Hi! What an excellent question.
You’ll find this changes day to day, and in some cases even hourly. A lot of places that were really scary last week are now on flash-flood watch. So it all depends where you’re about to visit.
NOTE THAT THE EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER IN AUSTRALIA IS 000 for a landline, and 112 for a cell (‘mobile’) phone.
Your best bet is to check each State’s Emergency Information site, and go to the fires information section:
ACT Currently there’s a State of Alert for the Australian Capital Territory: https://esa.act.gov.au/state-alert-place-act
Northern Territory https://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/incidentmap (You might have to refresh to update this map)
NSW If you’re in Sydney, there’s a special alert page for the city
Sydney Alert: https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Pages/for-the-community/alert-NSW/sydneyALERT.aspx
Rest of NSW https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me
Check with NRMA (state car club) re roads and floods, crashes etc if you’re driving, taking a coach tour, on a horse mustering experience etc.
Queensland The RACQ (state car club) page will also advise of road conditions, usually fairly accurate.
The Qld site is Qld Alert and you select which feature you’re after - traffic/police (by local government region), floods, fire, health etc. For fires: https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map/Pages/default.aspx
South Australia This is the current advice from the South Australian government; I’d suggest you download their app and pay careful attention to the ABC Australia news if that’s where you’re heading.
For road conditions, check with RACV (state car club).
Western Australia https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au/
It’s hard to answer the question of where is most impacted by the recent fires.
For example, I know many small townships that were partially destroyed or that lost major industries are asking for people to please come and visit when they - stop in when you’re driving past, or detour so you can spend a night. In some places you can help with the farm or wildlife volunteers, or buy some craft or art works that survived (locally made by professionals), or simply see some incredible scenes of astonishing resilience and beauty as Nature revives among the burnt stumps and ash mounds.
Check with the Visitor Centre of the local Council first if you can, just to be sure it’s safe, e.g:
- see the Gold Coast Hinterland
- the Sunshine Coast and lower Glasshouse Mountains: make sure you have good maps and people know where you’re going, when you’re due back.
- see Tweed Heads and Byron Bay region: make sure someone knows where you’re going, and when you’re expected back.
- in Vic, see nearby historic towns around Albury/Wodonga but watch out if heading into the hills or goldfields - there might be some old unstable mine shafts or dead tree trunks no-one has checked yet. (Wodonga is on Victoria’s northern border, and only 4-5 hours drive from Melbourne)
For flood info:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/emergency/plan-for-an-emergency/flood/ Great prep advice, plus what to do if you’re caught while on the road. Towards the end, links to each State’s info.
The Guardian must have read your question!
Here’s a quick guide to dolphin tours, hikes and short bush walks, a whale museum, a beer brewer and more:
What is the best resource to see what is currently happening with the fires?
What are the most and least impacted areas due to the fires?