What you need to know about the Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble

Last updated: April 8, 2021

It’s official: the Australian border is opening again!

In an announcement earlier today – April 6, 2021 – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden announced that Australians can travel to New Zealand starting on April 19.[1]

Australia has allowed New Zealand residents who have been in New Zealand for 14 days to travel by air to Australia quarantine-free, without applying for a travel exemption since October ’20.

This new chapter in the COVID era, and a first of its kind travel bubble in the world, so it’s a privilege our countries are able to be part of this world first. It’s going to be interesting to watch to see how both countries manage this reciprocal arrangement!

I’ve dug around government sites and listed some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions stemming from today’s announcement below. As always, things change quickly so check your state or territory website for the most relevant information for you. This advice is general in nature and to be used at your discretion.

Do I need a COVID vaccine to travel to NZ from Australia?

No, you do not need a COVID vaccine to travel to New Zealand from Australia, but if you have been in a red or orange zone in the previous 14-days or show any COVID-like symptoms you may not be allowed to travel.

Routine pre-departure and on arrival screening does apply.

This being said, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has said that passengers will be required to have the COVID vaccine before travelling onboard international flights back in November. [2] Let’s see how this plays out!

Which airlines will be flying from Australia to New Zealand from April 19?

At the time of writing, only Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand are the only airlines operating flights from Australia to New Zealand.

From my reasearch, I can see the following aircrafts are being operated on the trans-tasman travel bubble route:

  • Qantas: A330-200, A330-300737-800
  • Jetstar: A330-200
  • Air New Zealand: B787-9, A321neo, A320

Virgin Australia has pushed back all short-haul international services – including New Zealand, Bali and the Pacific Islands – until at least 19 June 2021. [Correct as of April 17, 2021]

Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand as an Australian?

No, you do not need a visa to visit New Zealand providing that you are an Australian passport holder and have met their entry requirements. Find out all the information here.

Do I need to wear a mask when I fly from Australia and New Zealand?

Yes, all passengers must wear a mask when travelling on any flights between New Zealand and Australia.

What are the different coloured zones? [Red, Yellow, Green Zone]

Australian and New Zealand airports participating in the bubble would be divided into ‘green zones’ for travellers coming in from either country, and ‘red zones’ for passengers arriving from elsewhere in the world for transit or quarantine or COVID affected areas.

Bubble travellers won’t be required to undergo pre-flight or on-arrival COVID tests, but will be subject to random temperature checks upon arrival in New Zealand.

Australians will be asked to download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app while in New Zealand.

What if I have been in a Red Zone in Australia up until 10-days before travelling to New Zealand?

Sorry, you will be unlikely to travel.

Talk to your airline because most airlines do still offer complimentary changes on tickets if the change is related to a COVID change.

What happens if the city I am in experiences a COVID outbreak while I am there?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden has made it clear that travellers wanting to travel must be prepared for the possibility of not being able to return to their homes or having their holiday plans disrupted if a COVID outbreak occurs, which is in a similar vein to what the Australian Government has also said previously.

From Arden’s press conference earlier today:

“Once we know about a case in Australia we will have three possible responses when it comes to flights and access to our border, and we’ve captured these with a framework based on continue, pause, or suspend.”

“For instance, if a case is found that is quite clearly linked to a border worker in a quarantine facility and is well contained, you’ll likely see travel continue in the same way as you could see life continue if that happened here in Australia.”

“If, however, a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, we’d likely pause flights from that state in the same way we would stop travel into and out of a region in New Zealand as if it was going into a full lockdown.”

“And if we saw multiple cases of unknown origin, we would likely suspend flights for a set period of time.”

Top tip: Be sure to check your flight and accommodation to ensure they can be changed. Many airlines and hotels do offer COVID protection.

Do I need to fill in a cross-border travel card when arriving in New Zealand?

Unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have different states and provincial governments. As such, there are no restrictions on movement internally, and any restrictions are made by the Government.

For all the information on what you need to do when arriving in New Zealand, please check the New Zealand Customs website.

Do I need to fill in a cross-border travel card when arriving in Australia?

Each state and territory will have different criteria on what you need to do in order to re-enter the state.

At the time of writing, the Victorian Travel Permit System has been updated to include New Zealand. Be sure to check with your state or territory for all re-entry information:

Planning a trip to New Zealand? Read these!

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48-Hours in Wellington, New Zealand

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