‘Arduous and difficult’: Travellers finally free

 

 

 

Gold Coaster Stuart Ford couldn't wait to get back to Miami for a fish. Bowen's Gemma Kirk was dying for home cooking. Jordan Bond fled the first chance he had.

About 20 of those marooned for two weeks in the Gold Coast's sole quarantine hotel Voco in Surfers Paradise - after flying in from overseas during the coronavirus pandemic - finally tasted freedom yesterday.

People hugged family, rang loved ones and said their goodbyes to staff and police who supported them.

Mr Ford was salivating about his Miami home: "I'm always out on the beach and I love my fishing. I went to Taiwan for a job, and before we left it wasn't too bad but then everything turned.

"When we landed and they said we're going to the Goldie for quarantine I was like 'beauty', but after doing this I won't be living in a hotel for a while."

Ms Kirk, 35, left the hotel on the airport bus with her husband and two kids to head back to Bowen after a holiday to an original home in the UK meant quarantining on the Coast on return.

Travellers leave Voco in Surfers Paradise after two weeks of mandatory quarantine. Gemma Kirk from Bowen grins as she walks through the doors. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Travellers leave Voco in Surfers Paradise after two weeks of mandatory quarantine. Gemma Kirk from Bowen grins as she walks through the doors. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Those at Voco had food delivered to their door three times a day but were also allowed to order in.

Mrs Kirk said she was ready for a home-cooked meal: "We went home to the UK for a wedding, baby shower and to see all the family. The hotel was nice, and the staff were really good, the food not so much.

"It'll be nice to get home and cook up our own food."

Mr Bond who turned 30 in quarantine was among the first to leave, given the all-clear at midnight Tuesday.

"With mum and dad just up the road I got out of there the minute I was allowed. Can't believe it's all over."

 

Townsville man Barry Henderson leaves quarantine after spending his first Easter since his wife died alone in the hotel. Picture Glenn Hampson
Townsville man Barry Henderson leaves quarantine after spending his first Easter since his wife died alone in the hotel. Picture Glenn Hampson

Barry Henderson headed to the airport to go back to Townsville. His 14 days of quarantine followed isolation in Boston when it went into a state of emergency.

"It has been arduous and difficult. This was the first Easter on my own after my wife passed," he said. "I have to compliment the hotel."

Sarah Blinco and Cooper Dawson were picked up just after 8.30am.

They left their lives in London behind because of uncertainty at whether they could remain overseas.

"It hasn't been the best but luckily Cooper and I get along," Ms Blinco said.

Miami man Stuart Ford seemed ecstatic as he escaped quarantine. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Miami man Stuart Ford seemed ecstatic as he escaped quarantine. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Originally published as 'Arduous and difficult': Travellers finally free


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