Tasmanian Governor: Tourists Out!

A friend of mine recently wrote me “Man plans, God laughs”. So very true. In the morning I wrote a blog called “Staying in Tasmania”, and in the evening we prepared for our journey back home to Israel.

The day started as a typical traveling day in Tasmania. We took the ferry to Bruny Island and had a wonderful time exploring (will blog about that in a different post). Late in the afternoon, we headed for the campsite we had reserved for the weekend. A few meters before the entrance to the campground was a small general store. Mark went in to buy last minute supplies, and while waiting, I hooked up to Wifi to check email and news.

Not in my worst doomsday scenario, could I have predicted the headline I saw: “Tasmanian Governor: All tourists must leave the island by Sunday”. The article said that he was very tearful in making the statement since Tasmania relies on tourism, but he must protect his own first.

Instead of continuing to the campground as planned, we made a u-turn and headed back to the ferry to return us to the mainland. We were in a bit of a shock – it was very unsettling to have our plans changed. Now there was no longer a choice – we needed to figure out how to get home.

Luckily, when I contacted the embassy yesterday, they gave me the name of a local travel agent who works with them, if I should ever need. Now I needed. I called Ruth, who took our information and said she would call back. Surprisingly, she called back just a few minutes later and told us she heard that El Al is considering another flight to Australia to pick up Israelis to bring home, and my best bet would be to try to get on that. She also suggested that we buy a ticket to Perth on the internet, not through her, so that we would be the main contact for the ticket.

Based on that information, we first started the process to get on the El Al flight. Our daughter in Israel contacted El Al and got us the necessary forms to send to the consulate. And in a manner, very non-characteristic to us, we even are using our connections to help us get on that plane. In the request for a seat we added that we are the in-laws of the Israeli economic attaché in South Africa, and mentioned a few names (given to us by our son-in-law) that they should recognize in the Israeli consulate in Australia.

We then went ahead and bought our tickets on-line to Perth – we are leaving here Sunday noon – and will wait in Perth for the El Al flight. If that does not work out, we will try different options to get home from Perth. We made arrangements to return the campervan early Sunday morning. We went to a 24/7 Kmart and bought new luggage. We called a couple in Hobart (someone in the synagogue in Melbourne recommended that if we ever need anything in Tasmania, we should contact them) and are meeting them tomorrow to give them all the extra items we will no longer need – such as Matza for Pesah that we brought here from Melbourne as well as all the groceries that we hoarded for our stay here. They also have a storage room in their house, and we will leave with them all the campervan stuff (pots, pans, down blanket, etc.) that does not fit into our two suitcases.

Since the campervan company will not refund our trip but will give us credit towards a new rental to be taken over the next three years, we hope to be back one day to pick up our things and see the many sights in Tasmania that we have not yet traveled to.

So, I started the day writing and am ending the day writing. It’s been a long day. Good night.

8 comments on “Tasmanian Governor: Tourists Out!Add yours →

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  1. I am so sorry that your long-planned adventure has ended so soon! I hope you both make it back to Israel smoothly and safely.

  2. So sorry that this happened!! On the other hand – you got to scout things out so that you’ll be even more prepared when you can do the trip (ok – you are the most prepared person I know so probably not… ) Safe travels!

  3. I’ll be happy to see you home! Australia will be there for when you return. Consider this your pilot trip. In any case, this has the makings of a great novel. Travel safe.

  4. I cannot believe it!!! Yikes! Coronasmania. The picture looks amazing. It will be your reminder that you need to go back. Just like the Olympics, I am sure you will be 2021, instead of 2020.

    Too bad we were using your home for בידוד–guess we need to clear out now 🙁