After months and months of anticipation, the Trans-Tasman Bubble between Australia and New Zealand finally opened on 19 April 2021. This sneak-peek at international travel making its comeback was exciting news, but unfortunately, it didn’t last long, with quarantine-free travel between the two countries being suspended in July 2021 until further notice.
Without the beloved bubble, if you travel to New Zealand from Australia, all standard pre-departure testing and quarantine measures will apply, and if you’re flying the opposite way across the Tasman Sea, you must provide a negative COVID-19 test result and complete 14 days in hotel quarantine on your arrival to Australia. Exceptions apply for travellers from the South Island of New Zealand – more on that later!
But all hope is not lost! Many signs point to seeing trans-Tasman travel back on the radar for more regions by the end of 2021 or early 2022. For all the latest information, we’ve put together an update on everything you need to know about the Australia and New Zealand travel bubble.
What is the Trans-Tasman Bubble?
The Trans-Tasman Bubble refers to the opening of an exclusive travel “corridor” between New Zealand and Australia. It would allow residents of the two nations to travel between for recreational purposes, without the need to quarantine. It would also start bringing the struggling tourism industries back to life.
When will the Trans-Tasman Bubble open up?
The Australian government is yet to confirm the reopening date of the two-way Trans-Tasman Bubble, however with international travel set to resume in November to countries like the UK and USA, we hope New Zealand won’t be far behind. It looks like Qantas has the same hopes as us, recently announcing that they expect flights between Australia and New Zealand to resume in December 2021. For now, only travellers from New Zealand’s South Island are able to arrive into New South Wales and Victoria without the requirement to quarantine.
From New Zealand’s side, due to the current outbreaks of the Delta variant in Australia, quarantine-free travel for arrivals into New Zealand is suspended until late November, when the decision to continue the border block will be reviewed based on the COVID-19 vaccination rates across NZ.
When the Trans-Tasman Bubble does return, rest assured there are plenty of exciting places to visit that will cure your craving for new experiences. Contiki have unveiled epic trips in both Australia and New Zealand, which you can check out here.
How will the Trans-Tasman Bubble work?
Keen to pop across the ditch and get travelling within the Trans-Tasman Bubble? Same! Although, there will be a few extra things to consider compared to when the bubble originally opened for quarantine-free travel in April 2021.
From 1 November 2021, all international travellers arriving in New Zealand will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes Australian residents, even when the quarantine-free travel bubble is back up and running.
Australia will require all citizens and permanent residents who wish to travel overseas to be fully vaccinated with a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine when the Australian international border opens in November 2021. When Australia reopens the international border to tourists again in 2022, all arriving travellers will also be expected to be vaccinated with a TGA approved or recognised vaccine. If Australia opens the travel bubble with New Zealand before the rest of the world, we can assume that all New Zealand tourists will also need to be fully vaccinated prior to arrival.
So, if you’ve received both your doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine you are likely to be able to travel across the bubble hassle-free when the Safe Travel Zone is reinstated.
Where can Australians travel right now?
After a lengthy lockdown, Australians are keen to explore their own backyard again this summer. Due to the COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne, Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have temporarily imposed travel bans on either regions of or the whole state of New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria. If you’re from one of the currently COVID safe states, you may be allowed to travel interstate without quarantine requirements, however you should always check the state or territory info before making any interstate travel plans!
Honestly, your best bet for travel within Australia right now is to stick to your home state, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming of crossing those domestic borders very soon. If you’re looking for a little local inspo, check out our guide to the most beautiful places in Australia.
Where can New Zealanders travel right now?
While most of New Zealand is currently on Alert Level 2, some parts of the Waikato region have joined the Auckland region at COVID-19 Alert Level 3. The low risk of community transmission on Alert Level 2 means that anyone from these regions are allowed to travel anywhere in New Zealand that is also on Alert Level 2 or 1, but must wear a face covering on public transport and domestic flights.
For those on Alert Level 3, you may only travel locally for permitted reasons. However, these restrictions won’t last forever so if you’re looking for some holiday inspo check out our guide to the most beautiful places in NZ.
Can I travel from New Zealand to Australia without quarantine?
If you are travelling from New Zealand’s South Island to Australia, you will not need to quarantine upon arrival to Australia. If you are travelling from the North Island you will need to complete 14 days in hotel quarantine upon arrival.
Do I need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test if travelling to Australia?
You must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of your departure when travelling from New Zealand to Australia. The PCR test involves a swab sample of the nose and/or throat, and is now a common requirement in many countries when travelling internationally.
Information correct as of 22 October 2021. Stay tuned for further updates.