War veterans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic are being invited to Macarthur's reopened Cockatoo Rise War Retreat.
Vietnam veteran Greg Carter transformed the 163-year-old Macarthur Hotel into a respite for veterans late last year but coronavirus restrictions forced him to close just months later.
Now, as stage one of the new restrictions begins and Victoria starts a gradual return to normality, the retreat has reopened to war veterans across the country.
Mr Carter said the retreat's museum for military equipment remained close but people were able to spend the night at the retreat for "respite" reasons.
He said guests stayed in their own caravans or campervans and numbers were currently limited to one person, or couple, at a time.
"Our capacity used to be about three couples and perhaps one homeless veteran," he said.
"At this stage we are opening in a limited capacity and on a respite basis."
Mr Carter said a couple from Wodonga were the first to stay at the newly opened retreat.
"An Afghan vet rang me last week and said he just needed a bit of time out," he said.
"So he came up here with his wife and they stayed out the back in their own caravan. It was just really nice, we sat around the campfire, ensuring social distancing measures were in place."
Mr Carter said the coronavirus may have proven to be a new battle for some war veterans hit hard by the isolation rules.
There were no Anzac Day parades due to the restrictions and visitors were limited or banned from aged care facilitates.
Mr Carter said Cockatoo Rise War Retreat provided a safe space for veterans to get away to.
"Sometimes people just want to talk with another veteran," he said.
"Even though the chap here had been deployed to Afghanastan a few times, and me Vietnam, it's still a war zone and so we can relate with one another.
"It really makes no difference where you were deployed if someone is shooting at you."
Mr Carter said he was "rapt" to be able to reopen the retreat on a limited basis.
He said information on the retreat could be found at cockatooriseretreat.com.au.
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