WA2021: Plans Thwarted

Bungle Bungles, Purnululu National Park, taken during my 2017 road trip

What makes a good plan is flexibility. When your plans are thwarted you should have at least one contingency – this is a position in which we now find ourselves.

In 2017, I was invited to join another photographer as co-driver on a five week road trip to the Kimberley that was being organised for about nine vehicles. Needless to say, I didn’t have to be asked twice – it was a great opportunity to see the Australia that exists beyond the main cities.

Note: this post was first published on 27 May

This photographic journey only served to whet my appetite to see more of this vast and diverse country in which we live.

During my camping trip to Tasmania over Christmas 2019, the seed of an idea for a return trip started to grow, resulting in a plan for a much longer and extensive trip around Australia during 2020, but for obvious reasons this was postponed. Undeterred, planning went ahead for a three-month trip through Alice Springs, up to the Kimberley, down the west coast of WA and home via the Nullarbor.

With a target departure date of Saturday 5 June 2021, K and I were well ahead with our preparation in anticipation of last-minute work commitments for both of us:

  • Itinerary finalised
  • Campgrounds booked
  • Food bought and packed
  • Safety gear purchased

Throughout our planning, the risk of Covid 19 border closures and lockdowns was always at the back of our minds, but we felt confident that the experts and decision makers would have our backs. Little did we realise that, once again, they were to let the whole state down with a further lockdown and our plans have been thwarted.

I spent Tuesday 25 May in Melbourne as a tender panel member listening to a series of service provider tender presentations and K had her usual Tuesday in the city office. On the way home in the train, it was becoming clearer that the small outbreak that started a couple of weeks ago was getting larger, so we decided to use Wednesday to get all the last-minute preparation done so that we could make a dash for the border on Thursday in the event that South Australia decided to totally close the border. At this stage it was only closed to residents of Greater Melbourne and being located in a regional town we felt reasonably secure.

But this changed on Wednesday evening when SA announced the border would be closed at midnight to anyone who had been in the Greater Melbourne area. Too late for us to get out of the state! Our fall back was to still leave on the 5th, head for the border and wait for its opening. Then the next hurdle – a seven day state wide lockdown.

With NSW and QLD borders still open, planning our escape via those states went ahead, until, of course, QLD closed their borders mid-afternoon.

So, here we were, stuck in limbo, knowing that the first stages of our itinerary are stuffed and not knowing when we might get away. At least we had a couple of contingency plans ready for whichever border opens first.

We, of course, are not alone and I am sure there are many who are in worse situations than us, but that does little to temper the frustration and annoyance resulting from a situation that, in my opinion, could have been avoided by early and decisive action when the first few cases were identified.

The first few bookings have now been cancelled, packed boxes and bags are being unpacked and the fridge is being re-stocked for the next week or so.

Oh well, maybe I will get the back fence painted, provided the rain stays away and sights like this will have to wait:

Dillie Gorge, Charnley River Station (off the Gibb River Road), taken during my 2017 road trip

I wonder how you are coping with last minute changes to your plans if they are impacted by Covid 19? Let me know below.

2 Responses

  1. Supposed to have been in Griffiths this weekend but even though regional Victoria is open, and border crossing over to NSW is possible, restrictions in place according to Internet so abandoned that plan. Luxury escapes have credited our monies for use at any time.
    This coming week should be reasonably quiet for travelling around the state.
    Painting the back fence sounds most therapeutic.

  2. My escape from the State of Collapse us now being rescheduled. I hope to have my second jab..and take to the air for the Gold Coast to relax and, hopefully get some sunshine. All being well, I’ll then bus to Brizzy and see if my old friends and relations want to meet a refugee from Dan’s Covid Kingdom

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