It’s ‘Freedom Day’ in NSW, but will van parks be busy?

Published: October 11, 2021

With 70% of its adult population now fully vaccinated, today is so-called Freedom Day in New South Wales and, after an horrific few months, caravan parks and camping grounds are welcoming travellers again.

While movement between the areas around Sydney and regional NSW is still not allowed, that will change when the fully vaccinated rates hit 80%, probably in a couple of weeks’ time.

Of course, this has been an incredibly tough time for caravan parks and all tourism-dependent businesses.

And simply being able to open again isn’t an instant fix.

Barry and Di O’Connor run the Tenterfield Lodge and Caravan Park in NSW’s New England region.

“Currently the phones are quiet and we feel that many New South Wales people are waiting to see what happens as the state opens up,” said Barry. “Many would, of course, be concerned with the possibility that they could be caught up in a lockdown if one occurs.”

However, Barry remains upbeat.

“With NSW regional residents who are now fully vaccinated able to travel within all of regional NSW, we believe that there will be an increase in bookings over the next few months,” he said.

For the O’Connors, the Covid restrictions has just been one of many challenges they have faced in the past couple of years. Others have included drought, bushfire, water contamination, and mouse plague.

However, it is the NSW lockdowns and the Queensland border closure that has been having the biggest impact on the park’s bookings and its bottom line.

“In the last two months alone our income has been down over 50%,” said Barry. “We have been assisted with grants from the Federal and NSW governments that has allowed us to stay open and also to keep us afloat.”

After such a rough period the O’Connors are finally daring to dream of brighter times ahead, and they will be doing all they can not to put that future in jeopardy.

“Only guests who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to stay in our park,” said Barry. “The same for anyone who needs to enter the park including tradies etc and, of course, all of our staff are fully vaccinated and we are following Covid regulations to the letter.”

  • Are you in New South Wales? Are you heading straight back out on the road or are you biding your time to see how things play out over coming weeks? Comment below.
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We are from Sydney and planning to head south when 80% vaccination allows regional travel. We feel being outdoors is a safe way to travel and hope most people will still be a little cautious when shopping etc. we would be happier staying in parks who require their guests to be vaccinated

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