Holiday plans are in limbo for thousands of Australians after the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a new travel warning for Bali because of fears of a volcano eruption on the popular tourist island, The Guardian reported.
Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano to the highest classification, meaning an eruption could be imminent.
On Saturday, the Indonesian Department of Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics said there had been five small eruptions detected coming from the mountain, and an ash column as high as 1000 metres had been observed.
There had been a “tremendous increase” in volcano activity.
They said locals and tourists should be 12 kilometres away from the crater in some areas.
A spokesman for Jetstar said all flights to Bali were going ahead as scheduled, but the airline was monitoring the situation.
Jetstar flies direct to Bali about 60 times a week, with room for more than 10,000 passengers.
Qantas, which flies to Bali once a week, said its meteorologists were monitoring activity but services were still going ahead as scheduled.
School holidays are under way in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT, and the number of travellers visiting the island usually booms during this period.
Holidays start next week for schools in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
About 1.2 million Australians visited Indonesia in 2016, second only to New Zealand as Australia’s favourite destination.
Mount Agung is in the Karangasem Regency in East Bali, about 75 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told travellers to reconfirm their plans with airlines but said the overall level of advice had not changed.
“Local authorities have temporarily suspended all outdoor activities such as hiking and camping activities in proximity to the crater,” the department said.
“Monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local authorities. An eruption of Mount Agung could impact air travel in the region. Contact your airline or tour operator to confirm travel plans.”
Hundreds of small tremors have rattled the mountain this week, causing almost 10,000 people to leave their homes as of Friday over fears of a volcanic eruption.
National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho advised people to stay calm and not to believe rumours.
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Source: theguardian.com / Michael McGowan with AFP