Riding in the border bubble

Looking towards Wollumbin along Terranora Inlet

Like most things, the absence of something makes its presence more apparent. Before the pandemic brought us border closures and travel permits, I travelled over the Queensland border into NSW often. Mostly by bicycle, and most weeks. The Tweed River with its flood plains and coastal creeks and green hills are part of my extended neighbourhood. They take me to quieter places and dilute the residual busyness of life on the Gold Coast. When the border closure happened on March 26th and the weeks and months passed by, I realised how much I missed my green caldera.

Crossing the border was permitted for essential activities such as work trips, medical appointments, or family responsibilities. None of my usual excursions over the border could be considered ‘essential’. They were all simply for enjoyment. So north of the border I stayed.

But then the border bubble began. From 1am on August 8th, the Queensland/NSW border opened to residents of a strict list of postcodes – from Beenleigh in the north to Ocean Shores in NSW – for travel within that border zone. The proviso is that we apply for a permit as border bubble residents. And that’s been easy enough to do. The permit only lasts a week but the application processes in minutes.

With this change, those of us living in this bubble can cross the border for any reason. Simply for enjoyment is reason enough.

I haven’t ventured far though. Not like I normally would. No trips yet to Kingscliff or Tumbulgum or Pottsville. I think I’ve been waiting to feel comfortable that things are settling. And perhaps they are now.

Next week from 1am on October 1st, the border bubble will burst. What will remain is a border zone in NSW that extends further south to Byron Bay. This change means any Queensland resident can travel over the border into the NSW border zone for any reason. And residents in the NSW border zone can travel anywhere in Queensland for any purpose.

Simply for enjoyment is reason enough. So that means I’ll be on my bike. Somewhere in my green caldera.

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