Shoppers found themselves stuck inside shopping centre car parks on the weekend facing hours of gridlock thanks to a last-minute Father's Day rush.
The congestion was so bad at Westfield Chermside in Brisbane and Westfield Miranda in Sydney's south that many were forced to abandon their cars and continue shopping, or leave their vehicles and Uber it home instead.
On Facebook, others said Westfield in Hurstville and Parramatta, both in Sydney, were just as bad, with fears Christmas shopping could be a "nightmare" for many. Westfield North Lakes in Brisbane also experienced heavy delays.
Shoppers shared photos on Facebook to highlight the extent of the delays, which were over three hours just to move through the car park, some reported.
Despite this time, frustrated shoppers said they barely moved "two car spaces" as they unleashed on social media.
Others reported heavy traffic on streets surrounding the shopping centre.
On Facebook, one woman warned others to avoid "any roads and exits around Miranda Westfield" saying it was at a standstill.
Shoppers ditching cars in favour of train and Uber
A man shopping with his family at Westfield Chermside said he had attempted to leave the car park at 12.20pm on Saturday but only "moved four spaces in two and a half hours", the Courier Mail reported.
In that time, his parter took their kids to get some lunch, but when they returned, the car hadn't moved.
After three hours, they parked where they could and caught an Uber home — and they weren't the only ones.
A Sydney man said he "ditched the car" and caught a train home instead, suggesting "others do the same."
"Was 1.5 hours, moved a metre," he wrote on Facebook on Saturday.
"I've left my car there. I'll have to collect it tomorrow when I have help with my kids," one said of her experience in Sydney. "It was a nightmare!"
Another woman joked "if you are here now, you now live here," and even claimed a display bed inside the shopping centre.
"Do not resist. Do not attempt to leave. This is your home now. You are now trapped here forever and ever," she joked.
One described the "nightmare" scenes in Sydney as"shocking."
"I didn't bother going into the car park — it was at a standstill both directions. I parked near the school and walked up. Luckily I had my coat and umbrella," she wrote on Facebook.
"How bad was it! It took us 2 hours to get in. It was gridlocked," another said.
Paid parking and shopping centre closure to blame
Brisbane's chaos has been attributed to the recent closure of the nearby flood-damaged Toombul Shopping Centre, which had 1700 car spaces, causing more people to migrate to other centres.
Some on Facebook pointed out that paying for parking at the boom gates on exiting is what slowed down traffic, further creating delays at Westfield's across the country.
While wet weather in Sydney also caused masses of people to swarm the shops.
According to reports, the boom gates at Westfield Chermside and Westfield Miranda were eventually left open by centre management.
Some Sydney shoppers said they got "free parking" when they eventually escaped.
Yahoo News Australia contacted Westfield's parent company Scentre Group for comment.
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