Australia and New Zealand have announced that quarantine-free travel between the two countries will start from April 19, 2021.

New Zealand travellers have been able to travel to Australia since October last year in a a one-way travel bubble, allowing them to bypass Australia’s 14-day hotel quarantine. This will be the first time that travellers from Australia will be able to visit New Zealand.

Reported in the New Zealand Herald, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  said that “The director-general of health considers the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from Australia to New Zealand is low and that quarantine free travel is safe to commence.”

Declaring that this would be a “new chapter in our recovery” and “an exciting day” Ardern warned that travel would not be like before and there would be many disruptions.

The new arrangements come with caveats, including ‘green zone’ airports and flights, meaning that flights into New Zealand will have only travellers from Australia on board, and not from other destinations, and the flight crew will not have previously visited any Covid ‘hot spots’.

Full details are available from New Zealand’s Covid-19 website.

For travellers from Australia to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight, prior to departure

“…you must meet the following criteria:

  • You need to spend the 14 days before you depart in either Australia or New Zealand.
    You have not had a positive COVID-19 test in the 14 days before you depart.
    You are not waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test taken in the past 14 days.
    You must complete a travel declaration when you book your flights. This declaration mainly asks you about your travel plans and contact details.
    You must answer questions about your health at departure — you will not be able to travel if you have cold or flu symptoms.
    You must complete an online travel declaration before you travel. This declaration is being finalised and will be available from 14 April.”

Qantas and Jetstar have announced plans for up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman when the quarantine-free bubble starts, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Tourism New Zealand said that news of the trans-Tasman travel opening is “a positive step that will allow friends and family to reunite and supports New Zealand’s international tourism recovery”.

“We expect that the first people to take up travel will be those wanting to reconnect with friends and family and our modelling shows that while visitor numbers aren’t anticipated to return to previous levels overnight we can expect to be back at 80 per cent by January 2022,” says Tourism New Zealand Interim Chief Executive René de Monchy.

Tourism New Zealand estimates quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand resuming soon could bring in $1 billion to the economy by the end of the year.

There is an estimated $12.9 billion expected gap from the loss of international visitors to New Zealand. The tourism body says that the return of Australian visitors “will go some way to helping reduce this gap”. Australians spent $2.7 billion in New Zealand in 2019.

Prior to Covid-19, Australians made up almost 40 per cent of international arrivals to New Zealand and contributed around 24 per cent or $2.7 billion (£1.35 billion) of New Zealand’s annual international visitor spend.