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Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula National Park
Photograph: Parks Victoria

Day trips from Melbourne – here’s what you can and can’t do

The restrictions have changed. Here’s what that means for Victorian day trips

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After what feels like millennia being confined to our homes, lockdown restrictions have started to ease in Victoria. As of May 13, what we are and aren’t allowed to do – and where we’re allowed to go – has changed. Click through here to read the latest

The Victorian government has published a thorough guide to the gradual easing of restrictions which we urge everyone to read if you have any questions. One part of the eased restrictions that many people are still asking questions about is day trips around Victoria.

Government guidance states that Victorians can take part in recreational activities with up to ten people, but what does this mean for day trips? Do you need to be taking part in an "activity" for it to be considered OK?

Technically, yes. You still need a purpose for travelling outside your home, and it needs to be one of the five reasons – work, exercise, medical care, essential shopping and social visitations. 

Exercise is pretty broad, but we’re taking that to mean anything from walks to running to boot camps (with under ten people) plus recreational activities that the Department of Health and Human Services has mentioned, including hiking, fishing, boating, gold prospecting (!) and hunting. There isn’t a comprehensive list of what is considered a recreational activity but the rule is that you are allowed to do an activity only if you can keep 1.5 metres apart from others, you are doing it in a public space, and you can do it with a maximum of ten people. 

Bushwalking and hiking are allowed at a number of reopened national parks and state parks around Victoria. Snow sports are allowed to continue, but the shared use of equipment should be minimised (sharing helmets, goggles and masks is a big no-no) and you can only go there for a day trip, not an overnight stay.

Overnight stays, whether in friends’ homes, Airbnbs, tents – basically anywhere that isn’t your regular bed – are very much NOT allowed right now. The rules state that “Victorians shouldn’t be taking holidays currently, even within Victoria”. So basically, you can go for a drive but it’s best to stay local and only go to places where you can drive there and back within a day. Where possible, driving with people who you don’t live with should be avoided.

What about visiting friends and family interstate? Well, there aren’t any restrictions on leaving or entering Victoria at this time, but the DHHS is asking Victorians to make sure their travel is for one of the five reasons to leave your home (that is work, exercise, medical care, essential shopping and social visitations) and to keep it to a day trip unless you must stay overnight for work or caring purposes. But these rules only apply while in the state – read about how Victorians could soon visit NSW.

The advice from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services is that everyone should be using common sense when it comes to day trips. Remember to keep your distance from others and practice good hygiene. Only leave home if you really need to. For more information or clarification, visit Victoria’s DHHS website.

Though weekend breaks aren’t on the cards just yet, other states are slowly easing rules on this one, so it’s expected to happen soon. Just sit tight for now.

Melbourne's social distancing rules explained and how to go out right now.

Check out these Victorian natural wonders you can get to within a day.

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