Bushfires in the Whitsundays: Will my Tour be Affected?
Will my East Coast Tour Be Affected by the bushfires in Australia?
January 7, 2020
With the largest bushfire crisis in Australia in late 2019 and early 2020 underway, the world is watching the tragedy unfold as countless media outlets worldwide cover the unbelievable devastation Australia is facing. Travellers planning to visit Australia are concerned with the current state of the country and may be debating cancelling or postponing their East Coast travel plans. As locals on the ground on the East Coast, we’ve got updated information regarding which places you are still able to visit, well out of reach of the areas affected by fires.
Tourism Still Operating in Many areas
As an Australian owned and operated business, our hearts go out to the communities that have been affected by this mass scale devastation. In a press release, Tourism Australia expressed our sentiments and concerns perfectly:
‘Like all Australians, our sympathies go out to the families and communities who are impacted by the fires, and our gratitude grows stronger by the day for the front line services facing the fires head on.
Whilst bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected and most tourism businesses are still open. It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities and the tourism sector who may have been impacted.
We would encourage all travellers coming to Australia to seek the most up to date information prior to departure, and remain informed about changing conditions whilst on the ground.” - Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
For the full press release, click here.
Planning ahead for your Australia Trip
While bushfires have affected areas in New South Wales and Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, the tropical north is heading into our rainy season, thus eliminating the threat of bushfires during our summer months. If you have not yet booked your flights to destinations like the Whitsundays or Fraser Island, it is best to check which major city you will be flying out of. All domestic flights in the tropical north are still operating, however, you may find flight cancellations from affected areas such as Sydney or Melbourne.
Travel Insurance is Essential
This should sound like a no brainer, however, we can’t stress the importance of purchasing travel insurance prior to visiting Australia, especially given the current circumstances. For example, if you have tours booked in the Whitsundays, but are unable to get here due to flights being unable to depart Sydney and miss your tour, you will fall under the tour agency or operator’s cancellation policy, meaning you may not qualify for a refund. This is where travel insurance will be crucial to your travels, as they will cover circumstances pertaining to your whole trip, and not just one area. Be sure to ask your insurance provider what is covered in regards to the state of emergency in certain areas of Australia and that you read the fine print before purchasing coverage.
Are your East Coast Tours Affected?
The short answer is no, Queensland has had little to no consequences of the current bushfire crisis of 2020. Queensland has issued an open fire ban for the whole state at the time this article was written, so if you are planning on camping in the Whitsundays or on Fraser Island, you'll need to work out what is and isn't allowed. Read more about the fire ban here. For detailed information for the Whitsundays and Fraser Island specifically, read conditions below.
Fraser Island Tours
If you have booked a tour to Fraser Island, you can rest assured the island has not been affected. On the ground tour operators are keeping in touch with us daily on the circumstances involving access, air quality conditions, and bushfire threats. Access points from Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach are all open, and smoke from bushfires far south has not reached this far north, nor affected the visibility or air quality in the region. While some smaller bushfires are known to happen on the Fraser Coast this time of year, this is common and usually containable. Fraser Island gets scattered showers this time of year, reducing bushfire threat and making it’s many lakes and creeks a delightful experience during your stay. All tours are currently operating.
As the Whitsundays heads into its rainy season, bushfires are extremely uncommon and as of the time this article was written, there were no immediate threats to the region. Tropical North Queensland is beautiful during the summer months, with scattered showers keeping the rainforests lush and green. Creeks and waterfalls, such as Cedar Creek Falls are flowing in abundance, and are one of the best ways to cool down in the warm summer months. Book a sailing tour around the islands, visit the world-famous Whitehaven Beach or take in the scenery from one of our many hiking and bushwalking circuits. All tours are currently operating.
At of the time this article was written, there were no fires effecting any of our tours along the northeast coast of Australia. For current up to date information, you can utilise the Government’s live interactive fire map here. If you still have concerns about the conditions at any of the destinations of your tours, you can contact us via chat, and make sure you fully comprehend our cancellation policy, which you can read here.
How you can help
World leaders, charity organisations and celebrities are running to aid the people, animals and eco-systems being affected in record numbers, and you might be asking how you can help. There are many organisations accepting donations to help fight the current bushfires, as well as assist the communities and animals affected. Here are some links to places you can donate:
Our only hope in this time of crisis is that Australia will be able to bounce back from this devastating catastrophe, and we hope visitors to Australia will still enjoy their time here, safely and out of the dangerous areas down south. There is so much to see in this vast and diverse land, and you certainly won’t be missing out if you keep your plans to visit down under.
For more information on tours along the east coast, chat to our friendly locally based travel experts by chatting to us live, or free call 1 800 550 751 anywhere in Australia.