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From COVID-clipped wings, Ladybirds fly again in Victoria’s great outdoors

But it feels good to spread the wings.

Until Friday’s first tentative foray to Burkes Lookout in the Dandenongs, the Ladybirds, and all other law-abiding Victorians, had only ventured by themselves or in a pair, and always close to home.

To keep connected as a group, which now has about 350 paid members, they would post their videos and photos online. It was no substitute for actually being together, sharing the same vistas and sucking back the same fresh air.

The Ladybirds Outdoor Adventures club together again on the trails.

The Ladybirds Outdoor Adventures club together again on the trails.Credit:Simon Schluter

But the first weekend of relaxed coronavirus restrictions has socially-distanced fishers back on the rivers, lakes and Bay; golfers on the fairway and groups of up to 10 sweating out sessions in the parks.

The state’s national parks have also reopened, although camp grounds and caravan parks are to remain closed.

Friends and family can again meet up for dinner or drinks, up to five people, and marriages can resume with as many as 10 guests.

It’s not the old normal, but it’s something.

For the Ladybirds Outdoor Adventures Club, formerly called Ladybirds on the Loose, it’s recapturing a sense of camaraderie.

“We’re not competing in fashion or fitness,” Ms Pronk says. “And a lot of people our age, our families or children are not so reliant on us. So it’s a chance to get out with other women who understand our own needs. We can be who we are, together, without feeling threatened.”

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