After seven weeks of progressively stricter regulations around social movement in Australia, some states are starting to see enough progress to start lifting some restrictions and slowly move to a new, but somewhat familiar, “normal.”

States and territories in Australia have imposed their own regulations and, with the COVID-19 threat taking different paces across these jurisdictions, restrictions are also being lifted in a similar manner. Some governments have kept all their restrictions in place while others have wound back their measures extensively.

While inter-state travel is still off the cards, it is important to be aware of the internal restrictions placed on your state of residence. We have suggested a few fun things to do in your home state that comply with current restrictions.

Rules and regulations surrounding COVID-19 are changing rapidly, so be sure to check with your local authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Here is what you can and can’t do in each state as of the week of May 12.

Northern Territory

  • No person limit for outdoor activities or household visits
  • Recreational activities such as fishing, camping and non-contact sport are permitted
  • Dining, bars, shopping, beauty parlours etc are now able to reopen with a two hour time limit for guests
  • While Kakadu, Uluru and Nitmiluk remain shut. The government has released this list of parks and outdoor areas that Territorians are now able to access
  • No further limit on wedding or funeral attendance
  • Playgrounds and schools reopening
  • State border restrictions staying in place for the time being

HE suggests: Taking a packed picnic to your favourite local park and spending some quality time with your loved ones in the fresh air. We recommend finding a park with BBQ options for a fun day out.

Western Australia

  • The two person rule has been relaxed to a 10 person rule for indoor gatherings and will increase to 20 people for outdoor gatherings on the 18th of May
  • Group exercise may resume, so long as social distancing is maintained
  • Some recreational activities may be resumed such as picnics, barbeques, sailing, camping
  • Pubs and Cafes may reopen to 20 patrons - you may only order drinks with a meal
  • State border is closed to all non-WA residents, unless for essential travel
  • Western Australia has been divided into four regions, with any cross region travel deemed non-essential resulting in fines

HE Suggests: Grab some friends and find a local socially distanced group exercise class so you can catch up while keeping active. Grab a takeaway coffee afterward from a local cafe to support your favorite small business.


  • You may now leave your home for recreational purposes, which includes going for a drive up to a distance of 50km from your place of residence (will extend to 150km from May 16)
  • However, the state borders are still closed to all non-residents unless you have a QLD registration on your vehicle alongside a permit
  • Any essential entry into the state will acquire a 14-day quarantine
  • You may visit these national parks
  • From May 16, 10 people can gather outdoor or within a cafe/restaurant
  • Shopping is resumed for non-essential items
  • Outings limited to members of the same household and one other

HE Suggests: Take your household members out for some fresh air. Take a drive to a local walking trail (within 50km from your home) that you have not been to before. Enjoy a view other than the four walls of your home and recharge by picking up some takeaway on your way home.

New South Wales

  • No state border restrictions to date
  • Local and regional travel discouraged
  • Groups of 5 people (including children) may now visit friends or family in their homes
  • Access to some initially closed beaches (Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama, Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra) is now permitted, but only for swimming and surfing purposes
  • Cafe's and restaurants are able to open with 10 person capacity with four square metre ruling

HE Suggests: Organise a dinner party with two-five friends or another couple and cook a cuisine or dish you haven't tried before. Set the mood with some local music from that region and a fun board game to play.

South Australia

  • Public gatherings for up to 10 people
  • State borders still closed to non-residents
  • Household visits may hold up to 10 people
  • Pubs and Cafes may open to 10 patrons - seated outdoors, with no alcohol

HE Suggests: Exercise is strongly encouraged during the quarantine period. Pick a new spot to walk to each day and grab a coffee from a different local cafe on each walk you take— you may even find your new favourite brew that you never knew about.


  • Similar to New South Wales, state borders are not closed. However, restrictions on travel within the state is still for essential purposes only and can be defined here
  • Spending the night outside your home discouraged (partners homes are exempt)
  • 10 people may gather outdoors
  • Up to 5 people may visit you in your home

HE Suggests: Can’t take a day trip to the local wineries? Create a winery tour in your own home! Guide your loved ones through a sip of your favourite Shiraz in the kitchen, a fruity Rose in the dining room, a timeless Sauvignon Blanc in the backyard and finish up with a delicious dessert wine in the living room. Don’t like wine? Try a “beer garden” approach— or even delicious smoothies!


  • You may have up to 5 guests in your home
  • Public gatherings have been increased to 10 people from May 18
  • Pubs and Cafes may host up to 10 patrons
  • You may exercise up to 30km from your home

HE Suggests: Host a Netflix party! Download the Netflix party extension and invite some friends to watch the same movie in sync so you can debrief on all the best (and worst!) parts. Give your party attendees some notice so you can all stock up on your favourite snacks.

Australian Capital Territory

  • You may host up to 10 people in your home
  • Social outdoor gatherings may also have up to 10 people (including exercise classes)
  • Pubs and cafes will reopen to 10 patrons from May 16
  • According to the ACT Government website, Canberrans are required to only travel intra state within the ACT for these essential reasons

HE Suggests: Spend an afternoon making cards or drawing for those who are in local nursing homes or hospitals. Put a smile one someone else’s face and let your artsy side out! This is a great one for those with kids looking to get creative.

Home exchanges in Australia