COVID-19: What it means for Outdoor Recreation

April 8, 2020 | Category =

[Updated 8 April 2020]

During this time of uncertainty, GSCORE recognizes that the outdoors can provide many people with a place to get away from feelings of anxiety, stress and concern.

Whilst there have been clear and direct guidelines from the government on sporting associations and indoor leisure activities such as gyms and yoga centres, the information in relation to Outdoor Recreation may be confusing, particularly for individuals that are not associated with a club.

At GSCORE we want to support our local clubs, community groups and public in accessing the most up to date information possible, so we have compiled the advice from state and national peak bodies and key members from the outdoor recreation industry. These will continue to be updated as frequently as possible, but you should refer to the relevant association’s website (listed below) for the most up to date information.

Where can I find information about the COVID-19 situation?

You can find the most up to date advice on COVID-19 on the Western Australian  Government website and the Federal Department of Health website.

Can I continue to take part in outdoor recreation?

Yes, you can continue to take part in Outdoor Recreation, and you should keep doing it. It has positive influences on mind and body. You should however follow the guidelines set out by the heath department. This includes social distancing.

  • Individuals and their family members who reside together should continue their active leisure routines while practicing social distancing, and in accordance with the laws regarding self-isolation (if required). This means parents and children can go out together (i.e. a single parent with 2 or more children; or two parents and 2 or more children; etc).
  • Individuals who live alone or don’t have anyone else to go with them can meet with one other person for the purpose of undertaking active leisure – i.e. going for a walk, run, ride. HOWEVER, it is important to practice social distancing and leave at least 1.5m between yourself and your friend.
  • Do not to leave your home if you are in self-isolation or exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Exercise common-sense when recreating outdoors. If you go to a park or reserve and there are lots of people there, choose another trail to go for a walk. If you go surfing and there are more than 2 people on your favourite surf break, find another spot to hit the water. The government will not hesitate to close down areas where people flout the law in relation to social distancing.
  • The nature of most outdoor recreation activities mean that in many situations you will be further away than the recommended 1.5m distance from others – but exercise caution at squeeze points on trails, and entry and exit from the waters edge, etc.
Where can I get specific advice about my recreation activity?

We recommend that you follow the specific advice of your club’s state sporting association or peak body.

GSCORE will provide more information as it is received from other associations. If you have any further enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Should I go on a long-distance hike or bike ride?

No. The WA government has now imposed restrictions on inter-regional travel. Reconsider the need to travel away from home for long periods. Please comply with the new travel restrictions, which requests Australians to avoid non-essential travel (including intrastate).

Can I go on an overnight hike on the Bibbulmun Track?

All Bibbulmun Track Huts are now closed. Walkers on the track must make arrangements to return home as soon as possible.

Can I go on an overnight ride on the Munda Biddi Trail?

All Munda Biddi Trail Huts are now closed. Cyclists on the trail must make arrangements to return home as soon as possible.

Where can I go?

Most DBCA managed national parks and reserves are currently open for use by visitors at this time, aside from some sites within parks that would normally receive high numbers of visitors. However, visitors must heed the new intraregional travel. Most recreation reserves managed by local governments are also open. There may be temporary restrictions in place, and you should seek advice at

If I need to self-isolate or quarantine, can I do this in a park campground or on a trail?

No. If you are required to self-isolate you must follow Department of Health instructions and remain self-isolated at home, in a hotel room or other accommodation even if you have no symptoms.

Can I go camping in National Parks and Reserves?

Many camp grounds are now closing. Seek advise from local land managers. The following advice applies to National Park campsites in WA:

  • Online campground bookings for Parks and Wildlife Service sites are suspended until further notice. Existing campsite bookings with a start date up to and including 31 May 2020 are being cancelled with full refunds. People with bookings will be contacted directly to arrange refunds. People are encouraged to reschedule their holiday once camping conditions return to normal.
  • People already in campgrounds must make arrangements to return home as soon as possible. The only camping exemptions are for people with no fixed address, backpackers or travellers from overseas or interstate who are unable to return home or cannot find alternative accommodation.
  • For campers remaining in situ, consider that this is an evolving situation and travel restrictions may be further tightened. You should assess your ability to be self-sustaining for an extended period of time.
I’m an office holder for an outdoor recreation club, what are my obligations?
Should I participate in club activities?

No. The WA Public Health Act has now been updated. Restrictions in place now forbid organised gatherings for sporting activities, including outdoor recreation. The affected activities include “any of the following activities and whether undertaken or engaged in on a profit or not-for-profit basis: (e) a gather of two or more people, who do not ordinarily reside at the same premises, for the purpose of participation in a sporting activity together. Examples: sporting activity includes but is not limited to bike-riding, running…”