New Zealand will allow Australian travellers to enter their country without mandatory hotel quarantine or a travel exemption from 19 April 2021.
This is a positive development that could mark the start of international travel for Australians with similar exemptions touted with Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
However, the travel bubble is not without risk. The New Zealand government has been quick to warn that flights into and out of Australia could be suspended if there are local outbreaks.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned people should be prepared to have their travel plans changed at short notice, including arrivals going into hotel quarantine.
“Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flyer beware,” she said. “People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak.”
Travellers will be required to have spent a minimum of 14 days in Australia or New Zealand before boarding the flight. Travellers will also need to have NOT had a positive COVID-19 test in the 14 days before departing.
The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is only the second in the world after the one between Taiwan and Palau Island. Despite the risks, it indicates a new beginning after a year without overseas travel and is a big step on the road to normalcy in a post COVID-19 world.