The bushfire season may be coming to an end, but is it safe to go to Australia? The short answer is: yes. Only three per cent of the country’s land mass has been affected by the deadly bushfires that began in earnest in November, and most tourist destinations are ‘not impacted’, according to Tourism Australia.
‘There is no longer smoke being seen in the cities that were affected by it — particularly Sydney and Melbourne,’ said the spokesman. Yet a complete all-clear has not been given, and some bushfires are still burning. So far, the fires — brought on by record-breaking temperatures — have resulted in the loss of at least 33 lives.
An estimated 72,000 sq miles of land have been affected; about the size of Syria. Here’s our guide to visiting in the aftermath of the disaster.
Back in business: According to Tourism Australia, most Australian tourist destinations are not impacted by bushfires. Pictured is Uluru rock and Kylie Minogue, who was heartbroken by the fires
Anywhere I should avoid?
About half of Kangaroo Island in South Australia — a popular destination with beaches, vineyards and wildlife tours — continues to be ‘partially impacted’, says Tourism Australia, which lists all the areas affected across the country on its website: australia.com/en-gb/travel-alerts/bushfire-information.html.
But visits to the unaffected part of the island are still safe. For more information see tourkangarooisland.com.au/kangaroo-island-fires.
Elsewhere, mainstream tourist spots are fine, although it is worth checking local bushfire information. The Tourism Australia website provides links to individual states.
Any precautions to take?
If you are driving to remote spots, be extra cautious and check latest fire information on websites — most of which are updated live. It is also a good idea to outline your movements to hotels/accommodation providers; locals should be well informed.
Also, monitor television news, listen to radio reports and check social media.
What’s Australia’s emergency number?
This is ‘000’ — and you should dial it straight away in the unlikely event of being in trouble.
The stunning West Bay on Kangaroo Island. About half of Kangaroo Island in South Australia continues to be ‘partially impacted’ by the fires. But visits to the unaffected part of the island are still safe
What if I am going camping or bushwalking?
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (rfs.nsw.gov.au) has helpful tips including packing first-aid provisions and mobile phone chargers.
What about air quality?
At the peak of the bushfires in January, air quality was considered ‘hazardous’ in some places including Canberra, Australia’s capital.