NewsCOVID? What COVID?! Australians are on the road (and rail and airlines) again
COVID? What COVID?! Australians are on the road (and rail and airlines) again

COVID? What COVID?! Australians are on the road (and rail and airlines) again

Like a fair number of Australians, judging by the queues leaving Sydney airport, I have taken to the skies to return to Europe after a four-year break.

And the good news is that all things to do with COVID seem to have been cast into the past. And pleasure is back on the agenda (that’s me pictured with a couple of former school chums in Dorset).

On planes, trains, and buses, masks have been largely absent, even if sometimes required. The bug barely rates a mention in conversation.

PM Albanese is due to discuss changing Australia’s isolation requirements with the states today, such as masks on public transport.

I’ve been to Switzerland, Ireland, Wales and England, which all had their own rules and regulations during COVID. Apart from some faded signs on shop doors, there’s little evidence it ever happened. 


After a three-day wedding in Eire with one-time FiftyUp colleague David Liston, I woke up with a terrible cough and sore throat and feared for the worst.

Fortunately, my faith in four vaccinations and a negative RAT test suggested it was more due to singing and dancing over prolonged periods than any pandemic.

One of the great pleasures of this trip, in some ways enforced by the steep cost of a hire car, has been to use the splendid public transport options.

I’d expected to stay in Zurich for my Swiss stopover, at least that’s what the online booking said. It was my mistake not checking enough through not travelling recently. My accommodation was 50km out of town!

But no problem, thanks to a pretty ferry ride south on Lake Zurich and a high-speed train back to the airport. Not to mention swimming in the warm lake and walking in the nearby hills.

In Ireland, the coach service came into its own, and a ferry across the Irish Sea to Fishguard in Wales was not without its charm either. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon, as there are a few more days to go…

But the English trains (I am on one of them now while writing this) have so far been a treat. Clean, fast, uncrowded and thanks to a seniors’ railcard for the over-sixties, pretty good value too.

How have your overseas travels gone? Was it great to get away, or did some of the bad news over the past two years in some way follow you?

Let us know about your recent travel experiences, especially if there was a surprise, pleasant or otherwise, to share.

Or are you still not ready to take the leap?

Originally posted on .

Join the conversation

FiftyUp Club
COVID? What COVID?! Australians are on the road (and rail and airlines) again

Share your views with other members. 

Want to leave a comment? or .
Read our moderation policy here.
Someone from NSW commented:

We have just returned from a 3-month trip, beginning in Bali in May, where we found it to be very quiet with not many places open. The Balinese people were so grateful to have us return. Next, off to UK to see our daughter and her family for 1 month. Managed to get around a fair bit, including a week down and around Cornwall. No problem with masks so far. USA next to visit our son and his family Leaving Heathrow was a treat!!😳 It took us 1 1/2 hours to get through immigration. People were videoing the line as it was insane!!! And hardly anyone wore masks!!! Same on the plane, very few masks. Three days into our lovely holiday, during which we cuddled our family constantly (including a new baby) John was feeling a little unwell. Sure enough, he tested positive to COVID. I took the test, even though I had no symptoms. I also tested positive. Miraculously none of them contracted the disease. We had to wear masks on the planes on our trip home. Next, the Kimberley for an outback tour. Masks had to be worn on all flights as well as whenever we were in the tour bus. On the Kimberley tour, we had the most amazing time. It was a sensational experience that I can highly recommend. We went with KOT and can’t speak highly enough of the company and especially the tour guides. John and I had visited the Kimberley in 2019 and had spent 5 1/2 months travelling around Australia. Even though we had visited some of the places on the tour, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The ultimate highlight was the Horizontal Falls, where we stayed overnight on the houseboat- a fantastic experience! We were fortunate to gain an extra 1/2 day as Broome was fogged in and the seaplanes couldn’t get out to pick us up. The staff at Horizontal Falls took great care of us, providing a delicious lunch and 3 additional cruises. What a place to be stranded!! We had so many wonderful experiences on this tour. Overall, a sensational 3 months which we will remember forever. 

Robert from NSW commented:

Maybe next year Christopher. The pandemic isn't over yet. Planning to go back to the UK again, but at 75 have no desire to become a statistic. It's a sad state of affairs when illness, hospitalisation and death due to a pandemic are no longer of any significance. And the airline prices......................I'll be booking 11 months in advance. 

Sylvia from QLD commented:

Sounds like an epic trip. Lovely. We’ve had a bit of fun with our agent and Japan. Sold accommodation in Japan when it’s not open and still waiting for that to be refunded. Found out very last minute that we needed a booster as our vaccinations would be too old to allow us into Canada. But it’s not put any dampener on our excitement to ge able to, reasonably freely, be able to get out and about again. Can you tell me where you got the Snr Rail pass from please? Interested in one of those for the UK for 5 days. Cheers, Sylvia 

Comment Guidelines