If you, like us, have been waiting with bated breath for news of when overseas travel restrictions would lift, then grab the tissues for all the happy tears because we finally have a date.
New Zealand Prime Minister and all round queen Jacinda Ardern has just confirmed a quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand will commence at 11:59pm on Sunday, 18 April.
Despite last week’s COVID outbreak in Brisbane, PM Ardern has revealed that upon the advice of health officials, the travel bubble will go ahead, which means no more hotel quarantine for Aussies crossing the border to NZ.
While Ardern encouraged Aussies and Kiwis to get booking she also warned that travel would be a case of 'flyer beware', as snap lockdowns and border closures could still happen even once the travel bubble opens.
“People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak,” she warned.
Should there be a future outbreak, the New Zealand government will implement three different travel levels—continue, pause or suspend.
“If a case is found that is quite clearly linked to a quarantine worker and is contained, travel would continue as normal,” Ardern explained.
If it’s not initially clear where the outbreak has come from, it is likely that travel will be paused or suspended between New Zealand and Australia for a set period of time.
In terms of how you’ll travel, there will be changes there too. You’ll be required to wear a mask on all flights, potentially take a test before you fly and if required you could be asked to isolate on arrival or, in extreme cases, in managed isolation for 14 days.
In an effort to minimise this happening, travellers from Australia to New Zealand will only be able to book a “green zone flight”, which means there will be no one on that flight who has been anywhere other than Australia for the last 14 days—the same goes for the crew on board.
When you land in New Zealand, passengers will be escorted to “green zones” to minimise interacting with anyone who may have travelled from somewhere other than Australia.
Australian PM Scott Morrison is yet to comment on the bubble opening but we can assume—as the relevant health teams are working together—that there will be a similar framework in Australian airports.
To kickstart that wanderlust, here are a bunch of stunning places you had no idea were in New Zealand and here are 50 incredible Aussie destinations to check out.
Image credit: Casey Horner