Tuesday, 26 October, 2021


New Zealand, Australia to open Covid travel bubble

Australia and New Zealand will open a new “travel bubble” on April 19 Australia and New Zealand to start quarantine-free travel
Kristine Garrett | 07 April, 2021, 19:32

Australians are free to travel to New Zealand with no mandatory quarantine from 11.59pm 18 April.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said frequent flyers took the opportunity to redeem thousands of points built up over the pandemic, with the rate of redemptions 80-times that of a normal day.

Many Canberrans, deprived of overseas travel for more than a year, will jump at the chance of a New Zealand holiday, not to mention New Zealanders wanting to see family again after being grounded in Australia by the pandemic.

Update 6/4/21: Currently Western Australia hasn't been included within the New Zealand travel bubble, travellers entering from New Zealand will have to face 14-days in hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas has already announced that it will operate 122 return flights a week to New Zealand.

"The opening of NZ will also allow us to begin to fine tune our global arrival and departure systems once again in preparation for the rest of the world - once worldwide and Australian vaccinations are successfully rolled out", Johnson said. The airline has recently launched mystery flights to spur domestic tourism in Australia after the country extended its travel ban.

"The ACT Government has been involved in ongoing discussions with relevant aviation partners on Canberra-New Zealand flights", he said.

"At this stage we're seeing the best value is available in the cities with 10 to 40 per cent off select accommodation in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, however there are some great deals available right across New Zealand", Mr Finch said.

As well as the run on flight bookings, travel website Wotif reported surging interest in accommodation throughout New Zealand.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Fiona Goodall  Paul via Reuters
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Fiona Goodall Paul via Reuters

"We can expect to see a lot of emotional scenes at our airports in two weeks with many families and friends reunited after not seeing each other for more than a year", Mr Goodwin said.

Ms Ardern, however, warned about the possibility of travel being disrupted going forward if cases are detected.

Those flying between the two countries will be on a "green zone flight".

"Hopefully, stories of missed weddings and birthdays on either side of the ditch will now be a thing of the past".

On arrival in New Zealand, random temperature testing will be undertaken, and Jacinda Ardern would not rule out passengers being placed into quarantine, in the event of COVID outbreaks in Australia.

Virgin Australia said it will not be operating flights to New Zealand during the bubble, citing "border requirements which add complexity to our business".

"Anyone in Australia who is travelling between states is prepared for outbreaks and there possibly being disruption, and again can't believe I am saying this, view New Zealand as another state in that way", she said.

The flare-ups have been successfully contained with snap lockdowns and Ardern said travellers needed to be aware that further outbreaks in either country could impact on travel plans. If multiple cases of an unknown origin emerged, "we would likely suspend flights for a set period of time", she said.

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