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Now is the time to plan a 4x4 trip

By Matt Raudonikis, 01 May 2020 Opinion

Opinion 4x4 trip planning feature

Crack open some maps and travel guides, and plan a post-lockdown trip.

Christ, there’s nothing worse than being cooped up at home as the cool weather comes in and you’re thinking about desert expeditions, snow drives or getting to the Top End. But that’s what we’re faced with now until all this coronavirus brouhaha is done with.

The Kakadu story in the May 2020 issue was meant to reflect just that – escaping the cold for a Top End adventure – but Kakadu, like most national parks in the country, is closed to visitors and you couldn’t get there if you wanted to.

Likewise, our annual Gear Guide was pulled forward for 2020 and came out at the start of April in preparedness for the outback touring season, but guess what? No one’s going outback touring this winter. Even all the events we had earmarked for the Travel Bulletin pages have been cancelled or postponed with faint hopes of being run later in the year.

While we moan and groan about not being able to get out and about, there are a lot of folks out there who are being affected much worse than us. Closed parks, blocked borders and cancelled events mean that a lot of people in the tourism and hospitality businesses are losing their money-making months – even if this is all over in six months, it’s effectively wiped the year’s earnings from these people.

Business will be closing down and people losing their jobs because others can’t get out and about touring the country. The communities that copped the bushfires have taken a double whammy as they were counting on travellers returning to their villages and spending money to help them get back on top of things.

The best thing we can do for now is stay at home and away from others as that seems to be the way to stop the virus spreading, and use the time to plan your next adventure.

Get the maps out, read some travel stories, do your research and map out a plan to break free once we’re all allowed to. And when you’re planning, consider those towns, businesses and folks in the bush who have lost more than just a bit of freedom because of the virus, and plan to visit their towns, drink in their pubs, use the tour guides, and stock up on supplies, so hopefully they’ll still be there the next time we want to visit.

If you’re still able to read this and plan trips, there are others who are far worse off. Think about how we might be able to help them get back in business.

Get the latest updates on Coronavirus travel restrictions here