Transtasman travel bubble: All you need to know

Kiwis and Aussies can start crossing the Tasman in droves again after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced quarantine-free travel between the countries will begin from April 19.

So whether you are visiting loved ones or chasing a holiday under the Australian sun, here’s what you need to know when planning a trip across the ditch.

When can I leave?

You can not only book flights right now but also take off as New Zealanders are already able to travel to Australia without having to quarantine on arrival.

Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar, meanwhile, are planning to ramp up flights from New Zealand to Australia once the two-way bubble opens.

Air New Zealand expects to fly between three and five flights per day from Auckland to Sydney after April 19.

Currently it has three flights leaving to Sydney on April 19, with the cheapest costing $283

It then has two flights per day leaving on April 20 and 21, four flights leaving on Thursday, April 22 and five on Friday, April 23.

It also plans to offer one-to-three flights per day from Auckland to Melbourne and one-to-two per day to Brisbane.

Aucklanders will also be able to fly to the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Hobart, with plans to include flights to Perth.

Air NZ will also offer direct flights from Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to Australia.

Qantas and Jetstar plan to operate up to 122 return flights per week after April 19.

That includes two new routes into Queensland – Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast – a move that will provide competition to Air New Zealand.

The 122 return flights per week will initially fly 15 routes, and offer more than 52,000 seats each week.

Where in Australia can I go?

Kiwis can enter every Australian state and territory without quarantining with the exception of Western Australia.

That means Kiwis can plan holidays in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.

Who will travel?

Families separated by border closures will be the big winners, while Kiwi tourism operators hope visiting Australians boost their businesses

Do I need a Covid-19 test to travel?

No. But if you’ve tested positive for Covid in the last 14 days or you are still waiting for a test result to come back, you won’t be allowed to travel.

If there is an outbreak while you are in Australia, you might also need a Covid test to be able to return to New Zealand.

Will I have to get the vaccine?

No. You will be able to catch your flight without a vaccine.

Keep an eye on individual state restrictions

Individual Australian states and territories may have different entry requirements and you should read up on what these are before you travel.

What should I expect at the airport?

New Zealand and Australian airports will be set up to ensure travellers between the two countries do not mix with those returning from other countries.

That means you’ll be taken through so-called green zones with Auckland Airport’s international terminal split into two parts.

Travellers will also have to declare that they’ve only been in either New Zealand or Australia for at least the last 14 days and could be subjected to random temperature checks.

Expect to wear a mask

Masks will be compulsory on all flights crossing the Tasman.

Will I need to quarantine?

The transtasman bubble is designed to allow Kiwis and Aussies to travel quarantine-free between the two countries.

But the exception to that could be if an outbreak occurs in Australia while you are visiting. You may then have to enter a managed isolation facility on your return to New Zealand.

How will the Government manage the risk?

The Government has set up a green, orange and red traffic light system to deal with Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia.

You should be able to continue travelling quarantine free if a Covid case occurs where authorities think there is a low risk of further transmission, such as if it is a border worker who tests positive.

But if there is a Covid case from an unknown source and that Australian state goes into a short lockdown then flights to New Zealand could be paused for up to 72 hours.

Multiple cases from an unknown source could lead to flights to New Zealand being suspended for a longer period.

If you are stranded by the suspension of flights, you will be on your own with the Government not planning to provide any accommodation.

That means you should plan to have extra money and emergency contingency options in place.

You should also be prepared in case you need to stay in a managed isolation facility if you are returning from an Australian state that has been in lockdown.

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