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New Zealand travel bubble to allow Australians

New Zealand travel bubble to allow Australians to fly overseas

18/04/2021

New Zealand will allow Australian travellers to enter the country without mandatory hotel quarantine from April 19.

“Cabinet was presented with advice today that conditions for opening up quarantine-free travel with Australia had been met,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ms Ardern warned people to be prepared to have their travel plans changed at short notice, including landing and going into hotel quarantine.

When will the New Zealand travel bubble start?

Australians will be allowed to travel across the ditch quarantine-free technically from 11:59pm on Sunday, April 18 New Zealand time, so really from Monday, April 19.

An exemption to leave Australia is also not required for those travelling to New Zealand.

As for kiwis looking to come to Australia, the one-way bubble that began last October is still in place, with all states and territories except for Western Australia taking part.

Like New Zealanders coming to Australia, anyone flying into NZ will go through a “green zone” in airports and will be kept separate from other people flying in from around the world.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the announcement from his counterpart across the Tasman.

“After spending all that time in New Zealand, for the past year, I’m sure that so many will be keen to get on that plane and come across,” Mr Morrison said.

“It is a win-win outcome for the trans-Tasman travel to be open — both countries benefit from that occurring.” 

Where can I travel to? 

The bubble means Australians can fly to anywhere in New Zealand, as long as there are flights operating.

It’s hoped people will take the opportunity while borders to other countries are shut to travel around NZ and inject some much-needed money into its economy.

According to Tourism NZ, in a normal year Australian tourism contributes $NZ2.7 billion ($2.5 billion) to the economy and this year, if everything bubble-wise goes smoothly, they’re hoping it’ll be around $NZ1 billion.

Is the bubble open to everyone?

Yes, everyone who is eligible to live in Australia and New Zealand can travel in the bubble.

Smart Traveller says as long as you’ve been in either country for 14 days before departure and meet the usual (pre-pandemic) border entry requirements, you’re eligible to travel.

But just note that if you’re a permanent resident of Australia, not a citizen, you’ll need to apply for a NZeTa visa.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs is advising that anyone who’s travelled to New Zealand within the bubble is automatically exempt from Australia’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.

On the way back from New Zealand, everyone will need to fill out an Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before their departure, regardless of if you’re a citizen or visa holder.

What about travel bubbles with other countries?

At the moment there are no other bubbles as close to the NZ one on the horizon, but this’ll be a good chance to see what works and what doesn’t.

Even though kiwis have been able to come to Australia for a few months now, with a two-way bubble in place it means the number of people moving between the two countries will be significantly larger.

It’s an opportunity for both governments to test it out and potentially see how it’d work if there are localised outbreaks.

It’s also an opportunity for tourism businesses to see how operating in a post-COVID world looks and what changes, if any, they need to make. 

Mr Morrison said it was too early to talk about other possible bubbles.

So, can I fly to NZ and then on to another country?

The trans-Tasman travel bubble isn’t an opportunity to avoid Australia’s international travel restrictions.

If you’re planning to travel to New Zealand and then on to another country, you’ll no longer be travelling under the travel bubble.

In that case you’d need to successfully apply for a travel exemption to allow you to leave Australia.

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