Our border crossing story (during Covid 19 pandemic — 2020)
Relocating from NSW to TAS
Little bit of background :
We are a working couple living in Sydney NSW. As you all know, due to Covid 19 restrictions almost all employees working in IT(and many other fields) were allowed to work from home. As of 2020 the only state we have travelled in Australia was New South Wales. But with the pandemic situation, we got an idea to work remotely from a different state (temporary) — Tasmania. The Secret wonderland of Australia, and a state we have never travelled before. Why Tasmania? We had plans to build our own house in Tasmania ( That didn’t work out well, but we never regret moving to Tasmania in terms of travelling).
This is our story on moving from NSW to TAS during Covid-19 pandemic and interstate border closure.
Planning to leave :
We planned the move during December holidays (it is common for many companies in Australia to give mandatory leave of 2–3 weeks for their employees). We sold almost all our furniture in Sydney. Ended rental agreement by 31st of December.
We were planning to cross the border by car — drive from NSW to VIC, Board to Ferry from VIC and land in Tasmania. By early December we were in the process of packing our bags to leave NSW and applying for rental properties in Tasmania
Australia was in a stable state and not many covid cases were reported. Everything looked moving smoothly.
Covid 19 cluster in Northern beaches Sydney
By mid December a new Covid 19 cluster reported in Sydney Northern beaches.
By the end of December covid patients in Sydney started to grow. Almost all states including Victoria and Tasmania closed borders to all NSW travellers.
Some travellers were allowed to travel inter-state with mandatory quarantine conditions.
Due to border restrictions, all our rental property applications were rejected in Tasmania ☹️ . As the current home we had in NSW had already found a new tenant, we had no option but to leave by 31st of December 2020.
A temporary home in between states
Both VIC and TAS borders had one common condition for people travelling from NSW. That is anyone who has been outside greater Sydney for 14 days is allowed to enter VIC or TAS without any quarantine condition.
With that in mind we booked a motel in Albury, a border town on the NSW (most importantly it is a town outside greater Sydney 😏) border for 2 weeks (i.e. 14 days !!!😇)
We left our home in Sydney 31st December 2020 and arrived in Albury. 2 weeks of our December vacation was spent at Albury. It was our temporary home and we had no permanent address.
We made sure not to travel outside Albury during those 14 days and collected all evidence (motel booking confirmation, restaurant receipts, fuel receipts etc) to prove that we stayed in Albury for 14 days. (Because without those evidence, we could not provide that we stayed in the border town as our photo ids included addresses from Sydney.)
But the border restrictions were updating each day with the number of covid patients going up in Sydney.
That vacation was the most stressful vacation we have spent so far 😔. Each day we had 2 main jobs — applying for a rental property in Tasmania and calling the VIC and TAS border and explaining our situation and applying for a permit.
TAS border restrictions were pretty much stable and they were ok to welcome us , given that we had spent 14 days outside of greater Sydney.
But for us, we had to cross the NSW-VIC border. VIC border restrictions had no explanation for travellers transiting through VIC but not staying in the state till 7th of January 2021. Finally after 7 days of waiting we finally got a permit to enter VIC and board the Tasmania ferry (Transit only).
In the meantime we found a rental property near Launceston, but we managed to get time before signing any agreement, till we boarded the ferry. (always work safe 🧐 )
Early morning 15th of January we left Albury and crossed the VIC border. We were questioned for around 10 min by officers, but finally allowed to cross the VIC border.
Making the big move
As soon as we boarded the ferry we signed our lease agreement for a property in Tasmania, which will be our home for the next 6–8 months. We landed in Devonport 15th January 2021. After 2 weeks of struggling with border restrictions, we finally arrived at our home.
Well we did it 🥳. It was never an easy move, but now after 5 months living and travelling in Tasmania, I believe it is totally worth it.