as an Essential Traveler. 

When do I need to wear a mask?

Wearing a mask remains mandatory in any Tasmanian airport and when on domestic commercial flights.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

Capacity limits at gatherings and venues remain at one person per two square meters of available space, with a cap of 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises and 1,000 people outdoor spaces. Where practical, you should maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from others.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. Restaurants, cafes, bars, and food courts are permitted to reopen, subject to the one person per two square meter rule within venues and the capacity limits set out above. If you plan on staying within a venue for at least 15 minutes, you will be required to submit your contact information, either electronically via the Check In Tas app or through a paper-based record, for mandatory contact tracing.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you can travel within Tasmania.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. All attractions are permitted to reopen, subject to capacity limits. As with restaurants and hospitality venues, you will be required to submit your contact information upon entry for mandatory contact tracing. Many attractions have implemented safety requirements.

For example, the large venue of Salamanca Market has made official entry and exit points for those visiting the premises. Visitors are encouraged not to touch fresh produce and products and to ask traders for help instead. Contactless payments are also highly encouraged, and volunteers have been employed to patrol the market and maintain the safety of both patrons and traders.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the Tasmania state government website.

Northern Territory

Northern Territory
Image by Pat Josse via Pixabay

Can I enter the Northern Territory from another state?

Travelers to the Northern Territory will need to complete a border entry form. Anyone arriving from an identified active COVID-19 hotspot is advised to cancel their travel plans or they may have to undergo 14 days mandatory supervised quarantine at their own expense.

When do I need to wear a mask? 

You must wear a mask at all major Northern Territory airports and while onboard a commercial domestic flight. Masks are not currently mandatory in other situations.

Is there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

There are currently no limits, but you are encouraged to maintain physical distancing.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. Restaurants, cafes, bars, and food courts are permitted to reopen, subject to COVID-19 Safety Plan directions. You may be required to submit your contact information upon entry for mandatory contact tracing, either via the Territory Check In app or through a paper-based record.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you can travel within the Northern Territory.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. Most entertainment venues and attractions remain open. Visitors are encouraged to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene while on the premises. Many businesses are committed to ensuring the safety of their visitors.

For example, Alice Springs Desert Park has employed the following safety protocols:

  • Added signage at the front entrance and throughout the Desert Park on handwashing, hygiene, and coughing etiquette 
  • Ensure all public and staff areas are cleaned daily, including toilets, administration areas, and at high-touch points 
  • Hand sanitizer is made available in key areas across the Desert Park
  • Ensure the entry ticketing desk is cleaned every hour, including cash registers, pens, and screens
  • Ensure face-to-face periods during guided tours are limited to 15 minutes. 

While national parks, such as Kakadu National Park and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, remain a safer space for travel due to its nature as an outdoor destination, it is still important to keep social distancing in mind.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the Northern Territory government website.

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra
Image by Social Estate via Unsplash

Can I enter the Australian Capital Territory from another state?

Travelers may enter the Australian Capital Territory. Check for updated directives here.

When do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are mandatory for people aged 12 and over while inside Canberra Airport and on domestic commercial flights. Masks are not currently mandatory in other situations.

Are there social distancing and capacity limits for gatherings?

You are encouraged to keep 1.5 meters from other people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to one person per two square meters, with a cap of 500 people.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe, bar, or food court?

Yes. Restaurants, cafes, bars, and food courts are permitted to open, subject to the one person per two square meter rule within venues, with a cap of 25 people across the entire venue. You will be required to submit your contact information upon entry for mandatory contact tracing, either through the Check In CBR app, through an alternative electronic record-keeping method, or through a paper-based record.

How far can I travel within my state?

There are no restrictions on the distance you can travel within the Australian Capital Territory.

Are cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries, galleries, and other attractions open?

Yes. Entertainment venues and attractions remain open as long as they follow the COVID Safety Plan. All businesses must ensure strict safety regulations are in place. These include:

  • Ensuring appropriate cleaning and sanitizing practices and supplies are maintained
  • Displaying clear signage regarding occupancy allowances at venue entrances
  • Complying with contact detail collection protocols
  • Ensuring appropriate physical distancing measures are in place

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the Australian Capital Territory government website. 

Know of more protocols that answer the question “is it safe to travel within Australia?” Share them with us. Traveling elsewhere? Remember to bookmark our handy resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, to remain up-to-date with regulations around the world.

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