April 13, 2021
Pack Your Bags: Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble Announced!
On April 6, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that a quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia will open from April 19, 2021.
This will enable Australians to fly into New Zealand with no quarantine requirements for the first time in more than a year. Since October, Kiwis have been allowed to enter most Australian states without quarantining in a hotel on arrival.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said New Zealand’s decision is ‘an important first step’ and a wonderful decision, as it will open the borders between the two countries before ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Day.
We have ensured that both countries have… not suffered the same types of virus impacts that we have seen in so many other countries. [...] The fact that we can now combine again will mean more jobs, will mean people reunited.
Here is what you need to know if you are planning a trip across the Tasman Sea.
When and how you can travel?
From 11:59 pm on Sunday, April 18 (New Zealand time), Australians will be allowed to travel to New Zealand quarantine-free – this translates to 9:59pm AEST on April 18. Travellers will need to complete an online travel declaration form before their trip, which will be available on the New Zealand government COVID-19 website from 14 April 2021.
Travellers will be taken through ‘green zones’ of the airports at both ends of their journey in order to avoid contact with people who are arriving from other parts of the world. Masks will be required on flights and there might be random temperature checks or health assessments on arrival at airports, all conducted by health professionals who are stationed at the airport for this purpose.
Where can you go?
The bubble enables Australians to fly anywhere in New Zealand, as long as there are flights available. Travellers will also be asked to download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app once they are in the country.
Do you need vaccination before travel?
No – there are no vaccine requirements for travel within the trans-Tasman bubble, and you are not required to do a COVID-19 test or a PCR test before traveling to New Zealand.
However, if you have had a positive COVID-19 test result within the 14 days prior to travel or you are waiting for the results of a test, you are not eligible to travel.
What happens if there is an outbreak?
Prime Minister Ardern has said that both countries retained the right to close their borders at short notice if there were local outbreaks. PM Ardern invoked the concept of ‘flyer beware’, so anyone planning to travel must consider the possibility of COVID-related disruptions.
New Zealand’s government has devised a ‘traffic light’ system that would be imposed in such a scenario that could interrupt travel: Continue (Green), Pause (Orange), and Suspended (Red).
So, there you have it: the end of the week could see Australians and Kiwis alike jet-setting across the Tasman. If that includes you, have fun and good luck! If you’re exercising a bit more caution in case of a trans-Tasman lockdown, hopefully the bubble remains intact.
If you liked this article, you might like our feature on visiting Ballarat this year.